A Civil Society Organisation, Global Network for Sustainable Development (GNSD), has condemned the reactions following the purported leaked audio conversation between the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi and the founder of the Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo.
The audio conversation alleged Obi described the election as a “religious war” and solicited help from Oyedepo to talk to his people.
The group, at a press conference on Monday in Abuja, accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of being behind it, maintaining it is blackmail targeted at defaming Obi.
In his address, the National Coordinator, GNSD, Mr Phil Roberts said even if the purported conversation were to be true, key political actors have made bigoted statements in both the past and the present, and today, they are in power, and no one is denigrating them.
Roberts said, “At the height of the tension over the Muslim-Muslim ticket, some Islamic clerics gathered and declared that it was a Jihad and that if Tinubu and Shetima lost the election, it would be a loss or defeat for Islam.
“What is worse, perpetrating an evil or creating awareness about the evil being perpetrated? What is worse, waging a religious war or crying out that a religious war is being waged? What is worse, killing people or crying that people are being killed?
“Those calling out Peter Obi today are nothing but a bunch of shameless hypocrites. Can you say that the Muslim-Muslim ticket of APC is in the interest of religious balance and equity in a hyper-sensitive religious climate like Nigeria? Can you say that it was conceived and executed in good faith? The architects of this evil plot bragged that it was a Jihad. Is Jihad not war? Which religious bigotry is worse than a Muslim-Muslim ticket? Why are the architects of the same faith ticket not being shamed today by the gullible public? It is the height of inhuman cruelty to beat a child and declare his tears illegal. To cut the skin and not expect it to bleed is lethal insensitivity.
“Furthermore, Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as Amended provided for the Right to Privacy of citizens. “Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to their privacy. Be it in their homes, communications with people by way of letters, telephone or telegraph are protected and guaranteed by the Constitution).” Those who leaked the purported telephone conversation acted in breach of a citizen’s confidentiality and right to privacy, and it is malicious, callous and criminal. For placing Obi’s purported private conversation in the public domain, those behind this despicable plot are liable to criminal prosecution.
“We are aware that the All Progressives Congress (APC) orchestrated this odoriferous and shambolic blackmail to distract Nigerians from challenging the party’s purchased victory at the fraudulent presidential poll. The purported leaked audio conversation has APC’s blackmail mill written all over it.
“Political scavengers and retarded gluttons-in-chief, like Femi Fani-Kayode did not hesitate to feast on this stinking carcass of poorly scripted blackmail. The infamous political Almajeri has used his office as the Director, New Media APC Presidential Campaign Council to carry out similar dirty jobs before, especially against Tinubu’s opponents.
“It is regrettably lugubrious, that the so-called ruling party has reduced politicking in Nigeria to cheap blackmailing and throwing of tantrums. It is a pity that issue-based politics have been murdered by psychopathic sycophants and desperate politicians who thrive on blackmail and character assassination. It is a shame that a party that claimed to have won an electoral victory has resorted to underhand practices and cheap blackmail against a purported loser instead of defending their purchased victory in court.
“We are even more angered by Femi Fani-Kayode’s call to security agencies to “declare Obi a master terrorist” for purportedly “describing the election as a religious war”. We do not know what hallucinogenic substances Fani-Kayode has been messing with, but we know they are potent! He talks like his corpus callosum is disconnected. If we were in a sane society, FFK should either be in the prison or rehab, or better still, in some psychiatric or permanent mental asylum.
“Let us not forget his recent inciting comments that fuelled unprecedented violence against non-Yoruba voters in Lagos State at the just-concluded governorship poll. Fani-Kayode is such a foul-mouthed imp and national disgrace.
“We also want to use this medium to ask the Labour Party Presidential candidate, Peter Obi to press charges against those who leaked and doctored his telephone conversation with Bishop Oyedepo. The leaked conversation is an invasion of his privacy. With incidents like this, one may be forced to ask how safe are Nigerians’ telephone conversations?”
The group tasked telecommunication companies in the country to rise up to their responsibility of protecting their customers’ privacy.
It called on Nigerians to ignore the blackmail and focus on retrieving the mandate they gave to Obi from those who stole it, adding that the wishes of the people expressed at the poll can never be suppressed.