It emerged late last week that Communications and Digital Economy Minister Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami (or his agents) possibly instructed Zamfara State governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle to place an advertorial in the Daily Trust to congratulate Pantami on his “promotion to the Rank of Full Professor of Cybersecurity” by an unnamed university.

(In the advertorial, Matawalle repeated the dishonestly hyperbolized claims Pantami cherishes and promotes, such as the claim that he has over 160 publications—which don’t show up in any scholarly repository—and that he was trained at Harvard, MIT, and Oxford even though he only attended a few days’ workshops there. He used the American English “full professor” that the Islamic University of Madinah where Pantami taught also uses to describe what is simply called “professor” in British and Nigerian terminology. Since Mutawalle isn’t an academic, it’s obvious that Pantami wrote the advertorial for him.)

I later learned that Pantami’s “professorship” was granted by the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, where he has never taught. It doesn’t take much thought to see that the “professorial promotion” and, worse, its promotion in the media is some self-humiliating intellectual duplicity perpetrated by Pantami himself.

The last academic position Pantami held before he became DG of NITDA in 2016 was an assistant professorship (roughly equivalent to a senior lectureship in the Nigerian system) at the…

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