Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s (LP) presidential candidate, has criticised Nasir El-Rufai for associating him with his incarceration in Anambra State in the past.
At an interactive session held by the Arewa Joint Committee on Monday in Kaduna, Mr. El-Rufai asserted that he had been arrested in Anambra for 48 hours nine years earlier on the orders of Mr. Obi, the state’s then governor.
“I visited Anambra State in 2013 in my capacity as an APC official to observe the governorship bye-election. The governor of Kaduna, Peter Obi, got me imprisoned for 48 hours in my hotel room, the governor of Kaduna stated.
Currently serving as governor, Mr. El-Rufai claimed he possessed all the security authority necessary to deal with the LP candidate, but due to his northern heritage, he chose not to.
Among the luminaries that spoke at the event was Mr. Obi.
The former governor of Anambra defended himself by calling the governor’s remark careless and inappropriate in a public setting.
“I have been made aware of what His Excellency, Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai said about me. I suppose we’re expected to be more cautious in our thoughts as we become older and have more responsibilities, and to refrain from speaking or acting recklessly.
How does the situation he mentioned relate to bigotry to justify that label?
He retaliated, saying, “All I do for people like El-Rufai is to pray for them and exhort them to focus on doing those things that will improve the lots of Nigerians rather than engaging in hate statements that will split and destroy the country.
Mr. Obi claimed that at the time, he was unable to direct State Security Service (SSS) personnel in Abuja to detain Mr. El-Rufai.
“The AIG was from Nasarawa, while the police commissioner was from Adamawa State at the time. The GMD who oversaw election planning was from Kano. I could never have accomplished that.
“My chairman, I never requested that you be detained. Where will I give the order and tell a man who lives in my house every day that I want to deal with his people, and he will say yes? I am the governor of Anambra State, and I have the first APC best policeman in Nigeria, and he is from Kano.
When the PDP was in power during the elections in 2010 and 2013, Mr. Obi remarked, “I was in APGA. How can I order the PDP in Abuja to imprison anyone when even I, the state governor, was detained in my own local government.”