Mr. Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate in the general elections scheduled for February 25, claimed that politicians nurture the seeds of civil unrest among Nigerians through the use of politics.
When Obi visited the Muslim community in Onitsha, Anambra State, on Sunday to observe the Sallah holiday, he said as much.
He noted that Nigerians are one but that once politics come on stream some desperate politicians who want to reap from where they did not sow always bring segregation by wanting to divide the citizens along tribal and religious lines.
The former Anambra State governor donated bags of rice, cartons of noodles and packs of soft drinks to the Muslim community and prayed Allah to accept their fast and sacrifices and grant them good life.
He said, “I am here today to celebrate with you on this year’s occasion. Nigeria is one country. I am one Nigerian who believes in Nigeria, and also that we are one, irrespective of tribe and religion. I have never discriminated against anyone on the basis of religion, and I will never do that.
“The only thing that brings division among us is politics. Once it is time for election, some politicians engage in divisive campaigns, but it should not be so. One of my businesses is run by a northerner from Kano, and the business is doing well.
“You all are my brothers, and I am your brother. Today is not for politics but for celebration.
“I came after election because if I came during politics, people would have said it is because I am running to be President.
“No one has supported the Muslim community in Anambra like myself. This mosque was demolished at some point, but when I became governor I rebuilt it the way it is today. We see you as part of us, and I want to assure you that no one can stop you from living here and carrying out your businesses.
“I live here in Onitsha, and if there is any need to contact me, always do so. If you need me in the area of health care and education, feel free to call on me, because those are areas I’m very passionate about.”
Earlier, the Chief Imam of Onitsha Central Mosque, Alhaji Abdulraman Imam, commended Obi, saying he remained the only governor in the state, who visited members of the Muslim community at every celebration to felicitate them.
“This mosque was rebuilt by you when it was demolished years back. You visited us in the Army barracks when we had problem then. All the years you were governor, you always visited us during celebrations like this, so you are not new to us.
“For the eight years you were governor, you sponsored a lot of our members to Mecca. You did all these, even though you are a Christian. That is why we say we are with you, even as a Christian.”
Also, the secretary and spokesperson for the Hausa community in Onitsha, Mr Mahmud Imam, said the Hausa community had decided to support Obi, and would continue to pray that he triumphs and leads Nigeria, because his capacity to lead was not in doubt.
Imam said, “We know what you are capable of, you did it here while you were governor.
“We (Hausa community) are the highest registered voters in Odoakpu Ward Four here, and we voted for you, and we have no regrets about that.
“We saw you during campaigns, visiting interior parts of the North, places that presidential candidates that are of northern extraction feared to go to.
“We are happy that you represented very well, and you vindicated us, through the messages we always sent back to our people that you were the best for the position.”