Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, has alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party bribed some Christian religious leaders with N6bn to campaign against the All Progressives Congress and its presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
Amaechi said that the religious leaders had been circulating documents to convince Nigerians that the APC and Buhari would islamise Nigeria if voted into power on February 14.
He told a crowd at the state APC governorship rally in Emohua that the PDP ought to know that Nigerians were too enlightened for any political party or an individual to make the country a Muslim nation.
The governor, who is also the Director-General of Buhari Presidential Campaign Organisation, therefore advised the religious leaders, whom he accused of commercialising the Christian faith, to return the bribe money to the Federal Government.
He said, “Some pastors collected N6bn and they are circulating document and telling you not to vote for an Hausa man; not to vote for a Muslim; that they want to Islamise Nigeria. Tell them to return our N6bn.
“They gave them N6bn; they should return it to the Federal Government coffers. They will tell you that Buhari wants to Islamise Nigeria; tell them we are too educated.
“I am a Catholic, but no Catholic priest has told me that story right now in the Catholic Church because, I will ask him how. If any pastor tells you that, tell him to return the money.
“Nobody can Islamise Nigeria; they have commercialised Jesus Christ. They should stop commercialising the Christian faith. You know what Jesus Christ did in the temple? He chased them away.
“We shall chase away those pastors who have collected money from the PDP to tell us lies. We shall chase them away on behalf of Christ.”
The governor described the election in the state as a referendum between him and President Goodluck Jonathan, whom he challenged to show Rivers people what he had done for them.
“I told the President that the election in Rivers State is a referendum between him and myself. I told him anywhere I go, I will show what I have done. Let him show what he has done,” Amaechi stressed.
The national leadership of the PDP described the allegation by Amaechi as a “crime against God.”
“It is also a crime to the Church and Christianity. It is an insult on Christianity. To say that pastors are paid to support the President is height of recklessness. Such allegation is despicable and should be condemned. There was nothing like that from us as a party and there was nothing like that from our candidate,” its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, added.
Reacting, the state Assistant Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Samuel Nwanosike, challenged Amaechi, to name the pastors that collected the N6bn.
Nwanosike argued that the allegation was an indication that the governor had conceded defeat to Jonathan.
He said, “It shows clearly that Governor Amaechi has conceded defeat and that Dr. Jonathan has what it takes to continue as the President of this country.”
In his remark at the rally, the APC governorship candidate in the state, Dakuku Peterside, said that if voted into power on February 28, he would complete all projects embarked upon by the Amaechi government.
The candidate also promised to combat insecurity in the communities.