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I will not leave Nigeria and won’t drop my election petition in court, says Peter Obi

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The Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, says pressure is on him to leave the country, but says he is going nowhere and will pursue his case at the courts to its end.

The pressure, according to him, is coming from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Federal Government it leads.

He spoke as the Labour Party’s Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) revealed that copies of the alleged fake audio recording of  the discussion between Obi and Bishop David Oyedepo of Winners Chapel have been translated to Nigerian languages and circulated to Islamic clerics to form the basis of their Friday sermons, apparently to turn the tide of public opinion against Obi.

Said the LP PCC on Wednesday: “As part of the grand design, they are circulating a fake doctored audio call. At no time throughout the campaign and now did Mr Peter Obi ever say, think or even imply that the 2023 election is or was a religious war. It is very sad and wicked the attempts to manipulate Nigerians. Our legal team have been instructed to take appropriate legal actions against media outlets that make themselves willing tools in the hands of APC’s malicious propagandists.

“Despite the public denunciation of the fake audio call, its contents have been translated into other Nigerian languages and circulated in most parts of Northern Nigeria with some of our Moslem clerics deceived and instigated to use the contents for their sermons at various Mosques during the usual Friday prayers. This is a dangerous development at a time when the APC led-government and the APC party which have been awarded undeserved and unfair victory should be more concerned in addressing the ethnic and religious frictions unfortunately created by the outcome of the elections.”

Insisting that he remained committed to lawfully and peacefully getting back the electoral mandate he claims he got from Nigerians at the February 25 presidential election, Obi described as fake a viral audio recording the rounds of a discussion he had with Bishop Oyedepo.

On Twitter on Wednesday, Obi said: “I continue to thank all Nigerians, especially the youths and the Obidients, as they have remained focused on the core mission of a New Nigeria that is POssible even after the February 25, 2023 presidential election.

“Before, during, and after the campaign, it is on record that I have maintained my commitment and focus on issue-based campaign about a New Nigeria that is POssible,a shift of emphasis from consumption to production, a New Nigeria characterized 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!

“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.

“The attempts to manipulate Nigerians is very sad and wicked. Our legal team have been instructed to take appropriate legal actions against Peoples Gazette and others.

“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,take Nigeria from consumption to production, pull millions of Nigerians out of multidimensional poverty especially in the North, and jumpstart prosperity through agricultural, industrial, and technological revolution remain unchanged.

“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.

“Those fixated with heating up the polity, creating divisions, tensions and hatred within and outside Nigeria should remember that Nigeria is our only country. Our focus should be on how to address the litany of challenges facing us, such as: flawed electoral processes, the parlous state of our economy, unsustainable debt burden, lamentable unemployment and inflation, insecurity, and multi-dimensional poverty. A New Nigeria is indeed POssible, and God will help us. ”

But Lai Mohammed accused both men (Obi and Datti) of treason in Washington DC. He is the US capital to interact with some international media organisations.

“Obi and his Vice, Datti Ahmed cannot be threatening Nigerians that if the President-elect, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is sworn-in on May 29 , it will be the end of democracy in Nigeria.

“This is treason. You cannot be inciting insurrection, and this is what they are doing. Obi’s statement is that of a desperate person. He is not a democrat that he claimed to be. A democrat should not believe in democracy only when he wins an election,” Lai Mohammed said.

Last Tuesday, Obi responded stating: Obi said in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja that “In the past few days, I’ve observed various campaigns of calumny directed at my person, the latest being allegations attributed to Information Minister Lai Mohammed from Washington DC

The Labour Party standard bearer said  “It is most unfortunate that these consistent efforts to portray me quite contrary to what I am and my core values, is coming from such high quarters. Minister Lai accusing me of stoking insurrection is malicious and fictitious.

“I have never discussed or encouraged anyone to undermine the Nigerian state; I’ve never sponsored or preached any action against the Nigerian state. Those initiating these actions have increasingly used their official positions and agents to make false allegations against me. I’m on record as always advocating peace and issue-based campaign and not campaigning based on ethnicity or religion.

“I’m committed to due process and am presently seeking redress in Court.  I urge those engaged in this demarketing process to stop presenting Nigeria in a such bad light.  Our future generations deserve a new Nigeria where they can live a secure and decent life like their counterparts in other climes. It is possible.”

Mohammed’s position coming on the heels of comments by the Department of State Services (DSS) that there was a plot to foist an Interim Government on the country has led commentators to suggest that a plan is in the offing to arrest Obi and Datti as part of a grand strategy to scuttle their court case.

Speaking further in Washington, the minister said it was wrong for Obi in one breadth to seek redress in court over the outcome of the polls and in another breadth incite people to violence.

He added that there was no pathway to victory for either Obi or Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in court, because they failed failed to meet the constitutional requirements to be declared as president.

Said he: “The constitution has stringent criteria for any body who want to be president of the country. Not only must he has the plurality of vote cast in an election, he must also have scored one quarter of votes cast in at least 25 states.

“Only the President elect met the criteria  by scoring 8.79 million votes and having one quarter of all the vote cast in 29 states of the federation.”

According to him, Atiku with 6.9 million votes was only able to make one quarter of votes cast in 21 states, while Obi came third with 5.8 million votes, winning only one quarter of votes cast in 15 states.

“You cannot win election in a poll where you came a distant third position and failed to meet constitutional requirements. Peter Obi, while complaining of fraud has not disown his victory in Lagos,” Mohammed said.

On his mission to Washington, Mohammed said, “We have come here to balance that skewed narratives and to tell the world unambiguously that the just concluded general elections in Nigeria is the fairest, most transparent and authentic in the history of Nigeria.

“The election is the most fair and credible because of the introduction of the Bimodal Voters Verification System (BVAS), which I regard as a game changer. BVAS technology had helped to  weed out ghost and illegal voters, eliminate multiple voting and return sanity to the elections.”

To counter the Federal Government’s position, the Labour Party’s Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) released a statement entitled “Disturbing Emerging Developments in Nigeria!”

Signed by the Chief Spokesperson of the Obi-Datti PCC, Dr Tanko Yunusa, the statement reads: “We continue to thank all Nigerians especially the youths and Obidients as they have remained focused on the core mission of a New Nigeria that Is POssible, even after the presidential elections of 25th February 2023.

“Before, throughout and after the campaigns, it is on record that Mr Peter Obi maintained his commitment and focus on issues-based campaign, about a New Nigeria that is POssible, a shift of emphasis from consumption to production, as well as a New Nigeria characterized by inclusion, justice, equity, fairness and prosperity. He repeatedly stated that no one should vote for him based on tribe or religion, but rather on the assessment of Character, Competence, Capacity, Credibility and Compassion, to create a New Nigeria!

“Most unfortunately, in the past few weeks, Mr Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate in the February 25th, 2023 presidential election has been contacted by associates, elder statesmen, family and friends with concerns for his personal safety. These concerns have increased intensely in the last few days as immense pressure, has been mounted directly on Mr. Obi to leave the country, no doubt, from sources allied to the All-Progressive Congress (APC) and its agents in the security services. Mr Obi has been repeatedly and categorically told that he has a choice to leave Nigeria or face the prospect of being arrested on false charges of inciting insurrection in the country.

“It is difficult to fathom and regrettably unfortunate that state institutions have become part of a well calculated, deliberate and orchestrated campaign of calumny by the APC to discredit and delegitimize Mr Peter Obi and compel him to abandon his right to seek redress in court following the outcome of the last election which was adjudged both locally and internationally to have failed to meet any standard of credibility or fairness.

“As part of the grand design, they are circulating a fake doctored audio call. At no time throughout the campaign and now did Mr Peter Obi ever say, think or even imply that the 2023 election is or was a religious war. It is very sad and wicked the attempts to manipulate Nigerians. Our legal team have been instructed to take appropriate legal actions against media outlets that make themselves willing tools in the hands of APC’s malicious propagandists.

“Despite the public denunciation of the fake audio call, its contents have been translated into other Nigerian languages and circulated in most parts of Northern Nigeria with some of our Moslem clerics deceived and instigated to use the contents for their sermons at various Mosques during the usual Friday prayers. This is a dangerous development at a time when the APC led-government and the APC party which have been awarded undeserved and unfair victory should be more concerned in addressing the ethnic and religious frictions unfortunately created by the outcome of the elections.

“Yet unsatisfied but determined to cause more problems, Mr Lai Mohammed, who fancies himself as modern day Goebbels is on a tour of some selected countries to present an alternative story about the 2023 discredited election, and from his first statement in Washington have assumed the role of the courts by stating that Mr Obi has no pathway to victory. This is a direct intimidation of the courts and a waste of Nigerian taxpayers’ money.

“There are many more campaigns of calumny against Mr Peter Obi planned for the near future both before and during the court process. However, we want to make it clear to the APC party, APC led-government and its agents that Mr Peter Obi, a widely traveled man, has no intention to leave the country at this time irrespective of the pressure on him and his family. He is determined as he had stated in his first and only press conference after the election to challenge the outcome of the election and the process has begun. It is his fundamental right!

“While we call on all concerned Nigerians and the International Community to caution APC and the APC Led-government to stop their nasty attacks, Mr Peter Obi’s focus and commitment to lawfully and peacefully retrieve our mandate to secure and unite our Nation, take Nigeria from consumption to production, pull millions of Nigerians out of multidimensional poverty especially in the North and jumpstart prosperity through agricultural, industrial and technological revolution remains unchanged.

“He has continued to impress upon his supporters, the essence of the legal process and will not now or in the future encourage any violence against the state. He has absolutely no reason for this nor is he desperate especially as throughout the campaign, he called for a new Nigeria defined by opportunities for all, an end to poverty and criminality in government, especially corruption and an end to tribal and religious division and bigotry.

“It is for this reasons that we appeal to revered religious leaders especially in the North not to be part of the grand design of the state apparatus to further increase the religious and ethnic divides in the country. Irrespective of the outcome of the court process, we have the obligation to strive for the peace and co-existence of all Nigerians. We call on President Buhari to rein in his desperate officials at all levels as their actions or inactions could lead to unnecessary crisis in the country.

“Elections are over, and we are in court to retrieve our stolen mandate. We reiterate that we are doing so through all lawful and peaceful options in line with our legal system and constitution, and we continue to implore all Nigerians to remain peaceful and law abiding.

“Those fixated with heating up the polity, creating divisions, tensions and hatred within and outside Nigeria should remember that Nigeria is our only country. Our focus should be on how to address the litany of challenges facing us such as deliberate non-adherence to election process, parlous state of our economy, unsustainable debt burden, lamentable unemployment and inflation, insecurity and multi-dimensional poverty. A New Nigeria is Indeed Possible and God will help us.”

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