Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has accused the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) of stoking religious sentiments to sway voters in the forthcoming elections. According to the governor, the PDP has bought some church leaders to preach against the All Progressives Congress (APC) and brand it a Muslim party.
The PDP has however dismissed the allegation as banal and petty.
While receiving a former local government chairmanship aspirant of the PDP, Chief Edegbe Ugbogbo, and about 2,000 of his supporters into the APC on Monday, Oshiomhole warned the PDP not to polarise the country along religious lines, saying it is dangerous for the polity as both Christians and Muslims have been victims of PDP’s alleged misrule in the past 16 years.
According to him, the PDP has made copies of a documentary which has been distributed to churches to the effect that the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammau Buhari, would Islamise the country if voted into power.
He said: “Some pastors, after collecting money, are now preaching that Buhari wants to convert the nation to Islam. When Buhari was Head of State with absolute power, did he convert Nigeria to Islam? Did he convert Dodan Barracks to Islam enclave? Were there not Christian Generals all over the place?
“The issue of this election is not about religion or tribe. It is about who has what it takes to repair our country. It is about who will give us light. If PDP couldn’t give us light in 16 years, shouldn’t we give it to someone else? Take a critical look at this election, when NEPA takes light, do they segregate between Christians and Muslims? When they bring fixed charges, do they differentiate between Christians and Muslims? Are both Christians and Muslims not suffering the inefficiency of PDP’s 16 years of misgovernance?”
However, the PDP described the allegation as banal, petty and inconsequential.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, advised Oshiomhole to focus on the various problems confronting Edo State and stop distracting the PDP.
According to Metuh, “Oshiomhole’s allegation is banal, petty and inconsequential. We cannot dignify him with a reply. We are focused on our campaign and he should stop distracting us.
“He should focus attention on the economic problems and others bedevilling his state and stop distracting us.
“We in PDP are very serious and focused people. So, let the governor stop distracting us.”
Oshiomhole said further: “They are saying APC is a Muslim Party. How can a party that parades Christians such as me, Chief John Oyegun, Prof Osinbanjo and many others be described as a Muslim Party? Now, let’s look at it, if Nigeria’s problem is about religion, since 1999 till now, Christians have ruled the nation for 14 years. How come, if it is really about religion, that despite ruling for 14 years, Nigeria that ought to be like heaven is still like hell?
“Nobody should use God’s name to deceive the people. The matter of governance is not about what you claim but about the state of your heart. In this state, from 1999 till now, all those that have governed Edo State are all Christians, yet those that governed from 1999 till 2007 did nothing. Are we not all Christians? But is it all of us that worked? They even stole from Church because when you do not pay salaries for three months, can the workers pay their tithes?
“In Edo State, Christians, Muslims and traditional worshippers live together in peace and harmony. Across Edo State you find people of different religions and nobody should bring religious war to Edo State.”
While appealing to the people to jealously guard their PVCs, Oshiomhole said: “In this local government we have always won and in this 2015, we will still win.
“PDP has destroyed Nigeria and we must vote them out. Now they are planning how to rig the elections but it won’t work. If anyone approaches you to sell your PVC, do not sell it. Don’t sell your voting right for one meal. When they approach you to exchange your PVC for money, refuse and let them know that your poverty cannot be negated for stupidity. This month of March, by the Grace of God we are marching to victory.”
Leader of the decampees, Ugbogbo, said he went to test the PDP but couldn’t cope and assured Oshiomhole that he would collaborate with the APC leadership to sustain development in the state as he was very impressed by the developmental strides of the state governor.
“I am here with my followers to formally return to the All Progressive Congress and come March 28th and April 11th, 2015, we will ensure that APC wins in all the wards of this local government.”