In the aftermath of the February 25 presidential election in Nigeria, the candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, has come under fire from the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed. Mohammed, while speaking at a media briefing in Washington DC, accused Obi of treason, sparking a flurry of reactions from the public.
Obi has since come out to deny these allegations, stating that his campaign for the 2023 general election was not based on ethnicity or religion. In a statement he signed on Tuesday, Obi said that the accusations were part of a campaign of calumny against his person.
“It is most unfortunate that these consistent efforts to portray me quite contrary to what I am, and my core values, is coming from such high quarters,” Obi said. “Minister Lai accusing me of stoking insurrection is totally malicious and fictitious.”
Obi went on to say that he had never discussed or encouraged anyone to undermine the Nigerian state, nor had he ever sponsored or preached any action against the Nigerian state. He stated that those who were making these false allegations against him were using their official positions and agents to do so.
“I am on record as always, advocating for peace and issue-based campaign and never campaigned based on ethnicity or religion,” Peter Obi said. “I am committed to due process, and presently seeking redress in the court.”
The former governor of Anambra State also urged those who were engaged in this demarketing process to stop presenting Nigeria in such a bad light. He stated that Nigeria’s future generations deserved a new Nigeria, where they could live a secure and decent life like their counterparts in other climes.
“It is possible,” Obi added.
This exchange between Obi and Mohammed highlights the tense political climate in Nigeria, as the country prepares for the 2023 general election. The use of accusations and counter-accusations, especially those that border on treason, is a cause for concern and highlights the need for a peaceful, issue-based campaign. As the election draws nearer, it is important for candidates and their supporters to remain focused on the issues and refrain from using inflammatory language that can cause harm to the country’s democracy.