The former governor of Anambra State and the Vice Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi, has expressed surprise at the statement credited to Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, who, on his twitter account, referred to Obi as “a tribal bigot.”
El Rufai had alleged that Obi stopped him from moving around Anambra in 2010.
But Obi, responding, said he was shocked to read such an outburst of hate from El Rufai, especially when, according to him, “the statement came unprovoked, suggesting that it was what he sat down to think of rather than thinking about how to solve the many problems plaguing the country.”
Obi was speaking in response to questions posed to him on the matter by journalists during a youth programme at Nnewi yesterday. Obi’s words: “What His Excellency, Gov. Nasir Ahmad El Rufai, said about me has been brought to my attention. I believe that as we grow older and are saddled with more responsibilities, we are expected to become circumspect in our thinking and avoid recklessness in our speeches and utterances.
How does the circumstance he referred to relate to bigotry to warrant such a label? All I do for people like El Rufai is to pray for them and encourage them to concentrate on doing those things that will better the lots of Nigerians rather than engage in hate speeches that will divide and destroy the country.
Insisting that Nigeria does not need violence of speech to solve her numerous problems, Obi continued: “At this difficult time in our country, when thousands of our brothers and sisters across ethnic divide are killed all over the country, including innocent citizens in Kaduna state; millions of our children from all the parts of the country are out of school; millions of Nigerian youths from all parts of the country are without jobs; our pre-occupation, especially among those that are in government, should not be to make reckless speeches.
What our leaders should be doing today is seeking solution to numerous problems of our dear country.” Concerning the claim that he was arrested on election day in Anambra, Obi said : “I am aware that during the election he referred to, security agents merely restricted his movement because he had no business being in Anambra, as I would not have been in Kaduna on an election day.” Concluding, Obi cautioned Nigerians, especially those in positions of authority, to avoid the dominance of the vice of hate over the virtues of love in whatever they do.