‘Obaseki will not Islamise Edo state’

The President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Reverend Felix Omobude, has described as mischievous the allegation being peddled by supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state that the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Godwin Obaseki has plans to Islamise the state.

The PFN President who commended Obaseki on what he described as his peaceful style of campaign, declared that nobody has the powers to Islamise the nation, admonishing political actors to base their campaigns on issues, as God alone will decide who becomes the next governor of the state.

Following the total support being given to the APC in the state by Hausas resident in the state, the PDP had through their supporters alleged plans by Obaseki to Islamise the state if elected governor.

But Rev Omobude who dismissed that insinuation when Obaseki paid a courtesy visit to his office in Benin City, said the allegations being peddled against the APC candidate was not an issue as the constitution has stipulated that no one can impose a religion on another.

“The issue of anybody imposing religion on the other, in Edo state is not an issue. Predominantly, this state is more of Christian so we are not afraid. I think it beloves on all political office holders wherever in the country to be fair to all and not to be seen as pushing one against the other. I have watched your campaign and I appreciate your objectivity. One can only pray that this election continues to be peaceful and that the one that God has choosen will take its place and power comes from God.

“We will continue to uphold you in our prayers, I know that in the constitution the provisions are there, and I also know that the operators sometimes complicate these issues given what I know about you and what I can see, I believe that everyone will find peace and the atmosphere to practice his or her faith and I pray that God will guide you. Continue on the way you have been conducting your campaign,” he advised.

Responding, Obaseki regreted that the PDP had decided to embark on lies and propaganda rather than telling the people of the state what they intend to do. “ I believe that politics should be focused on addressing issues as it affects us every day, it shouldn’t be about personalities, what is important in politics is what the candidate or the party carries or can offer and supporting that with some antecedents and some demonstrable achievements or performance from the party.

“That is why my own campaign has been focused on issues and not on personalities or throwing insults or abuses. I noticed that there has been a bit of misinformation; they say it is part of politics but that is what we have to clean up. The first issue has to do with religion. Our constitution is clear on religious freedom and it gives us the right and freedom to practice what we believe in. Nobody has the right; the constitution doesn’t allow you to impose your own belief or religion on any other person particularly the state. So when people come and talk about someone with an agenda to impose a certain type of religion on people, it is to misinform people and create crisis and confusion.

“One other unfortunate issue that has been peddled is about the state imposing taxes on religious activities. That again is wrong, the status is clear, churches, mosques, religious bodies are not supposed to pay tax and they don’t. This is false and wrong. I would rather focus on what I will do for the people while I am running for the office of the governor,” he said.