The Labour Party governorship candidate in Enugu State, Barr. Chijioke Edeoga has condemned what he called intentional mendacious efforts to create an atmosphere of mistrust between himself and the Presidential candidate of the party, Mr Peter Obi.
This was contained in a statement he personally signed on Saturday, made available to DAILY POST.
Edeoga said his attention was drawn to a news item currently circulating around social media, which purported that he made certain statements about the person of Peter Obi.
“My first instinct upon receiving the reports was to ignore them, as I was sure the report, unfounded and untenable as it is, was a part of the desperate, yet vain efforts of agents of destabilisation that have been unleashed to attack and impugn the integrity of the Labour Party and its leaders across the country.
“These attacks have been relentless since the unfortunate outcome of the Presidential and Governorship elections of February 25, and March 18, 2023, where the will for positive change that a vast majority of Nigerians expressed through the ballots was nefariously subverted by those whose only mission was to arrest our collective national renaissance.
“Ever since the unfortunate outcome of the elections, both Peter Obi and I, in full agreement with our great Party, have gone to Court, expecting to get justice, not just for ourselves as candidates in the election, but for Nigerians who voted for us, and who see us as emblematic of the change they have longed to experience.
“We are aware that, having challenged the integrity of what they would want to regard as their victory at the polls, the people who have clearly murdered sleep by their mindless usurpation of the mandate of the people, have found preoccupation in manufacturing and spreading all manner of tasteless, asinine falsehoods against the opposition, all in futile efforts to appear good and legitimise their contrived victories,” he said.
The LP guber candidate stated that the present scenario was akin to “what is happening both at the national level of our Great party, where desperate attacks are being invented against the person of Peter Obi and the Labour Party on a daily basis, and in Enugu, where those who claim they were victorious at the polls are busy trying to create discontent between me and Peter Obi, rather than celebrating their pyrrhic electoral triumph.
“I must state at this point that this is the umpteenth effort these people are making at inventing a non-existent disagreement between myself and Peter Obi. They tried all they could during the campaigns, but we ignored them and, instead, focused on our strategy of engaging the people both at the state and national levels.”
Edeoga said: “With particular reference to the meeting the purveyors of infamy claimed I held in my residence, and where I purportedly said Obi fought against me during the elections, I wish to state categorically that such a meeting never took place.
“It is important to state that the Labour Party understands the mutual interdependence and interconnectedness of everyone involved at the various layers and levels in our movement, and never brooked mistrust of one against the other. We understood and believed that the success of one is the success of all and that was why our messages were never personal but issues-oriented, ensuring that a campaign message in our dear Enugu State for instance can resonate in favour of our candidates in other states.
“This was unlike what was obtainable in the opposition camp, where senatorial candidates were openly canvassing for the presidential candidates of rival political parties, and where sitting Governors refused to attend the rallies of the presidential candidate of their own party.
“The author of the dubiously disingenuous press release claimed that I made those statements while addressing members of a phantom ‘Coalition of Support Groups for Okaome.’ But the truth is that there is no such coalition in the universe of the Labour Party and Chijioke Edeoga campaign structure anywhere in Enugu State. Even the author of this piece of egregious propaganda should have known that I have never used my chieftaincy title of Okaome in my campaigns; it has always been my name, and I was very intentional about it.
“I doubt if it would make any sense, to respond to the various contrived subplots in the press release, because if the event where they claimed that the claimed I made the statement never took place, then tackling issues raised in the news item, one issue at a time, amounts to a total waste of time.”
He declared that he has a very strong relationship with Obi, adding that “I am aware that he also harbours profound love and respect for my person. He has made strong statements about his endorsement of my candidature through a number of verifiable channels, on television, on his Twitter accounts and at various rallies and events. We worked together all through the campaign, and it was a result of this strong working relationship that the Enugu people delivered over 80 per cent of votes to the Labour Party during the Presidential elections.
“Peter Obi and I are bonded, not just by our membership of the same political party, but more by our commitment to transparency, honesty and corruption-free lifestyles. We both ascribe to the notion that leadership has to be defined by character, competence, capacity and commitment to the ideals of people-oriented leadership.
“The values we represent, as patriots, are values that we hope will translate to moral reinvention, as well as social and economic transformation for Enugu State and Nigeria. We hold strongly to these values and, unlike the characters behind this unfortunate falsehood, do not believe in integrity by association. We do not believe in bumping into people whose character we covet and taking advantage of situations for photo opportunities.
“Character is not transferable by photography. If the betrayal of Jesus had happened in this era, Judas would possibly have been photographed giving our Lord that kiss of betrayal. And this is why I find it rather funny that the character behind this ridiculous fake news item was trying to make capital out of a chance meeting between Peter Mbah and Peter Obi at a burial ceremony in Anambra State.
“From the way the photograph was taken at this burial has been celebrated, one is tempted to conclude that some people actually attended that unfortunate death of a young adult, not because they felt any sense of empathetic grief and pain, but rather because they wanted to be photographed with Peter Obi. That a photographer was paid and positioned to achieve this is not just sickening, but speaks of the duplicitous emotional bankruptcy of the people behind this.
“We are resolute in our determination to recover, through the instrument and platform of the Nigerian judiciary, the mandate that the people of Enugu State freely and willingly gave to us. To this end, we have already filed our petition at the Enugu State Election Petitions Tribunal and we are optimistic about a fair and just outcome. In the same way, we are aware that our presidential candidate, His Excellency, Peter Obi, is also exploring every legal and just means to recover the mandate that we all believe Nigerians also freely gave him.
“These are our preoccupations for now. For those who believe that investing in diversionary pernicious and mendacious propaganda is their own means of legitimising their flawed emergence as leaders of the people, we can only wish them the kind of luck they deserve.”