2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
Eid-el-Fitr: Peter Obi Celebrates With Muslims In Anambra, Says Nigeria is One, Only Divided By Politics
Presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP) and former Anambra State governor, Mr Peter Obi, has stated that despite tribal and religious difference and diversity, there is a deeper unity that Nigerians share in the country. Obi regretted that politics was the only thing dividing the people.
The LP presidential candidate made the assertions on Sunday in Onitsha at a meeting with the Muslim community in Anambra State during the Eid-el-Fitri break. He said he had never discriminated against anyone on the basis of religion, and would never do so.
Obi’s statement came as the camp of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, raised concerns over alleged non-inclusion of the Igbo in the 13-man list recently submitted by the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, as members of his inauguration committee. A spokesperson of the PDP presidential campaign, Daniel Bwala, who commented on his Tweeter handle, wrote, “May I kindly ask, is there a single Igbo man in Tinubu’s 13 man Inauguration committee? Hmmm okay.”
Bwala added that Tinubu should have demonstrated the vision of a unifier in his first appointments, as such mattered a lot.
Obi spoke at the Central Mosque, Onitsha, Anambra State, where he visited Muslims in the city to felicitate with them on the celebration of Eid al-Fitr. He regretted that some politicians in the country, who wanted to sow seeds of discord, just to win election, played divisive politics.
He told the Muslim community, “I’m here today to celebrate with you on this year’s occasion. Nigeria is one country. I’m one Nigerian, who believes in Nigeria, and also that we are one, irrespective of tribe and religion. I have never discriminated against anyone on the basis of religion, and I will never do that.
“The only thing that brings division among us is politics. Once it’s time for election, some politicians engage in divisive campaign, but it should not be so. One of my businesses is run by a northerner from Kano, and the business is doing well.
“You all are my brothers, and I am your brother. Today is not for politics but for celebration. I came after election because if I came during politics, people would have said it is because I am running to be president.”
Obi, a Catholic, recounted his relationship with the Muslims in the state when he was governor.
He stated, “No one has supported the Muslim community in Anambra like myself. This mosque was demolished at some point, but when I became governor I rebuilt it the way it is today.
“We see you as part of us, and I want to assure you that no one can stop you from living here and carrying out your businesses.
“I live here in Onitsha, and if there is any need to contact me, always do so. If you need me in the area of healthcare and education, feel free to call on me, because those are areas I’m very passionate about.”
Earlier, Chief Imam of Onitsha Central Mosque, Alhaji Abdulraman Imam, praised Obi, saying he is the only governor in the state, who has visited members of the Muslim community at every celebration to felicitate with them.
Imam said, “This mosque was rebuilt by you when it was demolished years back. You visited us in Army barracks, when we had problem then. All the years you were governor, you always visited us during celebrations like this, so you are not new to us.
“For the eight years you were governor, you sponsored a lot of our members to Mecca. You did all these, even though you are a Christian. That is why we say we are with you, even as a Christian.”
Secretary of the Hausa community in Onitsha, Mahmud Imam, declared the community’s continued support for Obi and his presidential ambition. He said Obi’s capacity to lead was not in doubt.
The Hausa community spokesperson stated, “We know what you are capable of, you did it here while you were governor. We (Hausa community) are the highest registered voters in Odoakpu ward 4 here, and we voted for you, and we have no regret about that.
“We saw you during campaigns, visiting interior parts of the north, places that presidential candidates that are of northern extraction feared to go to. We are happy that you represented very well, and you vindicated us, through the messages we always sent back to our people that you were the best for the position.”
Bwala Queries Exclusion of Igbo from Tinubu’s Inauguration Committee
Meanwhile a spokesman of the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, raised apprehensions about alleged exclusion of the Igbo from the 13-man presidential inauguration committee list recently submitted by the president-elect, Bola Tinubu.
A member of the PDP presidential campaign, Daniel Bwala, who raised the concern on his Twitter handle, wrote, “May I kindly ask, is there a single Igbo man in Tinubu’s 13-man Inauguration committee? Hmmm okay.”
Bwala said Tinubu had relegated the Igbo and shown lack of unifying vision in his first appointments.
Tinubu had recently forwarded a 13-member list to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and chairman of the Presidential Transition Council, Mr Boss Mustapha. Although, the list was sent on the request of the council, to be integrated into the sub-committee of the inauguration committee of the council.
However, speaking to THISDAY to further shed light on his concerns, Bwala said the action of the president-elect raised serious concerns about the fate of the Igbo in the coming government.
Bwala alleged, “There is no name of a single Igbo man or woman in the 13-man committee. Ordinarily, the Igbo is expected to have at least two members, bearing in mind that we have six geopolitical zones. But here is a 13-man committee, without a single Igbo name.”
Bwala said he hoped that the neglect was not a carryover of the bitter election struggle between the Igbo and the Yoruba during the presidential and Lagos State elections that witnessed great social media attacks.
According to the PDP campaign spokesman, “Tinubu should have shown a sense of a unifier in his first appointments, as such issues matter a lot. This is his first problem and must show that he is a true Nigerian.”
He also referred to the appointment of members of Tinubu’s legal team, stating that the president-elect’s legal team was from one section of the country. The same, he said, was the case with the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
Bwala said it was only Atiku that appointed his legal team from the six geopolitical zones.
Insisting that the president-elect ought to have shown leadership with his first appointments, Bwala said Tinubu was constitutionally bound to appoint ministers from all the 36 states, but since the taste of the pudding is in the eating, “There is the likelihood that the next senate president might come from the South-south.”
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