Pantami illustrates the follies of impunity, the hypocrisy of nepotism, and the shameless decadence of the Buhari regime…
I couldn’t help myself with the PantArmy jab, Kperogi it was, that had caught Pantami, pants down. The self declared terrorist sympathizer in Buhari’s government, and the would be Golden Boy of Islamist ideologues in UAR, Sheikh Issa Pantami, was revealed as just another Nigerian balloon, waiting to be pricked.
I am no saint. When I was to write WAEC for the 3rd time, having written November GCE five times, and never once, passed Mathematics, despite my very best minimal efforts, due to my having gained early knowledge of a congenital handicap with the language of mathematics, and accepting to live in peace with my handicap, I found a solution. In my defense, I was 17 years old at the time. Don’t get me started on the question of Pantami’s age at Bauchi, or at the time of his blatant fraternizations with Islamist extremists.
You couldn’t get into any southern Nigerian university to read Law, if you did not have a Credit Pass in Mathematics at the O’ Level, in addition to the sane requirements. I wasn’t going to ever pass the damn subject, even if I had been allowed to carry everything from calculator to whatever into the exam hall. I am simply completely and totally incapable of communicating in the language of mathematics. I could never even understand the question, and nothing anyone ever did to help me, worked. But I am a Nigerian, a true product of my environment and society, I found a solution.
Another old hand at failing WAEC was my neighbor at OSCAS, he had a similar challenge with English Language. He had written WAEC almost at the pace of one for every year that I had lived at the time. He was excellent at Mathematics and with the sciences. His Achilles heel was the English Language, in which he had returned the F9 grade with alarmingly predictable regularity. He spoke the language of Mathematics and Sciences, but his English Language, oral and written, were beyond the pale. Atrocious does not begin to describe the situation. I found us a uniquely Nigerian solution.
Oladele!!! Yes mummy. Whose results are these? Mine mummy. You passed Mathematics and scored an F9 in English Language? Yes mummy. Iwo omo yi! The conversation ended there. The Nigerian state had the Credit pass in Mathematics that it demanded of me, and it also got the pass in English that was demanded of my neighbor. He teaches in a medical school today. I was 17 years old. But I knew my country from my mother’s womb.
Whatever scholarly pretensions I might have harbored, were quickly dissolved in the grind of the Nigerian Law School in Bwari, and I never desired to allow anyone else to measure my intelligence once I had survived the ordeal that Bwari was. But as I drew closer to my 50th birthday and the retirement I had set before I graduated from university, I allowed myself to be persuaded to become a Chartered Arbitrator, my negotiation skills having defined my legal practice. I attended lectures organized in Port Harcourt, got the course materials and contributed at the workshops. We were to write the qualifying exams at the end of the week, and I was diligent in preparing myself. And then Nigeria struck.
We wouldn’t be writing the exams again. We were given assignments to write, and to then email to the secretariat of the institute. We had a month to turn in the assignment. All that stood between myself and the charter, was an assignment and not an exam. But I could never turn it in. No one was in any doubt as to my capacity to write the exam, but I was always too busy to find the time. I was persuaded to have a junior counsel in the chamber write the assignment, some softball question on the subject of arbitration, nothing beyond the intellectual capacity of the newest of wigs.
Assignment done and dusted, but I could never bring myself to turn in the work, the shame of having an unearned honor bestowed on me, stilled my hands, and I have kept my honor, and eschewed my ambition. I was 49 years old at the time.
I am a Nigerian. I am nobody’s choirboy. I lay no claims to sainthood. To be Nigerian is to find a way. To find ways to cope with the insanities that have become the norms of our country. We are not corrupt, but we have been rendered perverse by the need for survival in a dystopian place ruled not by law, but by impunity. I am not demanding sainthood of Pantami, but the shame of Pantami is as brazen as his shamelessness, and we owe ourselves a duty to call out his fraudulence. When did a professorial chair, become the subject of honorary appointment? When was Pantami employed by the Federal University Of Technology, Owerri? What was the basis of the appointment of Pantami as a “full professor” by the university?
The carnally minded are never satisfied with their God bestowed honor, and they must always look for money, titles, influence, and other expressions of carnality to fill the void in their soul. Pantami is the Islamist riposte to Pastor Agboworin, but he is everything a Muslim shouldn’t be. He is sickeningly vain, and his vanity is what has led him into his current rabbit hole. Pantami illustrates the follies of impunity, the hypocrisy of nepotism, and the shameless decadence of the Buhari regime.
Pantami earned his doctorate degree and should carry his earned title as a prefix to satisfy his egotistic need for public acknowledgment of his intellectual capacity. But he advertises his own inferiority complex, the debasement of our educational system, and his violent disregard for decency, when he deigns to style himself a professor, unless he is a professor in the style of Admiral Dele Abiodun, and the many Barristers of the Fuji music genres. Benin Republic universities might have destroyed the value of doctorate degrees, but Pantami must not be allowed to put the final nail in Nigerian academics.
This says more about the perversion of the Nigerian state, its governance systems, and exposes the impunity that threatens to destroy it irreparably. Wrap your mind around the intergovernmental malfeasance that produced the Owerri professor, understand that you are seeing the same absurdity of impunity, that led to the location of a naval base in the desert.