Obi Visits Awka Muslims

…Explains Why He Refused to Go on Vacation after Elections

By Ikeugonna Eleke

The presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP) and former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, on Monday, visited members of the Muslim community in Awka, the state capital.

During the visit which was meant to felicitate the people on the celebration of Eid al-Fitri, Obi said his visit to them had nothing to do with politics and that visits should not only be because one was seeking political office.

Obi who was asked why he had not taken a rest since after the election, said people who wanted to rest could go and rest, but that for him, he would not rest.

‘No serious leader will go and rest in Nigeria with the way things are today. We will continue to visit as many people as we can, and also support them in the best way we can,’ Obi said.

The candidate donated cartons of noodles, bags of rice and soft drinks to the community during the visit, while also promising to help them in the rebuilding of the mosque which was undergoing a facelift.

He said, ‘I thank you for inviting me to the mosque to celebrate with you. You wanted to come to my house instead, but I said it would be better for me to come and now that I have come, I have also seen that the mosque is undergoing reconstruction.

‘I want to pledge here and now that I shall contribute to the work you have at hand, to ensure that you have a befitting place of worship.

‘I am a Christian and you are Muslims, but we are all Nigerians, and Nigeria is one. It is only politics that divides us. But let me tell you, I have never seen any road that is built and it is only for Muslims to drive on. I have also not seen any market where Christians buy bread cheaper than Muslims. If you know such a market, please tell me, let me go and buy.

‘If you go to Dubai, the land on which one of the biggest churches is built was donated by the ruler of Dubai. In England too, a mosque was donated by the queen, who is the head of the Church of England.

‘We are one and we are created by the same God. Only religion is dividing us, but we should not let religion or politics to divide us. Nigeria will continue to be one, irrespective of politics,’ Obi said.

He recalled that he told people that he would start fighting poverty from the north and people said that North was not poorer than south, and that he was from south.

‘So I can start here. But the  truth is that I know that vast land which we would use to solve the problem of poverty is in the north,’ he said.

Earlier, the leader of the Muslim Community in Awka, Alhaji Musa Bello, said Obi was the only person that had consistently visited them.

‘I was among the Muslims you sponsored to Saudi Arabia during your tenure. You did not know me before you did it. You are a lover of all men, and you have been very beneficial to mankind,’ Bello said.

Another member of the community, Abdullahi Garba Haruna, also testified that he had his primary and secondary education in Awka during the period Obi was governor and they were all under scholarship.

‘Testimonies of your scholarship to us is high among the Hausa Community members in Awka.

‘We know your capacity; that is why when you were contesting for president, it did not matter to us that you were a Christian. We worked hard to sell your candidature to our people in the north,’ Haruna said.