Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate in the February 25 election, Peter Obi, yesterday said an audio which was circulated by a section of the media (not by The Nation) of him having a conversation with Pastor David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church Worldwide was fake.
In a statement issued via his Twitter handle, Obi said he has instructed his lawyers to take action against those behind the fake audio.
He accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of attempting to divert attention from the outcome of the election, which he is challenging.
The statement reads: “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 attempt to manipulate Nigerians is very sad and wicked. Our legal team has 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 on 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. –PO”
Also yesterday, the LP Presidential Campaign Council spokesperson, Yunusa Tanko, said Obi was under “immense pressure” to leave the country or face arrest.
The full statement reads in part: “Most unfortunately, in the past few weeks, Mr Peter Obi 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 APC and its agents in the security services…
“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.
“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 Muslim 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 should be more concerned in addressing the ethnic and religious frictions unfortunately created by the outcome of the elections…
“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 travelled 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 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.”