Shun Reck­less Speeches, Obi Tells el-Ru­fai

THISDAY - - NEWSXTRA - Charles Ajunwa in La­gos and Ade­dayo Ak­in­wale in Abuja

For­mer Anam­bra State Gover­nor and Vice Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi, has asked Kaduna State Gover­nor Nasir el-Ru­fai to re­frain from mak­ing reck­less speeches.

Like­wise, the main op­po­si­tion party has also cau­tioned Kaduna State Gover­nor, Nasir El-Ru­fai, over his un­guarded com­ment, wherein he re­ferred to its Vice Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, Peter Obi, as a tribal bigot

Obi, who stated this while an­swer­ing ques­tions from jour­nal­ists dur­ing a youth pro­gramme at Nnewi, ex­pressed sur­prise at the state­ment cred­ited to elR­u­fai, who, in his twit­ter ac­count re­ferred to Obi as “a tribal bigot”

Like­wise, the Kaduna gover­nor had al­leged that Obi stopped him from mov­ing around Anam­bra State dur­ing the gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tion in the state in 2010.

He noted that he was shocked “to read such an out­burst of hate from el-Ru­fai, es­pe­cially when. 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.

“What His Ex­cel­lency, Gover­nor 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.”

He in­sisted that Nige­ria did not need vi­o­lence of speech “to solve her nu­mer­ous prob­lems at this dif­fi­cult time in the 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 and mil­lions of Nige­rian youths from all the parts of the coun­try are with­out jobs.”

Ac­cord­ing to him, 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 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 has no busi­ness be­ing in Anam­bra as I would not have any be­ing in Kaduna on an elec­tion day.”

Obi cau­tioned Nige­ri­ans, es­pe­cially those in po­si­tions of author­ity, to avoid the dom­i­nance of the vice of hate over the virtue of love in what­ever they do.

In a state­ment by the Na­tional Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary, Mr. Kola Olog­bondiyan yes­ter­day, the PDP has ad­vised el-Ru­fai to face the myr­iad of prob­lems he has caused in Kaduna state for which the peo­ple have re­solved to vote him out and stop his at­tempt to fur­ther foul the na­tion’s po­lit­i­cal space by mak­ing com­ments ca­pa­ble of stok­ing re­li­gious and eth­nic divi­sion in our coun­try.

The party said el-Ru­fai should not at­tempt to ex­port the kind of in­cit­ing and in­flam­ma­tory state­ments that have led to con­fla­gra­tion and blood­let­ting in his Kaduna state to our na­tional po­lit­i­cal fir­ma­ment.

The PDP said, “In­stead of fix­at­ing on our party and the soar­ing pop­u­lar­ity of our Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, we ex­pect el-Ru­fai to show re­morse that he was part of those who brought in the Buhari ad­min­is­tra­tion, which has in­flicted so much pain on Nige­ri­ans in the last three and half years.

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