Peter Obi, presidential candidate for Labour Party (LP) in the last general election has admitted having a private telephone conversation with founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide, David Oyedepo.
Obi, who disclosed this while speaking on Arise Television as a featured guest on Monday night, however, debunked describing the presidential poll as a ‘religious war’.
Recall that Tribune Online reported a leaked conversation allegedly between Peter Obi and Bishop Oyedepo, where the former was heard pleading with the cleric to help sway support and votes of Christians in southwestern states and Kogi.
In the leaked audio conversation which was said to have taken place before February 25 presidential election, Peter Obi was heard describing the poll as a ‘religious war that must be won’, and why the release of the audio gathered a series of backlashes and criticisms for the former Anambra state governor.
But speaking with Arise TV on Monday night, Obi, responding to a question on whether the phone call christened ‘Yes Daddy’ actually took place, admitted having a private conversation with the Bishop to beg him for support, stating however, that he never described the poll as ‘religious war’.
He said, “Call it whatever you want to call it. Whatever anyone wants to make of it. I am not a religious bigot. Do you think I can just pick a phone and say ‘religious war’? No, I was even begging the bishop to help me ask his people to vote, which was what I was doing for six months – begging. I wasn’t saying ‘catch him’, ‘kill him’, ‘force it’. I was even begging. That shows that I continued to look for votes by begging. There were so many things we tried to do but they were not okay.”
Speaking further, the LP standard-bearer stressed that he was never a religious bigot, adding that no non-muslim governor has ever sent more people to Mecca than he did as a governor.
“Let me tell you. Those who have been trying to manipulate Nigerians have been doing it. But it is coming to an end. The people they have been manipulating are dying of hunger. They will soon know who is the religious or tribal bigot. I am not one. I have just given you an example of how I built mosques. Till today, no non-Muslim governor has sent more people to Mecca than me.
“I can never say it (poll) is a religious war. Because it is not. There was a conversation. But I never said it was a religious war. What for? I am surrounded by people. If there was ever an instance where the presidential candidate and his deputy work as brothers, it is me and Datti. And I know and we never stop talking about it.
“For the first time in the history of Nigeria, we have a presidential candidate, running mate and party chairman who were born after Nigeria’s Independence. We must save this country and he (Datti) knows my commitment to it. I can’t do all these with the background of religious war,” he added.