The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, said he is being pressured to leave the county with attacks against his person emanating from different quarters. Recently, the country’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had accused him of treason and insurrection— a widely viewed politically motivated comment — but Obi is nonetheless resolved to not to go on self-exile as being projected.
There is wide outcry that accusing him of treason is unconstitutional and in violation of international law, claiming that the move was “proof” that the APC-led Government intended to prevent him from pursuing his legal charges against the electoral process that declared Senator Tinubu as the President-elect.
On Wednesday night on his Twitter handle, Obi, while referring to the recent comments of the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, alleged that the All Progressives Congress and the APC-led government are doing everything possible to “divert our attention from our blatantly stolen mandate,” which he said is “unfortunate and sad.”
He wrote, “The present attempts by the APC as a party, and the APC led-government through some government officials and agencies to divert our attention from our blatantly stolen mandate is unfortunate and sad.
“These have come and continued to manifest in different ways, such as the malicious accusation of the Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, the circulation of a fake doctored audio call, and a pressure on me to leave the country.
“Let me reiterate that the audio call being circulated is fake, and at no time throughout the campaign and now did I ever say, think, or even imply that the 2023 election is, or was a religious war.”
He maintained that before, during, and after the campaign, he focused solely on issue-based campaigns about a new Nigeria with a shift of emphasis from consumption to production, characterised by inclusion, justice, equity, fairness, and prosperity, adding that he “repeatedly stated that no one should vote for me based on tribe or religion.”
“While we call on all concerned Nigerians and the International Community to implore the APC and the APC Led-government to stop their nasty attacks, my focus and commitment to lawfully and peacefully retrieve our mandate to secure and unite our Nation.
“Elections are over, and we are in court to retrieve our stolen mandate. Let me reiterate that we are doing so through all lawful and peaceful options in line with our legal system and constitution, and I continue to implore all Nigerians to remain peaceful and law abiding,” Obi added.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mohammed, on Tuesday had said that Obi and his running mate Datti Baba-Ahmed, risked being prosecuted for treason over some of their utterances on the February 25 presidential election, stating that the duo were inciting people over the outcome of the poll.
Also, Obi distanced himself from a purportedly leaked phone call between himself and the founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide aka Winners Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo.
An online medium had published the audio clip, prompting tensions between Obi’s supporters popularly known as Obidients and several of their political opponents, online and offline.
The LP candidate rejected the authenticity of the audio, arguing that he consistently maintained his focus on an issue-based campaign, while pursuing a new Nigeria characterised by inclusion, justice, equity, fairness, and prosperity.
“I repeatedly stated that no one should vote for me based on Tribe or Religion, but rather on the assessment of Character, Competence, Capacity, Credibility, and Compassion that can be trusted to create a New Nigeria!” he said.
He added, “Let me reiterate that the audio call being circulated is fake, and at no time throughout the campaign and now did I ever say, think, or even imply that the 2023 election is, or was a religious war.”
While condemning the attempts to “manipulate” Nigerians, which he called “very sad and wicked”, the LP candidate stated that his legal team had been instructed to take appropriate legal actions against the online medium in question and others.
Meanwhile Oyedepo on Sunday declared he had never campaigned for any politician or spoken to any group on their behalf, Obi did not speak publicly until two days later, when he responded to allegations made by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.