Vice-Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi, has reacted to fake news being circulated on some social media platforms accusing him of advocating the throwing of eggs and sachet (‘pure’) water at poor-performing leaders.
Speaking Saturday with Aviation Correspondents who sought his clarification at the local wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Obi said: “It is rather unfortunate and demeaning that some mischief-makers decided to distort my comments as the Special Guest at the installation of the new President of Onitsha Chambers of Commerce, Mines and Agriculture last Thursday.
“I honoured the invitation as a trader who values whatever businessmen or organisations do for the good of the society. I recall that in his Keynote Address, Chief Osita Chidoka spoke about things not going well in the country; specifically lamenting the deteriorating state of Onitsha town and unedifying issues surrounding Anambra Airport.
“The irony of his speech was that he even pointed out what I ought to have done when I was Governor which I did not do. To my mind, he spoke well in his belief that what the people owe their past and present leaders is to tell them the truth for them to perform better in the overall interest of the country.”
Obi, who said he did not want to talk at the event, revealed how the organisers and Chairman of the event, Chief Godwin Okeke (GUO), persuaded him to address the gathering; insisting that those in attendance wanted to hear him speak.
In Obi’s words, “Eventually I spoke. I cautioned Nigerians on the misuse of ‘His Excellency’, in line with my position even before I became Governor and thereafter. I said it was about time Nigerians stopped addressing leaders who were not excellent in their manners and morals as ‘Your Excellency’.
“What we witness in Nigeria is that once one is in a position of authority, the people will start hailing him to high heavens even when he has become a demoralising example of vice. After citing example with what other countries are doing to force their leaders to serve the people as expected, I said that Nigerians should also start pelting pure water at bad leaders.
“Much as I cannot deny my statement, may it be noted that I used that term as a metaphor for Nigerians to start resisting bad leadership strongly. My prescription is clearly a Nigerian panacea for a Nigerian problem and not the panacea for any state or sectional problem. If anybody feels personally injured, I apologise, while insisting it is wrong to personalise my statement.”
Obi justified his position that the citizenry should hold their leaders accountable with a reference to former US President Barak Obama: “Just this Friday, I watched former President Barak Obama speak at the burial of Hon. Elijah Cummings. He said there were so many people that answer ‘Honourable’ undeservedly, because they did not act honourably; and that Hon. Cummings deserved it because he was honourable in his ways. He further said that what makes good leaders is the ability to speak out when things are wrong.”