By Abimbola Ogunnaike
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, was detained by the United Kingdom’s immigration authorities during the Easter break over offences believed to have been committed by an imposter, the party’s Presidential Campaign Council said on Wednesday, 12 April 2023.
The LP PCC, in a statement by the Head of the Obi-Datti media team, Diran Onifade, said Obi was detained for questioning on Good Friday, April 7, 2023, when he arrived at Heathrow Airport in London from Nigeria.
The statement added that he was later let go after Nigerians, who witnessed the incident, raised an uproar.
The statement read in part, “The LP Presidential candidate in the February 25 Presidential poll arrived the Heathrow Airport in London from Nigeria on Good Friday, April 7, 2023, and joined the queue for the necessary Airport protocols when he was accosted by immigration officials who handed him a detention note and told him to step aside. He was questioned for a long time and it was very strange for a man who lived for over a decade in that country.
“Since Obi’s face was already an international frame, especially for Nigerians, Africans home, and in the Diaspora who are likely to be Obidients, the people quickly raised their voices wondering why he was being delayed.
“The immigration officials who were also taken aback at the reaction of the people were forced to reveal that Obi was being questioned for a duplication offense, meaning that someone has been impersonating him in London.
“The high implication of the offense is that the impersonator could be committing all kinds of weighty crimes and other dubious acts and it would be recorded in Obi’s name.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)declared Obi third in the February 25 presidential election after polling 6,101,533 votes, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party came second with 6,984,520 votes and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress was declared winner of the poll with 8,794,726 votes.
He also scored over 25 per cent of the votes cast in 30 states, more than the 24 states constitutionally required, to meet the requirement.
Obi and the Labour Party have since challenged the results at the tribunal.