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More dust over Peter Obi’s leaked audio

More dust over Peter Obi’s leaked audio

Reactions have continued to trail the leaked ‘religious war’ audio involving the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi.

The federal government and some regional socio-cultural groups in Nigeria have kept knocking Obi over the telephone conversation between him and Bishop David Oyedepo of Living Faith Church Worldwide.

In the leaked audio, Obi was heard begging Oyedepo to help him get votes from Christians in South-West and Kwara State.

He had said the votes were needed because the February 25 presidential election was a religious war.

Many Nigerians who commented on social media said they were grossly disappointed and would never trust Obi again.

Obi has since described the leaked audio as deep fake; while Oyedepo had neither confirmed nor denied it but merely said he had never campaigned for politicians.

Ohanaeze’s position

The Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly Worldwide, advised Obi to come out publicly and clear the air on the leaked audio..

The director-general, implementation and strategic planning of the group, Ambassador Tony Obizoba challenged Obi to clear the air on the issue in order to stop further heating up the polity.

He said, “Peter Obi should come out himself and clear the air properly and allow the nation to know the true picture of that audio whether it’s doctored or whether there is fact in the conversation…If actually the basis of the argument is not whether or not he made a call to Oyedepo.

“Oyedepo has said categorically that many presidential candidates consulted him. If Peter Obi had consulted Oyedepo to seek his support and canvass votes for him from various quarters, it is left for Mr. Peter Obi to come out and categorically clear the air on the issue because keeping silent is heating up the polity.

“I had a conversation with some media houses and I told them it is important he comes out himself, not his media aides coming out to defend him, that he should come out himself straightforward and let the whole world know the facts about the matter; that is our position.

“At this juncture, we are not going to begin to create sentiments on religious politics, we are trying to build a country where people see themselves as one even though we are diverse in our various religious and cultural diversities, we have to see ourselves as one and in one Nigeria,” he said.

ACF’s position

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) on its part said anyone with ethno or religious sentiments is unlikely to rule the country.

The ACF secretary general, Murtala Aliyu, while reacting to the leaked audio of the telephone conversation between Obi and Oyedepo, counseled Obi to wean himself of religious or ethnocentric issues and become a Nigerian in person and in politics.

He said, “On the leaked video, even though the matter is dying now, the trust is that there is nobody that can rule this country under certain ethnic or religious sentiments and succeed. Nigeria is a complex country and anybody with such an agenda from which every part of the country or religion is unlikely to succeed because it will be glaring.

“It is not only here in Nigeria, you could see what the downfall of Donald Trump became when the evangelicals supported him. I think if Peter Obi wants to continue to be relevant in Nigerians politics, he should wean himself of these religious or ethnocentric issues and become a Nigerian in person and in politics.

“I also want to use this medium to call on our religious leaders to restrain themselves from getting involved in such trade by using religion or the pulpit as a campaign platform. They should advise their people to choose good leaders. Even Peter Obi must have made a mistake, if it is confirmed that that video is correct, to just narrow himself that parochial corner.

“Our position as ACF is for anyone who wants to rule this country, that person has to be a Nigerian in his/her character, thinking and mind set and they should avoid any enclave that they think will throw them up there.”

Arewa elders’ position

A Coalition of Arewa Elders on Tuesday also warned Obi to desist forthwith from what they described as ‘unguided post-election political utterances.’

The elders said such utterances were capable of triggering a repeat of the 1966 coup that led to killings of regional leaders.

The Arewa elders noted that it was on record that Obi allegedly engaged in a divisive ethno-religious campaign during the 2023 elections.

Reading the communiqué shortly after the coalition’s meeting at Arewa House, Kaduna Tuesday, the chairman of the group, Suleiman Usman Jere, expressed worry that the LP presidential candidate had continued to display anti-democratic tendencies, capable of causing civil disobedience and threats.

The elders therefore advised whoever was aggrieved following the outcome of the elections, to seek redress through the courts rather than inciting chaos.

“We’ve x-rayed the situation and we condemn in loud, clear and unambiguous tone, the resort to illegal and unconstitutional ways being pursued by Mr. Peter Obi, Mr. Datti Ahmed and other Labour Party leaders, which are capable of truncating our democracy. Unhealthy ethno-religious comments amount to incitement that can lead to public disorder.  We recognise the right of anyone aggrieved with the results to challenge the same in courts.

“The events unfolding in our polity within the Nigerian political landscape calls for concern. We called this Elders Convention to discuss and x-ray certain unhealthy developments, especially after the 2023 general elections.

“Particularly worrisome, are the pronouncements of Mr. Peter Obi and Mr. Datti Ahmed, the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates of the Labour Party, as well as other Labour Party leaders including sources said to be linked to IPOB, ESN, which are known terrorist organisations.

“It is on record that Mr. Peter Obi engaged in a very divisive ethno-religious campaign during the 2023 elections and has continued to brazenly display anti-democratic tendencies opting for civil disobedience and threats in place of constitutional means through the courts.

“We are calling on all our security agencies to be alive to their responsibilities. It amounts to treason for anybody to call for truncating our democracy by whatever guises, be it Interim National Government let alone the call for a military coup. Perpetrators must be arrested and be brought to book with immediate effect!

“Elections have been held and the winner has emerged. The people of the North massively voted for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in national interest. We are mindful of our voting and will stand firmly to protect our democracy. We remain committed to the May 29th swearing-in date in line with Nigeria’s constitutional provisions.

“We will not accept the molestation of any Northerner for whatever reason, anywhere in Nigeria as it happened in the past in some parts of the South. We are ready to return any negative attack with equally or more potent positive reaction that will counter it forthwith.

“We remain committed to the unity and corporate existence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the communiqué read in part.

Chief Ayo Adebanjo Adebanjo’s position

Afenifere leader, on Tuesday, said the controversy over the alleged leaked audio of Obi and Oyedepo was orchestrated by the ruling party and the government to divert attention from the substance of the petition filed by Obi challenging the outcome of the February 25 Presidential election.

He also accused the media of escalating the controversy over the leaked audio conversation, which he said has been denied by Obi instead of focusing on the substance of the petition before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

According to him, Obi has toed the path of honour by approaching the court to challenge the declaration of APC candidate as the President-Elect and proclaim him as the winner of the election.

He said, “The man is saying I have won and I would prove my case. He is now in court and you are now trying to divert attention. They have asked him to go to court and he has gone to court.

“Allow Obi to prove his case, don’t bring any sentiment into it.”

Federal government’ position

Nigeria’s minister of information, Lai Mohammed, said Obi had more questions to answer on the leaked audio.

At a press briefing in London, he challenged Obi to clarify what he meant by saying the leaked conversation was fake.

“I need to draw the attention of Nigerians to the recent leaked audio of conversation between the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, and the cleric.

“The leaked audio rattled Nigerians because we heard Obi pleading with the cleric to interfere on his behalf to convince Christians that this is a religious war and they should support him. In the aftermath of the leaked audio, Obi came out to say that it was a fake, doctored audio call.

“If it is fake, it means it never took place. But if it is doctored, it means there was that conversation but it was manipulated. Obi needs to come out and make the clarification on whether the conversation did not take place or it took place, but it was doctored.

“If it was doctored, which part of it was doctored? Is it the beginning, the middle or the end or is it the ‘Yes Daddy’ part of it, or where he said it was a religious war?”


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