Peter Obi: Mission to Rescue Nigeria ‘Will Come to Fruition’

Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the just concluded general election, Mr. Peter Obi, yesterday, assured his supporters, especially the OBIdient Movement that the mission to recover his mandate would be fulfilled.

This, he vowed, would be done with “all lawful and peaceful means allowed under our laws and constitution to reclaim our mandate to create a New Nigeria.”

At the same time, a former Federal Commissioner for Information in the First Republic, Chief Edwin Clark, has accused the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, of heightening the already tense political situation in Nigeria with his recent trip to the United States.

The elder statesman, who is currently leading the Southern, Middle Belt Leaders Forum, said Mohammed, by his press conference abroad, was causing division in Nigeria instead of taking steps to preaching unity.

However, the former Anambra State governor, who wrote to members of the Obidient Movement and other supporters, stated this in series of Tweets yesterday..

Obi said he was aware of the, “vituperations, physical attacks, loss of rights and privileges, hateful trolls, indignities and vexatious fighting words, even from some of those we long regarded as civic leaders and conscience of our nation.”

He urged them to bear the attacks as sacrifices towards creating a new Nigeria, “where justice, equity, fairness, love and prosperity shall reign.”

The full tweets read: “My Obidients, a very happy Holy Month of Easter and Ramadan to you all. As we celebrate the Easter and look forward to a joyous Eid El Fitr, we pray for God Almighty’s guidance, protection and blessings as we face and pass through litany of challenges in our dear country, Nigeria – flawed electoral processes, insecurity, weak institutions, multidimensional poverty, unemployment, inflation, lack of justice, fairness, equity, opportunities and many more.

“As we reflect on these challenges and look forward to a New Nigeria that is POssible, Datti and I are painfully mindful that for the mere reason of being OBIdient, most of you have suffered vituperations, physical attacks, loss of rights and privileges, hateful trolls, indignities and vexatious fighting words, even from some of those we long regarded as civic leaders and conscience of our nation.

“Please bear such attacks as the sacrifices that we are all required to make in order to create a New Nigeria, where justice, equity, fairness, love and prosperity shall reign. While underpinning the supremacy of our Constitution and imperatives of the rule of law. Do not relent; and do not be lured into unnecessary conflicts. Be assured that in the fullness of time, our mission to rescue Nigeria from those engaged in State Capture will come to fruition.

“We are also using all lawful and peaceful means allowed under our laws and constitution to reclaim our mandate to create a New Nigeria that is POssible. Therefore, in all your actions and inactions, I continue to implore you to be law abiding, respectful and peaceful.

“In all you do, always remember those immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr, that “The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience, but how he stands at times of controversy and challenges.” A New Nigeria is Indeed POssible.

“God bless you all, and bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

But Clark, in a statement personally signed, accused the Information Minister of allegedly using the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), as an agent of his Ministry to suppress, gag and intimidate the press.

He condemned the recent trip of Mohammed abroad to address international journalists on the alleged call for an interim government, saying, “His (Mohammed) recent sojourn to the United States of America (USA), on the issue of Interim National Government (ING), to damage the reputation of Mr. Peter Obi’s rising profile, to me, is an effort in futility.

“This is because Lai Mohammed did not base his accusations on any report or information given by any state agency, but on mere propaganda targeted at destroying the reputation of an innocent citizen. If I may continue further, why will the Minister of Information take more than usual interest in not only scandalising and lying against Peter Obi, but using his privileged position to circulate same to the country and entire world.

“If we were to talk further about those who have held strong positions against the current political situation in the country; why has the Minister avoided to take note of the views of other persons such as our respected elder statesman and colleague, Chief Afe Babalola.

“By April, 2022, Nigeria was actually facing a crisis of all dimensions – economically, insecurity corruption, lack of direction – because there was no courageous, competent Nigerian leader, and the question was, where do we go from here? There were very few politicians in the corridors of power who believe that Buhari’s administration has performed exceedingly well.

“It was during this period of uncertainty that many Nigerians came out patriotically, felt they should speak out, even though they were not partisan politicians, and one of those is chief Afe Babalola, an honest and self-made Nigerian. It was during this period he made an honest and sincere contribution, and that it may be difficult to have a free, fair and credible elections.

“It was at this juncture of a failing Nigeria that he suggested that Nigeria should have an interim national government. I have known Chief Afe Babalola for a very long time, we were both in the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN). He was one of the leading counsel, and I still remember when I accompanied him as a NPN counsel to prosecute the case involving Alhaji Balarabe Musa.

“One of the proponent of the interim Government is Rev. Chris Okotie, and even on Easter Sunday, he spoke extensively about it. Bola Ahmed Tinubu also in one occasion said that cabals plan to disrupt 2023 elections, introduce interim government, stated in the People Gazette News of 4th February 2023.

“Even within government circles, this subject of interim government was discussed in the open by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, recently on 17th February 2023. We all know that at no time from the beginning of the current political season did His Excellency, Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, make any statement that in whatever manner constituted a breach or threat to the peace and security of this country.

“The question that Lai Mohammed needs to answer is to tell Nigerians on what platform, at what time and in what manner did Peter Obi make the supposed treasonable or seditious remarks?” he said, arguing that Mohammed’s conduct was even more damaging to the Muhammadu Buhari government.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has stated time and again, that he will handover to a president who will emerge victorious in a free, fair and credible election. It is more disturbing and surprising when one realises that Lai Mohammed is a lawyer and ought to be in a position to give proper professional advice to the Government which he serves on, what the situation of the law is. I, for one, who found myself as Federal Commissioner for Information a position which he holds today after nearly 50 years.

“My instincts and training as a lawyer were always brought to bear in the overall interest of the country and the direct duties which I perform. This is the least of standard which we expect him to uphold in the interest of our noble profession.

“I had on several occasions condemned this conduct of his attempting to suppress, gag and intimidate the press. He has used the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), as an agent of his Ministry. The NBC is no longer the independent organisation, which it used to be, treating the press as a noble profession, made up of noble practitioners.

“A case in point is the five million naira fine slammed on the Channels Television without even the rudiments of natural justice, in this case fair hearing, which is a basic procedure of justice to ensure fairness. Rather, slamming media houses with fines without hearing from the media houses, is the trial that has now become a constant weapon of intimidation and harassment of the press,” he concluded.

 

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