The Isa Pantami’s saga: Reflection on Nigeria’s dysfunctional politics

By: Ebuka Onyekwelu

April 30, 2021


Nigeria’s latest descent into hard-line politics of identity is a critical pointer that those manning the country at the moment are hardliners who cannot be engaged on the basis of justice, fairness, and logic.

Purveyors of identity politics, whose basis for determining what goes to who, and how one is treated, is based on his or her identity, rather than on the basis of established protocol for public officers.

Evidence simply points overwhelmingly to a resurgence of this experience, particularly with the current regime.

In dealing with this kind of issue, the presidency has options. They could have given a statement that the case is being investigated, although Dr. Pantami has admitted to speaking growingly of Al-Qaida and Taliban in the past.


The President would have promised to constitute a committee to look at the allegations and determine the appropriate action to take against the minister.

That by far is the very least expected of a functional and sensitive government. Sadly, the verity that the federal government did not see any need to be diplomatic or even considerate in dealing with the issue to avoid abusing the sensibilities of Nigerians and the international community, only but says a whole lot about the manner this government is framed to function.

Normally, the high-powered delay is part of statecraft. The government would have simply employed delay tactics while still allowing the minister to continue pending the outcome of the committee report which may never happen.

However, that the government failed to deploy this option in handling such a sensitive issue speaks to how the government takes sides and approaches issues from the viewpoint of us against them. Patently creating, affirming, and polarizing its own citizens along different lines of division that is mostly avoidable.

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