Former Governor of Anambra State and Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 polls, Mr. Peter Obi, has expressed surprise at the claim of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, who recently in his Twitter account referred to Obi as “a tribal bigot”. El-Rufai alleged that Obi stopped him from moving around Anambra State during the gubernatorial election in the state in 2010.
Reacting on Saturday, Obi told journalists that sought his reply to El-Rufai’s tweet during a youth programme at Nnewi that 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’s words: “What His Excellency, Gov. Nasir Ahmad El Rufai, said about me was 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 divides 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 the parts of the country are without jobs, our pre-occupation, especially among those that are in government should not be making reckless speeches. What our leaders should be doing today is seeking solution to numerous problems of our dear country.”
Concerning the claim by El-Rufai that he was arrested on the election day in Anambra, Obi said: “I am aware that during the said election he referred to, security agents merely restricted his movement because he had no business being in Anambra as I would not have any business being 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.