2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
Did Obi Demolish Or Build A Mosque?
By Ike Abonyi
Politicians, over time and always, have taken the poetic licence to tell lies and make them sound like the gospel truth. If the lies come clean as opinions, no problem; everyone is entitled to their opinions, after all.
But the danger lies in jaundiced opinions laced with tissues of lies. Liars have little respect for the journalism dictum which says that opinion is free; facts are sacred [and con- nected with God]. If God were to punish all liars as all sinners deserve, maybe 99.9 per cent of politicians worldwide would be ruled out of the race for heaven.
It is common knowledge that this fabrication of opinions and other political concoctions by politicians is deliberate and aimed to outsmart and outmanoeuvre opponents. To them, the consequences of such lies. The injury done to the so-called opponents is immaterial so long as they achieve the desired ambition, most of which are inordnate and lead nowhere.
This week, Political Musings will be looking at such stark and brazen fabrications that have been made to look real against Peter Obi, the presidential can- didate of the Labour Party, in the February 25 polls. These lies have continued to fester like a sore after the election in a des- perate bid to tar his reputation.
Unfortunately, this “destroy him” mission is being anchored on ethnic and religious points that have remained very touchy issues in our polity. Today’s discourse is prompted by the recent revelations from Muslim communities in Anam- bra State regarding their relationship with Obi, a former gov- ernor of the state, Peter Obi, in and out of office.
The Anambra Zonal Chairman of Miyetti Alah, Alhaji Gidado Siddik, spoke when Obi paid the Sallah homage at the Awka Central Mosque as part of the Eid el Fitri festivities. Explaining why the former governor was invited, Alhaji Siddik noted that it was ‘to fraternise with him as they always did in the past, and to encourage him on the march to a New Nigeria, not minding the current politicking around him.
Alhaji Siddik said they had wanted to visit Mr Peter Obi at his house in Onitsha, but Obi offered to visit them at the mosque and celebrate Eid with them. Siddik recalled that Obi never failed to celebrate Sallah with them when he was the governor, a routine he continued after leaving office. He praised Obi for his visible contributions to the development of the Muslim community over the years.
Gidado stated that under Obi’s administration as Gover- nor, many of their children received scholarships and many of their members were sponsored to Mecca for the pilgrimage, and since Obi left office. “No governor has sponsored any of us to Mecca since Obi left office,” Gidado said.
“Some of our members applied for agricultural loans under Peter Obi’s administration, and they were approved, without knowing us in person. Such a thing has never happened. Obi treated us like indigenes and made us feel at home in Anambra. He did not segregate between Muslims and Christians nor between northerners and easterners.” In his remarks, the leader of the Awka Muslim Community, Alhaji Garba Sarki, noted that the many lies told by traducers to tarnish Obi’s image in the north are saddening.
He said he was willing to tell the whole world who Obi is, and how he has helped their community to grow in Anambra. He said that the Muslim community in Awka supported Obi’s bid for the presidency because they know and understand the kind of person he is and how prepared he is to change the trajectory of the nation.
Alhaji Siddik, “Obi has been a sincere friend of the Muslims in and out of office. He said that Obi as governor was the one who repaired their demolished Mosque and always sent them to Mecca for the hajj, a privilege they never received from any other governor ever since. This type of rare religious liberalism cannot come from a bigot, either ethnic or religious.
But the picture out there during and after the election is that Obi is an ethnic and religious bigot who hated Muslims so much that he demolished their mosque and made them wear identity cards. Calls from Obi and his supporters for those alleging the falsehood to show proof have gone unheeded.
The falsehood persists because Obi’s story is too sweet to be allowed to settle. His opponents have nothing to match him in terms of the sincerity of purpose and capacity to deliver as can be shown by his antecedents, hence the option of tarring him with the ugly brush. He has shown more love to Muslims than most Muslim leaders and allowing that into the political market in the north will be very injurious to their own aspirations, hence the continual blackmail.
Candidate Pete Obi’s running mate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed has had a herculean task trying to defend and market his prin- cipal in the north because of the speed of the lies against the Labour Party flagbearer. All the good things Obi said he would do in the North, including the eradi- cation of mass poverty prevalent in the region, turning the sizeable agrarian lands into Nigeria’s future oil wells, and making the North the base of his “consumption to production” scheme made no sense to those bent on denting his reputation.
Detractors chose to do it by telling lies shamelessly. Notwithstanding the speed of lies, whenever the truth arrives, it takes very little effort to overtake. That was what happened when, despite the lies, Obi still polled votes in Muslim-dominated areas making 25 per cent in Kano State, the populous, ac- claimed heartland of the Muslim North.
In a true confession on national television, Senator Ali Ndume, from Borno State in Nigeria’s North East, said he was shocked on February 25, 2023, when Peter Obi won the presidential ballot election in his area. But the reason Peter Obi received votes across the country can be explained. He has a message that nourishes the soul of a people battered by age-long deception and corruption.
His consumption-to-production mantra was like dogma from the Holy Book. His political homilies were irresistible, especially as he made the people realise their potential in the take-back Nigeria trajectory. Peter Obi disarmed his opponents when he insisted that voting for him must not be based on his tribe or his religion but on his antecedents, competence, character, and capacity, all of which are verifiable.
Above all, very refreshing is his promise of ethical leadership which has eluded Nigeria under the tight grip of corrupt and morally bankrupt leaders held the coun- try over the years. Notwithstanding that lies piled upon lies can even obscure the truth, and that the politicians will always try to encircle us with the high walls of lies, it’s our responsibility to ensure that we locate and meet the truth wherever it is, even beyond the walls.
If we cannot meet the truth wherever it is hidden, we may never meet freedom. What politicians who deliber- ately pile lies against Obi in the North are doing, knowingly is that they are hindering the free- dom of their people from poverty and they need to know that what they are doing offends God the creator of humanity. God help us.
Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.
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