Peter Obi To Sue Peoples Gazette Over Leaked Audio With Bishop Oyedepo

Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate in the just concluded presidential election, has said he is taking legal action against Peoples Gazette along side other media.

Information Nigeria reports that the online newspaper had published a purported leaked audio conversation between Obi and Bishop David Oyedepo, founder of Living Faith Church, also known as Winners Chapel.

Obi could be heard via the audio pleading with the Bishop to help mobilise Christian votes in his favour.

In the latest development, the former Anambra governor declared his intention to sue Peoples Gazette in a series of tweets on Wednesday night.

The threat is however coming a day after the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) denied tracking and leaking telephone calls, saying it does not and cannot carry out such acts by law.

Obi, in his tweet, said, “The attempts to manipulate Nigerians are very sad and wicked. Our legal team have been instructed to take appropriate legal actions against Peoples Gazette and others”.

He also dismissed the defence of his spokesperson, Kenneth Okonkwo, who had earlier admitted that the audio might be true but had been maliciously tampered with by members of the APC for self-interest.

“Let me reiterate that the audio call being circulated is fake, and at no time throughout the campaign and now did I ever say, think, or even imply that the 2023 election is, or was, a religious war,” he said.

Obi further restated he is focused on reclaiming his “stolen mandate” from the APC through lawful means.

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He wrote, “While we call on all concerned Nigerians and the international community to implore the APC and the APC led-government to stop their nasty attacks, my focus and commitment to lawfully and peacefully retrieve our mandate to secure and unite our Nation, take Nigeria from consumption to production, pull millions of Nigerians out of multidimensional poverty, especially in the north, and jumpstart prosperity through agricultural, industrial, and technological revolution remain unchanged.

“Elections are over, and we are in court to retrieve our stolen mandate. Let me reiterate that we are doing so through all lawful and peaceful options in line with our legal system and constitution. I continue to implore all Nigerians to remain peaceful and law-abiding.”

Meanwhile, in a statement on Wednesday night, Peoples Gazette’s deputy managing editor, Boladale Adekoya responding swiftly said it was standing by its story and flayed Obi’s attempt to intimidate its newsroom.

“Peoples Gazette stands unflinchingly by the audio recording of Peter Obi and David Oyedepo as published on April 1, 2023,” Adekoya said.

According to him, the audio clip was sourced and properly authenticated in advance of running it.

“The audio and the context surrounding it were properly sourced and authenticated in line with journalism best practices,” the editor said.

He further stressed that media house was prepared to go to any length to protect the source of the clip, suggesting that Obi initiated the lawsuit with the aim that the organisation would be compelled to reveal the source of the telephone conversation leak at trial.

“Finally, we maintain in no uncertain terms that we will uphold the principle of source protection to any length,” Adekoya said.