By Damilola Olufemi
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has refuted the claims that he financed the burial of the father of a Nigerian journalist and television host, Rufai Oseni.
This is coming a few days after Reno Omokri, the Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan, alleged that Obi funded the funeral of Rufai’s father’s burial.
Omokri had shared this on his X account on August 25, with a picture of Obi and Rufai together.
He posted, “AriseTV and Mr Rufai Oseni should kindly answer the following question. Did Mr Peter Obi, the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, fund the funeral of Mr Rufai Oseni’s father by giving him money in cash or via electronic means, either directly or through a third party, in August 2022, and has that influenced Mr. Oseni’s open bias in favour of Peter Obi, whereby Mr. Oseni used the AriseTV platform as a medium to campaign for and launder the image of Mr Peter Obi, and his undisguised personal animosity towards me for my refusal to support Mr Peter Obi’s Presidential ambition? I counsel them to think very carefully before they answer.”
In his response on Monday via his X account, Obi disclosed that he never sponsored such, adding that it is “a categorical lie.”
“There is a recent case where my name has been mentioned in a malicious and cheap blackmail against one of Nigeria’s best Television presenters, Mr. Rufai Oseni, who has stood sternly for what is right and has challenged me fearlessly on some occasions while speaking truth to power. I have recently been mentioned to have bribed Mr. Rufai Oseni by financially sponsoring the burial of his father.
“Let me clearly state that this is a categorical lie. It is not true, cannot be true and will never be true. Everyone who understands or follows my approach to things will attest to the fact that I do not give anyone money to promote my name,” he posted.
He added that he never enticed any journalist to speak or write in his favour.
“I have never and will never monetarily induce any journalist to speak or write in my favour. When I am invited to birthday celebrations or funerals, people know that I do attend. Countless journalists, media personnel, the less privileged, the wealthy etc., have all invited me to their occasions, and they will attest to the fact that I honour such invitations, especially when people are grieving. I have never been to Rufai’s village. Even at the point of writing this, I do not know where he is from.
“One then wonders why people could decide to tarnish other people’s image for no justifiable reason. To those involved in such evil endeavours, I wish them well and pray that God will have mercy on them.”
He, however, called for the rescue of the country from the many challenges plaguing it.
“We should focus more on lifting people out of poverty. Millions of Nigerians do not know where their next meal will come from,” he said.