Since the February 25 presidential election, Nigerians have been waking up to one news story or another concerning some of the most popular candidates.
One of such candidates is Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP.
It is no longer news that some of the presidential candidates have been accused of embezzling public funds, trading in narcotics, and money laundering.
But Peter Obi, who is dubbed “Mr. Clean," is now facing myriads of controversies, especially from members of the opposition camps.
In 2021, a Pandora Paper investigation alleged that Obi operated foreign bank accounts and shell companies incorporated in tax havens to launder public funds and dodge taxes.
The Pandora Papers are a leak of about 12 million documents that revealed hidden wealth and tax avoidance by some of the world’s rich and powerful men.
Obi said it was exhilarating that nowhere in the article was he accused of any form of corruption, whether in the form of diversion of public funds or in any other manner, during and after his stewardship as the governor of Anambra State.
He explained that the allegation bordered more on tax avoidance and non-declaration of some jointly owned assets, and it did not allege that he had been engaged in unlawful business ventures at any time.
However, these past months, there have been high-profile allegations about Peter Obi, whose supporters tout the phrase “go and verify."
The Daily Post highlights some of the allegations, which some of his supporters have termed "propaganda of calumny" against Obi, who came third in the presidential election.
Peter Obi’s alleged arrest
Professor Chinyere Okunna, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Paul University Awka and a confidant of Peter Obi, last week narrated how Peter Obi was detained in London by UK immigration officials.
Okunna said Obi was detained over an alleged impersonation. He was stopped and questioned for a long time and handed a detention note, directing him to wait for further interrogation and investigation.
According to Okunna, Obi learned about the shocking development through a revelation by the immigration officer, who told him that his identity was duplicated.
She, however, did not highlight the necessary details of Mr. Obi’s subsequent release before returning to the country.
Adamu Garba, a former presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had, in reaction to the development, claimed that the APC-led federal government facilitated the release of Peter Obi from the detention cell in the UK.
Alongside a photoshopped image of a UK Immigration Officer, Peter Obi, and Abike Dabiri, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Diaspora Commission, Adamu asserted that Peter Obi’s travel documents were fake and he was rescued by Abike, a claim that was debunked.
Peter Obi and Bishop Oyedepo's audio
In the past week, a leaked audio between Peter Obi and Bishop David Oyedepo of Living Faith Church has raised concern about the former Anambra Governor playing politics of ethnicity and religion.
In the audio clip, Mr. Obi allegedly asked Bishop Oyedepo to help canvass for votes from Christians in the south-west and north-central parts of Nigeria.
Addressing him as “daddy”, the LP’s flagbearer described the just-concluded presidential election as a ‘religious war.
“Daddy, I need you to speak to your people in the South-West and Kwara, the Christians in the South-West and Kwara. "This is a religious war,” Peter Obi allegedly said.
The leaked audio sparked controversy, but Obi denied it, saying it was fake.
He also asked critics to provide evidence and added that his legal team would take appropriate legal action on the matter.
Lai Mohammed's treason accusation
Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, accused Peter Obi of committing treason because he failed to correct a statement attributed to his running mate, Datti Baba Ahmed.
Datti had opined that the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, did not deserve to be sworn in as Nigeria’s president because he wasn’t duly elected.
He insisted that Tinubu didn’t meet all the constitutional requirements for him to be declared the President-elect and that swearing him in would lead to an unconstitutional government.
Lai Mohammed reacted by saying that Datti’s statement was treason and that it was inviting insurrection by inciting people to violence over the outcome of the elections.
Obi debunked his accusation, saying it was totally malicious and fictitious.
He stressed that he had never discussed or encouraged anyone to undermine the Nigerian state and had never sponsored or preached any action against the Nigerian state.
Chimaroke Nnamani accuses Obi of bigotry.
Following his defeat at the Enugu East Senatorial election, former governor Chimaroke Nnamani accused Obi of playing wicked and dangerous politics.
He said Peter Obi had “set the Igbo political trajectory 24 years ago.”.
But the LP flag-bearer said he believes that Nnamani must have mistaken him for someone else because he ran an issue-based campaign.
Challenging Nnamani to prove he portrayed ethnic or religious bigotry,
Obi said it’s on record that he has been the only one who has insisted not to be voted for based on any ethnic or religious link but to be considered based on character, capacity, and compassion.
Speaking on the allegations, Dr. Tanko Yususa, the Labour Party Presidential Council spokesperson, accused the All Progressives Congress (APC, of sponsoring a campaign of calumny against Peter Obi.
Tanko stressed that the attack is making Peter Obi more popular worldwide.
”Obi is more popular because of how they are raising issues about him." Whatever they are doing to make us more popular, people are seeing that it is a campaign of calumny, a negative campaign that does not hold water.
”For example, they started attacking his political party, trying to remove the chairman from the party, trying to make sure there is a faction within the party, in an attempt to make sure that they weaken the structure, our candidate, and the case we have in court.
”The APC is responsible for this." The other people in charge of the faction have been seen in pictures with Governor Abiodun of Ogun State, which shows you that they are being sponsored. How did they get a SAN to represent them in a case? Do you know how much it costs to get a SAN?
”Everything they are trying to do is find a way of bringing down the popularity of Peter Obi, but the more they try, the more he gets popular,” he told the Daily Post.
Also speaking, veteran Nigerian singer and activist Charles Oputa, a.k.a. Charlyboy, told the Daily Post that the opposition APC will continue to fail in their bid to tarnish Peter Obi’s image.
Na, APC planted those people to take over the LP office. No matter the effort of the APC to discredit or soil his integrity, they cannot succeed. All this is propaganda and not the real truth.
”All these allegations about Obi have been debunked." We have people digging for the truth; even the Oyedepo audio was cloned. They used AI to do it. "People are aware that they used AI to manipulate the audio,” he stated.