US-based Nigerian scholar, Professor Farooq Kperogi, on Saturday said Muslim Northern politicians “have uttered similar or worse sentiments than Peter Obi’s infamous “religious war” comments in the course of their campaigns.
Bellnewsonline.com reports that Kperogi who said this in his weekly column, also stated that not many people ‘will come out smelling good if their private communications are made public’.
The Professor was reacting to a leaked telephone conversation (now dubbed “Yes Daddy”) between Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 election, and Bishop David Oyedepo of the Winners’ Chapel.
In the audio clip, Obi was heard asking Oyedepo to help spread his campaign message to Christians in the South-west and parts of North-central
While repeatedly addressing the cleric as “daddy”, the Labour Party canddiate told Oyedepo that the just-concluded presidential election was a “religious war.”
Kperogi wrote: “I think Southern Nigerian Christian politicians suffer a linguistic disadvantage that their Hausaphone northern Muslim counterparts don’t when it comes to the exploitation of religion for politics. They discuss their strategies of religious mobilization in English, Nigeria’s national language that most people have access to, but Hausaphone northern politicians discuss theirs in the Hausa language, which isn’t accessible to most people in the South.
“Muslim Northern politicians have uttered similar or worse sentiments than Obi’s during political campaigns, but their verbal indiscretions often don’t leak out because of linguistic barriers. On the few occasions that they do (such as when Buhari exhorted Muslims to vote for only Muslim politicians who’re sympathetic to Sharia or when he said the dog and the baboon would be soaked in blood if the 2015 election was rigged), northern defenders muddy the waters by accusing southerners of mistranslation, of literalness, of incompetence in understanding interlingual equivalence between Hausa and English, etc.
“And, frankly, how many people will come out smelling good if their private communications are made public? We all have what scholars call a duality of scripts. We sometimes say different things for public and private spaces.”