- LP PCC officials differ on alleged conversation with Oyedepo
- Keyamo tasks clerics of neutrality
Controversy has continued to trail a purported audio conversation between the presidential candidate of Labour Party, LP, in the recently concluded general elections, Peter Obi, and General Overseer,, Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo.
The politician, in the intercepted telephone conversation that went viral at the weekend, allegedly appealed to the cleric to urge his congregation vote for him at the February 25 Presidential election.
But Obi has described the purported audio as fake, alleging the recording was ‘doctored’ by the All Progressives Congress, APC, to put the party, LP, in dark spot .
Speaking through the Head, Obi-Datti Media Office, Diran Onifade, in Abuja, on Sunday, Obi said APC’s desperate bid to grab and retain power using subterfuge must stop.
He said, “ It appears the APC’s desperation to grab and retain power by foul means has refused to go away more than a month after they have grabbed the election as they planned.
“While we are toeing the constitutional path to retrieve our mandate, those who have truncated the wishes of the majority of Nigerians have resoughted to mischief and endless subterfuge to continue to hold on to what they know does not belong to them.
“From the show of shame in Port Harcourt to the drama in the Ibom Air aircraft, both of which they contrived, they have now moved to the circulation of a deep fake audio file aimed at promoting religious tension in the country.
“All these are meant to serve no other purpose than egregious mischief aimed at demarketing Peter Obi. If the goal is to create a credibility problem, the ploy has failed woefully.
“Peter Obi has long been on record as the only presidential candidate who has urged the electorates not to vote for him on the basis of religion or ethnicity.
“We will therefore like to advise our beloved Nigerian people to remain focused on the task to take back the mandate we know was freely given to Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed through legitimate means.
“That is more important than to expect those who ran election on forged credentials and even fake Bishops to stop faking. They cannot stop being fraudulent because that is who they are”.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Labour and Spokesperson of Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, in a statement, said, “Having confirmed the authenticity of what is now known as the Peter Obi ‘Yes-daddy’ audio, I think the real culprit here are the so-called ‘men of God’ who allowed themselves to be used by an unscrupulous politician to inflame religious passions in our dear country in the name of politics.
“So, when they were telling their hapless adherents that they heard the voice of the Lord, it was actually Peter Obi’s telephone calls they heard and not God’s voice. This is deceitful, shameful and disgusting. Imagine a so-called ‘man of God’ comparing notes with a politician as to what he said or what he would say on the pulpit in order to get him votes.
“I hope this sufficiently embarrasses the ‘men of God’ in Nigeria to forthwith desist from using the pulpit for politics and the Church-goers to stop being teleguided by their self-serving ‘men of God’.
“As for Peter Obi who declared an election a ‘religious war’ in a multi-religious and multi-ethnic country like ours, the real God has just exposed him and his dream to be Nigeria’s President one day has just died a natural death. ‘Yes-daddy’ is now permanently etched in the consciousness of the nation and we will Never forget!”
However, one of the spokespersons of LP Presidential Campaign Council ,PCC, Kenneth Okonkwo, confirmed the authenticity of the leaked phone conversation.
Okonkwo, in a string of tweets on his Twitter handle on Sunday morning, faulted the new twist added to the conversation by political opponents of Obi, saying he was simply asking Oyedepo to help pass a message to voters.
He said the Labour Party presidential candidate was not in any way pushing religious agenda as being erroneously spread by some persons.
He said : “Our attention has been drawn to the publication of this audio tape of private conversation between Peter Obi and Bishop Oyedepo. It is not surprising that these political criminals are trying to spin the conversation as if Obi was making a religious statement.
“Firstly, the context of the conversation was aptly put by Bishop Oyedepo when he said, ‘All Nigerians have equal stake in this nation, nobody has the right to claim that he is dashing something to someone’.
“H. E. Peter Obi was simply urging the Bishop to help him push this message of equal stake of all Nigerians in the Nigerian project to his people and the christendom because the politicians of the other party is “carrying on this campaign as if it is a religious war”.
“To drive home this point, he informed him that he visited the traditional ruler of Offa, the Olofa of Offa, who is a Muslim, but who advised Obi to get the support of Oyedepo and be assured of his own support. No Politician has ever visited the Olofa of Offa. It is clear to everybody that the APC political party that has a Presidential Candidate, Vice-Presidential Candidate, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, National Chairman of the Party all from one religion at a time the CJN is a Muslim is the Party that has declared religious war on Nigerians and we must all rise up together to fight this unconstitutional act of religious intolerance of other religions by the APC.
“I went around with Obi on campaign train and never saw him discriminate against any religion. Of course he can’t because his Vice is a Muslim unlike the APC. I resigned from the APC because of their religious intolerance. Nigerians should disregard any insinuation of religious bigots about this tape.
Meanwhile, Oyedepo said on Sunday that he has never campaigned for any politician or spoken on their behalf to anybody during any election in Nigeria.
The cleric touched on this while speaking on the subject of faith at the Church’s headquarters at Faith Tabernacle, Ota, Ogun, less than 24 hours after media platforms (Frank Talk Now not included) claimed that the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, called the cleric on the eve of the 2023 presidential poll to help instruct Christians in South West Nigeria to vote for him.
Oyedepo, while not directly making reference to the alleged leaked phone conversation between him and Obi, said he never spoke to any group of people on behalf of any politician.
He added that all political parties sought his prayers and advice prior to the election and he availed them.
He said, “Nobody had ever told me what to say in this world. No!
“I have never campaigned for anybody or speak on anybody’s behalf and I will not do that till I go to heaven.
“There is no (political) party in this country that didn’t come to me for prayers and for advice.
“I advised them, some, they didn’t take. Those who chose to take it, they see results; those who said no, they are going about it (laughs).
“If you still come again, I will still tell you, it doesn’t change”.