Peter Obi fires back at Umahi for accusing him of incitement against FG

David Umahi and Perter Obi
Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 presidential election has fired back at David Umahi, the Minister of Works over the allegations of incitement leveled against him.

While speaking in Lagos on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, during a stakeholders’ meeting on the controversial Lagos-Calabar road project, Umahi accused Obi of inciting the people of the south-east against the Federal Government.

Obi had earlier criticized the project describing it as a misplaced priority. The ex-governor of Anambra State also condemned the demolition of properties for the project, saying it is ‘insensitive’.

Ongoing construction of the Lagos- Calabar Coastal Road at the Landmark end in Lagos.

Responding to this during his meeting with stakeholders in Lagos, Umahi slammed Obi for his comments about the project.

He said when Obi was governor of Anambra State, he supported the demolition of buildings for road projects.

“When you condemn people you bring judgment upon yourself and that is what he has done,” Umahi said.

The minister further accused Obi of inciting uninformed Nigerians from the southeast region against the Federal Government.

He said, “I think he is inciting some of the south-east people that are not well informed.”

However, in a series of tweets on Thursday, May 2, 2024, Obi replied Umahi, describing his claims against him as ‘baseless distractions.’

In his tweets, Obi said Umahi’s allegations were aimed at destroying his character.

The former governor of Anambra State said he refused to partake in divisive politics, adding that his political aspiration is not based on any ethnic interest.

He said, “Regarding allegations of incitement against the government, I firmly reject these unfounded accusations aimed at tarnishing my character.

“My focus is on fostering constructive dialogue and inclusivity, rather than engaging in divisive politics. Claims of incitement are baseless distractions. I have always advocated for unity and advancement, refusing to partake in reactionary divisive politics.

“I refuse to be reduced to the level of those who wallow in ethnic politics. Worse still, I have never and can never descend so low as to base my political aspirations on any sectional or ethnic interest.”

Obi said when he served as governor of Anambra State, he only demolished structures “obstructing existing roads and lacking approval.”

Citing an example, he said he demolished the Onitsha North local government headquarters because it was situated on the only existing stadium in the area.

He said after the demolition of the structure, he built another structure for the local government office away from the stadium.

“My actions were strategic, aiming to prioritize the repair and maintenance of existing infrastructure over projects that risked disruption and destruction. This approach aimed to safeguard the livelihoods of Nigerians and ensure the efficient use of resources,” he said.

Drawing a comparison between his action and the demolition of Landmark beach and other properties on the right of way of the Lagos-Calabar coastal road project, Obi said he only removed obstructions on existing roads to enhance accessibility and safety for all, saying the road project in Lagos sharply contrasts with his administration’s efforts.

Obi said, “I focused on removing obstructions on existing roads to enhance accessibility and safety for all. The ongoing destruction and disruption of jobs and livelihoods associated with the Lagos-Calabar coastal road construction sharply contrasts with my administration’s efforts to improve infrastructure while minimizing adverse impacts on communities.”

He said he’ll continue to advocate for the rights and well-being of all Nigerians to ensure that development initiatives prioritise the needs of the people.