A Pantamized Professorship Revisited

Abubakar Alkali

Abubakar Alkali


  1. Did Dr Isa Pantami Lie In The Cv He Submitted To Futo To Obtain The Professorial Award?
  2. What Asuu Should Do To Cement It’s Position On Dr Pantami’s Case
  3. It Is About The Integrity Of Nigeria’s University System
  4. Religious Sentiments Should Be Taken Off The Table.


The widely publicised ongoing case of alleged professorial fraud involving Dr Isa Pantami, the Minister of communications and digital economy is now in court. No thanks to the federal university of technology Owerri (FUTO).

Recall that the awarding university, FUTO, has instituted a lawsuit against the academic staff union of universities (ASUU) challenging the latter’s jurisdiction to tell it (FUTO) what to do, who to appoint/promote and who not to etc. I will come back to this later in the article.

The FUTO legal action against ASUU is a fallout of the outright rejection of Dr Pantami’s questionable professorial award by the former. After investigation and having rejected the award, ASUU directed all its branches and members nationwide to reject, discard, repudiate and deny any recognition to the title of professor of cyber security as awarded to Dr Isa Pantami by FUTO. Apart from the fact that Dr Pantami falls short of the journal publications and years of teaching and research experience to qualify for a Professorship, ASUU’s rejection is also predicated on the context that a serving minister or any public office for that matter  cannot hold two appointments at the same time.

This is right because it should be clearly stated in the handbook of the federal civil service or any organisation that a person cannot hold two positions at the same time. Dr Pantami cannot be a serving minister of the federal republic and also hold an appointment with FUTO at the same time. This rule is not a coincidence. It is meant to avoid a situation whereby ones duties are jeopardised when he/she takes a second appointment elsewhere.

A university lecturer can only take up another appointment with the government or other organisations if he/she is on leave of absence or secondment from the university. In such cases, the university lecturer can be promoted to a professor or any other levels if he/she is due and has satisfied the requirements for such promotion. Dr Pantami’s case is different as he was not in the service or secondment of and from any university before he was promoted or appointed by FUTO in 2021. He has resigned his previous appointment as a lecturer at the Islamic university Madina Saudi Arabia to take up a government job.

Now the issues that would ordinarily crop up in addition to all the grounds mentioned previously by those FOR and AGAINST Dr Pantami’s appointment are as follows:

  1. Did Dr Isa Pantami LIE to FUTO in his CV?: This question is prompted by sub-sections A and B below.
  2. 160 Journal Papers Claim by Pantami:

The concern about the possibility of facts turned upside down in Dr Pantami’s CV is imperative when juxtaposed with the fact that Dr Pantami claimed he was a magician who miraculously wrote 160 peer-reviewed journal papers during and after his graduating with a PhD in management information systems (MIS) at the university of Aberdonia Scotland United Kingdom. The 160 journal papers claim became more suspicious when viewed along the line that Dr Pantami was a full time administrator at NITDA and later, a minister during the period. How he was able to combine his full time duties in government and still write 160 peer-reviewed and accepted journal papers can only qualify as the 10th wonder of the world and send tongues wagging with a prolonged laughter. A journal paper in academics can take as many as 3 months or more to be properly reviewed and accepted so how could anybody write 160 journal papers within two and half years (excluding Dr Pantami’s  years as a PhD student) while working in other endeavours full time?

Checks conducted by several scholars on Dr Pantami’s Google Scholar and research gate accounts (before they were suspiciously deleted) revealed that he actually has 5 journal papers in low-quality muddy, mucky and minimally recognised journals. The 160 journal publications claim by Dr Pantami was reechoed by the governor of Zamfara State Bello Matawalle in his message of congratulations to Dr Pantami over his ‘full professorship’ offer by FUTO as published in the Daily trust newspaper edition of Saturday 4th September 2021.

Dr Pantami was also congratulated in the leadership newspaper by the Management of Maryam Abacha American University of Nigeria (MAAUN) by one Professor Gwarzo who claimed that Dr Pantami was his friend. Dr Pantami didn’t deny the 160 journal papers claim as published in these newspapers and other media. From this claim of 160 journal publications, the concern grows that Dr Pantami may have lied, hoodwinked and deceived the FUTO management and governing council including the vice chancellor Professor Nnenna Oti into believing that he has 160 journal publications by stating same in his CV. FUTO needs to revisit the CV that Dr Pantami submitted in his application to check his scholarly web presence and ascertain the veracity of the claim that he mysteriously wrote 160 journal publications within 2 and a half years.

Hang on, did FUTO actually know that Dr Pantami never had 160 journal publications but still went ahead to issue a Pantamized offer of a Professor to him? Your guess is as good as mine.

  1. Dr Pantami Studied Management Information Systems (MIS) during his PhD not computer science or cyber security:

Did Dr Pantami wrote MIS in his CV to FUTO or cyber security (which he never studied) instead? This question is pertinent because Dr Pantami’s area of research during his PhD and throughout his academic career so far was never cyber security but FUTO still went ahead to offer him a professorial award in cyber security. Clearly, MIS is miles apart from cyber security.

A basic definition of MIS is that ‘it is a tool for decision making which is employed by the management of an organisation to analyse, control and coordinate the information in the organisation  towards meeting its stated objectives.

On the other hand, cyber security is the protection of computer systems and networks from theft or damage to the hardware or software or from disruption to the service they provide.

Indeed there is a very weak link between management information systems (where Dr Pantami carried out his PhD research) and cyber security to justify the award of a professor to him. Moreover, what research work, books, teaching or other scholarly contributions has Dr Pantami contributed in the field of cyber security to warrant the award of a Professor to him in such field?. Remember, a Professor in a particular field should be an authority, master, guru, an expert and a rallying point in that field …at least to a reasonable extent if not to all extents.

Dr Pantami whose field is not cyber security delivering lectures to university students and supervising MSc and PhD students on cyber security!

Think about it.


It is very clear that FUTO instituted the lawsuit in court against ASUU so as to get a motion exparte for an order of interim injunction from the court for all parties to maintain status quo ante (remain on the position before break out of hostilities). By getting such court order from the honourable court, FUTO would have caged and stopped ASUU or any other organisation from taking any further action on the matter including but not limited to sanctioning it’s members.

Recall that ASUU had vowed to sanction any of its members in FUTO or elsewhere who played any role in support of Dr Pantami’s inadmissible professorial offer including the VC, Professor Nnenna Oti.

By the way, it is curious that this is the first time since records began in the history of the university system in Nigeria that an otherwise simple and straightforward professorship appointment/promotion is landing in court. Something must be fishy about this saga.

If the FUTO lawsuit should go to conclusion in court, ASUU may lose it because issues of appointment or promotion are the prerogative of the university (albeit in Dr Pantami’s case, this appointment appears clearly fraudulent). But again FUTO stated 12 years post-PhD teaching and research experience as minimum qualification in its advert but Dr Pantami has far less because he taught for only about 2 and half years at the Islamic university Madinah Saudi Arabia after completing his PhD in 2014. He resigned his appointment in 2016 at the Islamic university Madina to take up a federal government appointment as Director- General National information technology development agency (NITDA).

Be that as it may, ASUU didn’t break any laws and didn’t take away any Professorship from Dr Pantami. What ASUU did and rightly so, was to voice its opinion after carrying out it’s own internal investigation and concluding that the offer is fraudulent and inexplicable so it rejected it. It is clearly within ASUU’s powers to carry out its own checks within its internal mechanism and say what it feels especially when the issue involves it’s members. Ditto for the FUTO Alumni who issued a statement on Friday where it questioned and soundly rejected the offer of professorship to Dr Pantami by its Alma Mater FUTO because they feel he was not qualified to be a Professor based on his teaching experience and journal publications. FUTO Alumni didn’t stop at rejecting the offer, they also called for its immediate reversal.

Now the question is: what steps should ASUU take to ensure that it cements its position and not be caged in by FUTO’s legal action?

ASUU is in a better stead to apply to the court seeking a forensic review of Dr Pantami’s professorial FUTO offer by an independent body to unravel the truth about this offer in order to protect the integrity of ASUU itself, that of its members and the overall PUBLIC INTEREST. If ASUU’s prayer is granted by the honourable court, there will be an independent review of Dr Pantami’s professorial offer which will most likely quash the fraudulent professorial award.


Logic and commonsense will support the allegation of behind the scene deals in Dr Pantami’s offer by FUTO. Recall that a picture of the VC FUTO Professor Nnenna Oti sitting tight, pretty and relaxed with Dr Pantami in his posh office has gone viral. What is the business of Professor Nnenna, the VC of the awarding university in Dr Pantami’s  office (who is applying for a position in her university)?

Was the VC in Dr Pantami’s office to conclude deals, solicit and bag juicy intervention programmes from the Minister for her university which she and other members of the so-called FUTO promotion and appointment committee could benefit from materially  and otherwise?

Many concerned citizens actually opined that cash may have exchanged hands for FUTO to agree to give advanced, extraordinarily and accelerated promotion to Dr Pantami from a senior lecturer (SL) to a Professor in a field he has little or no knowledge about. Recall that 3 universities have reportedly rejected Dr Pantami’s application for a Professor before FUTO said ‘bring it on.

Time shall tell whether or not these allegations of underhand deals are true.


The fight to stop Dr Pantami’s fraudulent professorial offer is about promoting a strong university system in Nigeria and quality education for our children. Between September 2021 when the Dr Pantami FUTO saga started, you wouldn’t know how many dubious professorial applications in Nigerian universities which would have otherwise easily scaled through, were rejected.

Vice chancellors are now fully awake and learning from the Dr Pantami Saga not to award fraudulent professorships to unqualified candidates particularly politicians who often use their offices to cajole VCs like Professor Nnenna Oti of FUTO into such actions else it would be busted. This obviously is a huge success of this struggle to stop an academic corruption and will have an overall positive and lasting impact on the quality of our university graduates and by extension, the overall university system.

The regulator of the university system in Nigeria, the national universities commission (NUC) is on SILENT MODE over Dr Pantami’s professorial fraud because he is a minister and member of the federal executive council (FEC). The NUC thinks that if they bust Dr Pantami’s case, they will be causing a huge embarrassment to the federal government. Waow,This is Nigeria.

Alas, the NUC failed to think deep and understand that they will be promoting a positive image of the federal government and the good people of Nigeria by stopping this obvious professorial fraud so as to protect the PUBLIC INTEREST which should be the key objective of all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). Stopping Dr Pantami’s professorial fraud and academic corruption will be a plus to the Buhari administration which has tirelessly said ‘there will be no sacred cow in the fight against corruption in any form.

The NUC will be playing its part in President Buhari’s fight against corruption if it comes clean and stop Dr Pantami’s FUTO professorial fraud.

One obviously warped and out-of-shape individual posted his opinion about Dr Pantami’s professorial saga where he credulously stated that the opposition to Dr Pantami’s fraudulent Professorial offer is ‘because he is an Islamic preacher.

This is the most offscouring, trivial and flat comment I ever came across since I joined WhatsApp. How could the requirements for a Professor be linked to being an Islamic preacher? Such a free-flier will not understand that he is actually ridiculing Dr Pantami by soliciting for him (Pantami), an academic sympathy on the altar of religion.

Without doubt, Dr Pantami is an Islamic preacher of repute for those who are keen about his sermons but it is simply wrong to attach religious sentiments to a purely academic matter. Islam enjoins as to embrace and uphold the truth and justice as stated in Surah An-Nisa 4:135:

‘Believers! Be upholders of justice and bearers of witness to truth for the sake of Allah even though it may either be against yourselves or against your parents and kinsmen or the rich or the poor: for Allah is more concerned with their well-being than you are. Do not, then, follow your own desires lest you keep away from justice. If you twist or turn away from (the truth), know that Allah is well aware of all that you do,

The Muslim rights concern (MURIC) that has been at the forefront of Dr Pantami’s defence having issued two statements so far to justify Dr Pantami’s professorial fraud, needs to understand that this is not about Dr Pantami being an Islamic preacher but about standards and the truth. In all its statements in defence of Dr Pantami, MURIC has not made any reference to the real issues: Job experience and journal qualifications.

Yes, they always play the religious card against us Northerners and Muslims whenever they are in trouble… but it will not be forever insha Allah.

The requirements for being a Professor in FUTO are clearly and unambiguously stated in the FUTO advert including a 12 years post – PhD teaching and research minimum experience. The point is not about Dr Pantami being an Islamic preacher but that Dr Pantami IS NOT QUALIFIED to be a Professor in FUTO because he hasn’t satisfied those requirements of teaching and research experience and journal publications even by FUTO standards. Not even close. Period!

Those who have doggedly stood against this Professorial fraud involving Dr Pantami and FUTO must be commended. They are heroes who are fighting to preserve what is left of the university system in Nigeria. Few years ago, the National universities commissions (NUC), the regulator of the university system in Nigeria had stated that its checks revealed that there are over 100 fake professors in Nigerian universities (Has the NUC done anything to flush them out? This is a topic for another day).

Why should anyone supppprt the injection of more fake professors into the Nigerian university system? It leaves well enough chunk of bile in one’s mouth that some of the supporters and protagonists of Dr Pantami’s fraudulent professorship are university lecturers (some are Professors) who should know better. They hide under sentiments to support a clear academic fraud.

Dr Pantami’s FUTO award if reversed, has the potentials to set the right standards in the appointment and promotion procedures in our universities and establish the doctrine that: ‘it is no longer business as usual’

This is one scandal too many by those who are appointed by the government to preserve and uphold trust. It is a clear abuse of office and trust which negates the PUBLIC INTEREST. Dr Pantami’s interest and blind ambition to be a Professor come what may because he is in government cannot override that of millions of hardworking university students, hundreds of thousands of committed and selfless lecturers and other stakeholders in the education system. Obviously, Dr Pantami cannot be above the law.

How is it justified that while other university lecturers work hard to deserve their promotion, one person came up and earns a Professorship overnight which he is clearly not qualified for by using the instruments of his ministerial seat? How fair is it to Chima Igwe, the recalcitrant former director-general of the federal institute of industrial research Oshodi (FIIRO),  who was arraigned at the Ikeja  high court on 12th November 2021 for certificate forgery after deceiving everyone for 18 years as DG of FIIRO Oshodi Lagos that he has a PhD certificate from Benin Republic which was alleged to be false? Why can’t Dr Pantami and FUTO be fully investigated on this matter?

This barefaced double standards and rabid adulteration of our university system has to stop if Nigeria is to achieve its priorities.

What better way to stop

It than now to draw the line between the truth and falsehood.       .

At the end of the day, Dr Pantami’s FUTO professorial award cannot stand

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