Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), says the audio call featuring him and David Oyedepo, the founder of Winners Chapel, is fake.
Obi in a post on Wednesday on his official Twitter handle said “at no time did he ever say, think, or even imply that the 2023 election is, or was a religious war”.
The LP candidate said his legal team would take appropriate legal action on the matter.
“I continue to thank all Nigerians, especially the youths and the Obidients, as they have remained focused on the core mission of a New Nigeria that is POssible even after the February 25, 2023 presidential election,” Obi said.
“I repeatedly stated that no one should vote for me based on Tribe or Religion, but rather on the assessment of Character, Competence, Capacity, Credibility, and Compassion that can be trusted to create a New Nigeria!
“The present attempts by the APC as a Party, and the APC Led-government through some government officials and agencies to divert our attention from our blatantly stolen mandate is unfortunate and sad.
Audio Call Featuring Me And Oyedepo Is Fake, Says Obi
“These have come and continued to manifest in different ways, such as the malicious accusation of the Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, the circulation of a fake doctored audio call, and a pressure on me to leave the country.
“Let me reiterate that the audio call being circulated is fake, and at no time throughout the campaign and now did I ever say, think, or even imply that the 2023 election is, or was a religious war.
“The attempts to manipulate Nigerians is very sad and wicked. Our legal team have been instructed to take appropriate legal actions against Peoples Gazette and others.
“Elections are over, and we are in court to retrieve our stolen mandate. Let me reiterate that we are doing so through all lawful and peaceful options in line with our legal system and constitution, and I continue to implore all Nigerians to remain peaceful and law abiding.
Those fixated with heating up the polity, creating divisions, tensions and hatred within and outside Nigeria should remember that Nigeria is our only country. Our focus should be on how to address the litany of challenges facing us, such as: flawed electoral processes, the parlous state of our economy, unsustainable debt burden, lamentable unemployment and inflation, insecurity, and multi-dimensional poverty. A New Nigeria is indeed POssible, and God will help us.”
In the audio clip, a voice similar to that of Obi can be heard asking Oyedepo to speak to the Christians in the south-west and Kwara to vote for him in the presidential poll, describing the election as a “religious war”.
There have been conflicting statements regarding the authenticity of the tape from the LP.
The LP campaign council said the audio was a deep fake and accused the APC of trying to demarket Obi.
The council said it was a plot to create a credibility problem for its candidate and had no other purpose than mischief.
Valentine Obienyem, Obi’s media aide, also said the leaked audio of his principal’s conversation with Oyedepo was edited out of context.
Kenneth Okonkwo, a spokesperson of the LP campaign, however, said the clip was authentic.
Okonkwo said “political criminals are trying to spin the conversation as if the LP candidate was making a religious comment” instead of seeing that “Obi was simply urging the Bishop to help him push this message of equal stake of all Nigerians in the Nigerian project to his people and the Christendom because the politicians of the other party are carrying on this campaign as if it is a religious war”.
Before Obi’s reaction on Wednesday, Oyedepo said he has never and will not campaign for any political candidate.
The cleric neither confirmed nor denied that the conversation took place.