The Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, has received warnings to leave the country or face arrest by security agencies, the party has said on Wednesday.
The alleged warnings are linked to Obi’s ongoing legal challenge to the outcome of the February 25 presidential election which produced Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as president-elect.
Obi’s party alleged in a press release on Wednesday that the former Anambra State Governor is under “immense pressure” to leave Nigeria as part of plots aimed at forcing him to abandon his legal suit, which is currently before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
But the LP said no amount of pressure or threats will make Obi leave the country, vowing to continue their legal challenge of the election results, despite the alleged plot to arrest their presidential candidate.
The party equally called on supporters and members of the ‘Obidient Movement’ to remain calm and vigilant, as Obi has pledged to fight for his rights and the principles of democracy.
“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,” Tanko Yunusa, chief spokesperson of the Obi-Datti Campaign Council said in the statement.
“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 the country or face the prospect of being arrested on false charges of inciting insurrection in the country.
“It is difficult to fathom and indeed unfortunate and regrettable 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.”
Tanko maintained that a recent audio purporting Obi as telling Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church in a phone conversation that the presidential election was “a religious war” was doctored and circulated as part of a grand plot to de-market Obi.
The party further alleged that the audio had been translated into the Hausa language and is being distributed by some Muslim clerics in the North to mislead residents of the region.
“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 Peoples Gazette and others”
Despite the public denunciation of the fake audio call, its contents have been translated to 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 Gobbeal 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 taxpayers’ money (Nigeria’s 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 of 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 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 divide 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. 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 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.”