By ANDREW ESSIEN ABUJA
Nigerians have been urged to discountenance the pull-him-down antics employed by the critics of Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami adding that his records speak for him.
The APC Advocates Forum, a support group of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) stated this even as it tasked those demanding for the removal of Minister to judge him on his record of his service to the Nation.
Dr Pantami has been under heavy criticism lately over comments made in the past.
Convener of the group, Comrade Kabiru Duhu, while speaking to the Media on Monday said Pantami was one of the few Islamic preachers that dared preached publicly against the Boko Haram sect, before it was designated as a terrorist group.
Comrade Duhu reminded Nigerians how Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the insurgent group in February 2020 issued a fatwa on him.
“So we are surprised that a group of Nigerians with the backing of some vested interest began a campaign of calumny against Pantami starting with false claims of him being on a US terror watch list.
“When that failed, they began to dig up his past views to paint him in a dangerous light long after he had recanted those positions. We were therefore not surprised that even a former US ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell made it clear that Pantami was not considered an individual of interest by American security agencies because his country pays more attention to action than words.
“Not long after the Presidency dismissed calls for his sack and reaffirmed his competence especially as the sector of the economy he oversees was instrumental in taking the country out of the Covid-19 induced recession at a time more established economies are still struggling.”
Speaking on the achievements of the minister in the last two years, the APC Advocates forum said the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector recorded the highest growth rate of all the sectors of the Nigerian economy in both the fourth quarter of 2020 (Q4 2020) and the entire year 2020.
“This was based on the Q4 2020 Report on Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released).
“In fact, when one considers the 2nd to 7th fastest growing sectors (Agriculture- 3.42%, Health & Social Services- 3.05%, Real Estate- 2.81%, Water Supply et al- 1.92%, Public Admin- 1.80% and Construction- 1.21%), the 14.7% growth rate of the ICT sector was greater than the combined 14.21% growth of the 2nd to 7th fastest growing sectors!
“Furthermore, the telecommunications sector recorded a growth rate of 15.90% and this was its highest growth rate in the last 10 years.”
The forum said “it make bold to declare that Pantami has done well and should be judged by his work in office, not by rhetorics that he had long recanted and for which he is Boko Haram’s number one enemy today.
“Significant increase in NIN enrolments and enrolment centres. (The current number of monthly enrollments has increased significantly by about 500% to over 2.6 million registrations. There has also been a remarkable increase in the number of enrolment centres across the country with about 3,800 centres available for enrollments).
“International Recognition for Nigeria-March 2021 (Example: In recognition of the giant strides of Nigeria in the Telecom sector, Nigeria was selected for the Chairmanship and position of the Executive Secretary of the West Africa Telecom Regulators Assembly (WATRA) on the 10th of March 2021.”