The phone conversation has generated mixed reactions with many Nigerians.
The Labour Party (LP) has confirmed the leaked phone conversation between its presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections, Peter Obi and the founder of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, Bishop David Oyedepo, in which Obi described the presidential election as a “religious war.”
In an audio phone conversation between Obi and Bishop Oyedepo which was had before the February 25 presidential election that was leaked by Peoples Gazette, Oyedepo began his prayer for the former governor of Anambra State by saying, “In Jesus’ name, we are going to get a bright tomorrow,” with Obi replying by saying, “When I hear these prayers, it is very dear to me and like I keep saying, if this thing works, you people will never regret the support.”
Continuing the conversation, Oyedepo said, “We look forward to God’s intervention,” to which Obi responded by saying, “Thank you, Daddy. I need you to speak to your people in the Southwest and Kwara. The Christians in the Southwest and Kwara.” Bishop Oyedepo said: “Okay.”
Obi continued by saying, “This is a religious war,” with Oyedepo responding immediately, “I believe you, I believe that. You know, I did a release, ‘Nigeria going forward’ and I’m coming out with the second one today.”
“You know what I said in the first one, a sickling nation like Nigeria requires a strong and healthy personality, and I said that anyone whose source of wealth cannot be verified should not have access to governance, particularly in an economy like Nigeria. I want to assure you that in the name of Jesus, the results shall be favourable,” Oyedepo said.
Oyedepo further promised to get Christians in Kwara State to vote for Obi while Obi confirmed to the cleric that he was worried over Kogi and Niger states but that he was working on it as he was meeting with Christian communities in those states. Obi also requested that Bishop Oyedepo should send the second statement to him personally.
The phone conversation has generated mixed reactions with many Nigerians including those from the opposition political parties condemning Obi for engaging in religious and ethnic politics and tagging the 2023 presidential election as a religious war.
However, the spokesperson for the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, Kenneth Okonkwo confirmed that the call is genuine but said it was a private conversation, which he claimed the opposition was trying to use against Obi.
Okonkwo said, “Our attention has been drawn to the publication of this audio tape of private conversation between @peterobigregory and Bishop Oyedepo. It is not surprising that these political criminals are trying to spin the conversation as if Obi was making a religious statement.
“Firstly, the context of the conversation was aptly put by Bishop Oyedepo when he said "All Nigerians have equal stake in this nation, nobody has the right to claim that he is dashing something to someone".
“His Excellency Peter 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 is carrying on this campaign as if it is a religious war.
“To drive home this point, he informed him that he visited the traditional ruler of Offa, the Olofa of Offa, who is a Muslim but who advised Obi to get the support of Oyedepo and be assured of his own support. No Politician has ever visited the Olofa of Offa
“It is clear to everybody that the APC political party that has a Presidential Candidate, Vice Presidential Candidate, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, National Chairman of the Party all from one religion at a time the CJN is a Muslim is the Party that has declared religious war on Nigerians and we must all rise up together to fight this unconstitutional act of religious intolerance of other religions by APC.
“I went around with Obi on the campaign train and never saw him discriminate against any religion. Of course he can't because his Vice is a Muslim unlike APC. I resigned from APC because of their religious intolerance. Nigerians should disregard any insinuation of religious bigots about this tape.”