Former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode on Saturday defended his fond appellation of Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, after labelling the Islamic scholar a ‘sociopathic Jihadist’ some three months ago.
According to the ex-minister, politics is not war but about ‘bridge-building’.
In a post on Twitter, the controversial member of the Peoples Democratic Party said the fact that members of the opposition party attended the wedding of Yusuf, the son of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), showed that “you can be friends with your political adversary and still disagree.”
“Buba Galadima with Ahmad Lawan, GEJ (Goodluck Ebele Jonathan) with PMB, GEJ with VP (Yemi Osinbajo) & Atiku (Abubakar) with PMB. Politics is about bridge-building regardless of your differences. It is not war. You can be friends with your political adversary & still disagree. It’s called politics without bitterness & being civilised,” FFK captioned photos showing himself with Pantami, and other top members of PDP and the ruling All Progressives Congress.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that no fewer than 20 private jets conveying prominent personalities landed at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport for the wedding of the President’s son with the daughter of the Emir of Bichi, Zahra Bayero in Kano on Friday.
Among the dignitaries that attended the event were former President Goodluck Jonathan, a former President of Niger Republic, Muhammdu Isoufu; governors, government officials and federal lawmakers.
Fani-Kayode, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation from November 2006 to May 2007, was also at the event.
In a social media post on Thursday after his arrival in Kano, he described Pantami as a “friend and brother” months after he had lampooned the minister for his extremist Salafist views and sympathy for the Taliban, currently on the rampage in faraway Asia, precisely in Afghanistan.
“Simply put, Pantami is a homicidal, sociopathic and psychotic individual…Who is a hater of Christians and non-Muslims. He is a religious bigot, an ethnic supremacist, an unrepentant jihadist, a lover of bloodshed, carnage and terror and a psychopathic and clearly insane individual who may well have been responsible for the slaughter of many innocent Christians over the years as a consequence of his inflammatory rhetoric and reckless actions,” Fani-Kayode had stated in a piece he authored in April when Pantami came under fire over his past controversial comments supporting Sunni Islamic terrorist group known as the Taliban.
In one of his sermons in the 2000s, Pantami had reportedly prayed, saying, “This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria… Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and to al-Qaeda.”
The minister later recanted in April, saying he now knows better.
Many Nigerians called for Pantami’s sacking or resignation but the Buhari regime exonerated the minister, saying that he should be forgiven because he made the statements at a much younger age.