Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi has explained that not all those in the Obidient movement are members of the Labour Party.
He made the clarifications in an interview with Arise Television monitored by Church Times on Monday, March, 13.
Obi was responding to questions on the governorship candidates in Enugu State and why the party is divided on who to support.
He said, “On the issue of Enugu, let me say that those in the Obidient movement are not necessarily Labour members. The division on the Enugu case came up because Aisha Yesufu who is a member of the Obidient Movement supports Frank Iweke of the All Progressive Grand Alliance. The truth is, there are so many people in the Obidient movement who are not members of the Labour Party. There are people supporting me who have nothing to do with Labour Party. People like Atedo Peterside and many others. And I can’t blame them for their stance. They have a right to choose who they support based on their choice.
“But as a member of the party, I will have to support the candidate the party throws up. The party has chosen Chidioke Edoka as their candidate. That I stand with. But members of the Obidient family have their own choice. I can’t question them. Aisha Yesufu for instance supports Frank Iweke the APGA candidate. They have a right to their choice.”
Tribe, religion in the East
Obi debunked insinuations that people voted for him because he is from the South East insisting that the votes he got across the states were from people who were desirous of change.
He said, “In 1999, former President Olusegun Obasanjo got more than 90 per cent of the votes in the South East, despite the fact that our own revered leader, Odumegwu Ojukwu was contesting. Nobody quarrelled with it.
“We have Yoruba people who live in the East. Two prominent people I deal with in my area in Onitsha are from the southwest. In 2011 the East voted massively for former President Goodluck Jonathan. He got more votes than he got in the south-south. The late MKO Abiola got more votes from the east even when the Presidential Candidate of the National Republican Party, Bashir Tofa had a respected Igbo man as a vice presidential candidate.”
According to the Labour Party candidate, many prominent individuals from the East lost a lot in the fight against the annulment of June 12 by getting involved with the National Democratic Coalition NADECO.
While noting that no other presidential candidate got 25 per cent in Abuja in the last election, he wondered if those who voted for him there were all Igbos.
He lamented that some Nigerians are working hard to divide the country along ethnic lines
“It is this structure of division that we are trying to remove. When people are no longer able to contest on the basis of character and competence they result in ethnic and religious sentiments. I have never campaigned based on religion or ethnicity. I have not told anybody in the church to vote for me because I am from the East or a Christian”
Read: Dont vote for me because I am Igbo-Peter Obi: https://churchtimesnigeria.net/vote-peter-obi-nigerians/
The Rule of Law
He decried the state of impunity in the country noting that the reason why people find it convenient to live in advanced countries is that those countries are governed by the rule of law.
Obi said, “Today what the world expected of us in 2023 is to have a free fair and credible election where the government will come and govern by the rule of law. I urge INEC to help the country to revamp its image. The image of the country is being put into question.”
He urged elected members of the Labour Party to remain resolute and committed to a new Nigeria “We must support what is right. It is not time for the elected Labour Party members to be part of the confusion of making transactions. We need to build a democratic institution that will teach people what their job is about. We are talking with different organisations to help in building our people on what governance is all about” Obi said.
On why he accepted the result of the National Assembly and turned down that of the Presidential election, he said, What we are challenging is the process that produced the presidential candidate. INEC was able to upload results through the BVAS for the House of Assembly but it could not do so for the presidential election. By that, they have accepted a process. In the other two, they followed that process but in the presidential, they gave an excuse which should not be there.”
Between Labour and PDP
He clarified the relationship of the Labour Party with the Peoples Democratic Party
Obi explains, “There is no partnership between Labour Party and the PDP. Both of us are challenging a process that is wrong. We are all participants in the election. We are victims of the process. It is the court that will say who actually received the highest number of rightful votes cast in the election and who has the spread. What we are claiming now is because of the confusion that was deliberately created in iNEC.”
He also emphasised that there is no pact between him and Atiku Abubakar stressing however that he will always respect him.
“My respect for Atiku Abubakar will remain as long as I live. But on the issue of Nigeria, we are two different candidates. I am committed to a new Nigeria and committed to doing things differently. But my commitment does not in any way affect my respect for him.”
Lagos governorship election
On the governorship election in Lagos, he stated that the Labour Candidate in Lagos remains the best candidate. “He is a thorough Lagosian. I support him 100 per cent. His age and educational background are not in question. I support him 100 per cent. So I do support Labour candidates in others states. We don’t have candidates everywhere. Wherever we have candidates, i support them. Labour Party as an institution is bigger than me. I must respect the institution. I am not bigger than the Labour Party. We support GRV and I can tell you he is a fantastic candidate.
When reminded that the Lagos Labour Party candidate is not experienced for the seat he is running for, he said, “Many people are claiming experience in failure. If you have been doing a job for 30 years and you fail then you should cover your eyes in shame. You can only claim entitlement when there is progress.
“I never had any experience in government when I started campaigning to be governor. I was 39 when I started campaigning. I was 42 when I became governor. The experience they are talking about is the experience of corruption. As far as I am concerned his (GRV) exposure will speak for him. He will listen to the people and do what they want.”
Asked to comment on Soludo’s diatribe against him before the election, he said, “He is my elder brother. He is my governor. I always remember him in prayers that he governs the state very well because, at the end of the day, I will live in Onista. I will not make any comment about what he said about me. As I said, he is a professor, I am a trader. You can’t expect a trader to think like a professor. We are friends. I am not against age.
On his alleged link with Association with Better Nigeria led by Chief Arthur Nzeribe in the post-June 12 1993 era, he said, “People can say anything, As of 1993, I was living in England. I had nothing to do with politics. My business was between here and UK. My son was born in 1993 December. People do all sorts of things, I never even voted at that time. I was a businessman supporting Nigeria in different areas. I supported Chief MKO Abiola when he contested. I did this in my capacity.”