President of the Living Faith Church, also known as Winners Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, has dismissed insinuations that his presence at last week’s meeting with the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, at his residence, was an endorsement for the 2019 presidential election.
Bishop Oyedepo specifically denied endorsing Atiku for 2019, during the Sunday church service in Canaanland Ota, Ogun State.
The cleric told the congregation he was only invited to Obasanjo’s residence for a peace parley.
He said: “I am aware Winners are in every political party in Nigeria, but I don’t belong to any party. I was only invited to make peace. I don’t force myself on people because I am too busy.
“I have never belonged to any political party and will never belong to one. Any party you are in, that is where I am. There is no party without Winners in it. If you get to any party and you don’t see any Winner in it, you better check out of there; even the ones that have not been formed, Winners are there.
“Our goal is to secure the glorious destiny of our nation by paying whatever price it requires. I have never taken any dime from any political candidate in my life, I am a mediator. The price of peace is far cheaper than the cost of war so, what we are saying is, ‘let us talk this over, don’t let us exchange blows.’
“Let us be mature and be sincere; let’s give chance to reason and let the wicked turn from their wicked ways. We have to do it by appealing to people’s reasoning. Does anybody here want to see war? The 30 months war we fought, the effect keeps lingering, you won’t see war again in the name of Jesus.”
Last Thursday, Oyedepo was pictured with other religious leaders who accompanied Atiku to Obasanjo’s residence. After the meeting, Obasanjo forgave Atiku and formally endorsed him for president.
In a related development, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Rev. Dr. Matthew Kukah, said the meeting with Obasanjo and Atiku was to witness the reconciliation of a prolonged dispute between the two leaders.
Kukah said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Sokoto, yesterday, in reaction to concerns that his meeting with both leaders was for political reasons.
The catholic bishop said it was strictly to support and witness their reconciliation, which he has been trying to broker for some years.
Kukah said he has for several years made efforts to reconcile both leaders without success until recently, when they both agreed to meet and make peace.
He said on Thursday, October 11, they had agreed to meet in Obasanjo’s home in Abeokuta, along with some religious leaders, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi and Oyedepo.
The cleric said on getting to the home of the former president, he saw that more and more people were trooping there and the meeting was gradually starting to have a political undertone.
He said to ensure he does not get involved with anything relating to politics, he quickly advised Obasanjo to carry out the reconciliation behind closed-doors and not in public.
“I proposed to the former president that he should sit down with Alhaji Atiku behind closed- doors, sort out their issues after which I and Sheikh Gumi will join them as Bishop Oyedepo was yet to arrive at the time.
“After their closed-door meeting, I advised that the religious leaders, myself inclusive, join them, so we could listen to them, serve as witnesses to the reconciliation, advise them and pray for them.”