A public policy think tank, The Neo Africana Centre (NAC) has berated the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed over the allegation he levelled against Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party.
NAC described the outburst by the minister against Obi as “baseless, malicious and in a bad state” in a statement titled, ‘Stop Blackmailing Peter Obi’ signed by its Director of Public Affairs, Jenkins Udu, on Wednesday.
Mohammed, while addressing some international media organisations and groups in Washington DC on the 2023 general elections, accused Obi of treason.
He told his audience that Obi was promoting insurrection in Nigeria by inciting people to violence over the outcome of the February 25 presidential elections.
According to the public policy think tank, Mohammed is on a mission of blackmail and deceit as there is no basis for the charge. NAC insists that Obi is known by one and all, including his accusers, as being innocent of the charge levelled against him.
The Centre said it was perplexed by this level of disinformation being sold to the international community by a highly-placed agent of the Federal Government.
The think tank said it was irresponsible for a minister of the federal republic to mount the rostrum in a foreign land for blackmail and disinformation.
It accused the federal government and the ruling All Progressives Congress of working hard on a nefarious agenda to give Obi a bad name.
The statement reads in part, “We note with grave concern the campaign of calumny being mounted against Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the February 25 elections.
“It is much more worrisome that the devious act is being sponsored and promoted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its ruling arm at the Presidency.
“The objective, from what we can discern is to give Peter Obi a bad name and weaken his quest to retrieve the mandate which the Nigerian people freely gave him. This indulgence by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed is sinister, cheap, malicious and in bad taste.
“Peter Obi, from what we know and can see, has never called out anybody to violence. Rather, he preaches peace and insists on the rule of law.
“That is why he has approached the courts over the outcome of the presidential elections. Contrary to what Lai Mohammed said, Obi is only focused on the matter he has filed in court, and nothing more.
“We are disappointed that the APC which claims to have won an election is fixated about one man-Mr Peter Obi. This Obi phobia by the ruling APC casts a shadow of illegitimacy on its claim to the presidency.
“Indeed, it is unconscionable that the federal government of President Muhammadu Buhari has dragged itself into this bitter partisanship. We expect an administration that is working towards handing over power in a few weeks’ time to stay focused on its transition programme rather than make itself a conspirator-in-Chief in the drive to discredit Peter Obi.
“It is regrettable that Alhaji Mohammed who has acquired notoriety for lies and fabrications has chosen to export these toxic instruments to the international community.
“We need to remind the mischief makers involved in this reprehensible act to know that it is Nigeria’s reputation, not that of Peter Obi, that is being damaged.
“Obi’s involvement in the 2023 presidential elections was a watershed in Nigeria’s electoral history. This fact is even very well known to the international media which Alhaji Mohammed is trying to mislead.
“We urge the Nigerian government, its agencies and the ruling APC to stop their jittery disposition towards Peter Obi.
“The contentious issues that arose from the conduct of the elections by INEC are already before the courts. Let their Lordships adjudicate on them fairly and justly. This is what Nigerians are waiting for. Dancing naked in the streets of Washington DC or any other foreign capital for that matter is unhelpful.”