A Day with Pantami: A Whisperers’ Account
By Abdullahi O. Haruna Haruspice

Speaking in esoteric opulence, he serenades his listeners with unending vocal dexterity, weaving a tapestry of words that mesmerize and enthrall. Every syllable uttered is a masterful stroke of linguistic artistry, leaving you spellbound and yearning for more.

His voice is a rich velvet cloak that envelops your senses, transporting you to a realm of wonder and awe. Just when you think he has reached the pinnacle of eloquence, he surpasses himself, plunging deeper into the depths of linguistic virtuosity. His words are a symphony of wisdom, a gentle breeze that rustles the leaves of your mind, awakening hidden truths and stirring the soul.

With each phrase, he paints a vivid picture of the human experience, a kaleidoscope of emotions and ideas that resonate deeply within. His voice is a gentle whisper that awakens the heart, a gentle breeze that stirs the soul, and a radiant light that illuminates the path to understanding.

Recently, I had an encounter with the rave of the moment, the reference in every social discourse, mentioned in academic circles, the author of the book “Skills Rather than Just Degrees,” Professor Ibrahim Ali Pantami. He is the immediate past Minister of Digital Economy, a teacher, cleric, and politician.

The venue was his office. He had scheduled our meeting, and just in the nick of time, he walked in, greeting everyone with cheerful gestures as he strolled to his desk. And my chit-chat with him began.

With a smile on his face, he asked me: “Mallam Abdullahi, You speak with the eloquence of a Hausa speaker, but I know you are not one!”

I responded: “Yes, Mallam, I am actually Igala but born in the embrace of Zaria; the melting pot of intellectual seekers.”

As a journalist, I was eager to discuss his book, “Skills Rather than Just Degrees,” which had generated significant buzz, with both praise and criticism.

I asked him: “Aren’t you worried about the negative reviews?”

Pantami’s response was characteristically optimistic: “The greatest tragedy is to write a book and not get reactions. The demand for my book has skyrocketed, with online vendors struggling to keep up. This is how you measure success. The reactions that my book has generated thus far have led to an astronomical increase in demand, such that the book is now sold out. The online vendors are overwhelmed by ceaseless demand. This is how you measure the success of a book. I thank those who made this possible.”

The book has been translated into five languages: Spanish, French, Mongolian, Hausa, and Arabic. Across universities and other tertiary institutions, there has been a frenzy over the book, with students making t-shirts with bold inscriptions of “Skills Rather than Just Degrees” and sharing on social media platforms. This further grabs the arrention of a generation of thinkers, those with the mindset of champions—creators and innovators in addition to their certifications.

As our conversation flowed, I was struck by his passion for education and his commitment to empowering young minds. His words were a template of wisdom, wearing the colour of inspirations that define an alternative thinking pattern. In his presence, I felt the rising push to integrate his teachings into my craft. I was ready to recreate his path and amplify the messages he carries with his book. Let’s have generations with degrees but backed with skills.

Indeed, Professor Ibrahim Ali Pantami has sparked a revolution, the Pantami effect. The book’s impact was evident, with translations in five languages and a frenzy among students, who even created t-shirts with the book’s title. The Gombe-born knowledge voyager has aimed to inspire a generation of thinkers, creators, and innovators.

When I asked about his time management, given his prolific writing, preaching, and political activities, he humbly replied:
“I don’t manage my time, I utilize my time with priority set out. I spend most of my day worshipping my creator, ample time with my family, and the rest researching and reading.”

Despite having little sleep, his priorities drive his productivity.

As our conversation concluded, I was left in awe of Professor Ibrahim Pantami’s linguistic virtuosity, his passion for education, and his commitment to empowering young minds. His words were a symphony of wisdom, painting a vivid picture of the human experience, and illuminating the path to understanding. In his presence, I felt the gentle whisper of his voice awakening my heart, the gentle breeze of his words stirring my soul, and the radiant light of his wisdom guiding me towards knowledge.

Abdullahi O Haruna Haruspice is a journalist, poet and author of the book, “The Buhari In Us.”
[email protected]

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