The All Progressives Congress (APC) alleged on Sunday that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had recruited social media actors to mount a campaign of calumny against it and its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Mr Bayo Onanuga, Director, Media and Publicity, APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) made the allegation in a statement he issued in Abuja.
“We want to alert Nigerians to sinister moves and orchestrated plans of the PDP to unleash a wave of fake news, especially in Hausa language to malign, defame and delegitimise Tinubu and the APC.
“This scurrilous campaign by the PDP has already been perfected with a dedicated team working day and night from the PDP national headquarters at Wadata House, Abuja.
“PDP has also recruited many social media actors to carry out the campaign of calumny by proxy,’’ Onanuga stated.
He added that the APC PCC uncovered the evil plot targeted to manipulate Nigerians, especially those of northern extraction to see Tinubu in a bad light.
Onanuga stated that PDP did this thinking it was the only way it could have a chance at the Feb. 25 presidential election.
“We consider it necessary at this point to avert the minds of Nigerians to this evil plan capable of causing disharmony, ill-will and needless crisis with attendant security implications in the country.
“The PDP and their hired social media influencers have already started pushing their nefarious contents,’’ Onanuga stressed.
According to him, PDP is doing this by spoofing and using parody social media accounts of popular newspapers and blogs to disseminate fake news with the aim of hoodwinking gullible Nigerians.
He stated that parody social media accounts such as Vanguard Hausa and Daily Trust Hausa were being used to circulate fake news on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and other digital platforms.
“On Facebook, we found that Daily Trust Hausa was first created as K.R.K Media on Aug. 9, 2021. It changed its name to Daily Trust Media on Dec. 7, 2022 and has a fake website address: daily.com.
“A second Daily Trust Hausa Facebook account was created on Aug. 13, 2022 as Facos News Hausa, with the objective of publishing posts on musicians. It changed its name on Dec. 29, 2022, just 22 days after its other clone.
“Vanguard Hausa was created Dec. 21, 2021. Its website failed to open. All these parody Facebook accounts were used by the PDP on Saturday to publish malicious fake news that trucks carrying old naira notes, belonging to Tinubu were arrested in Lagos,’’ Onanuga stressed.
He said for clarification, Daily Trust publishes a Hausa newspaper called Aminiya, which was also on Facebook with the same name, adding that the Council was not aware that Vanguard had a similar publication.
He, therefore, implored the two newspapers, Daily Trust and Vanguard to inform Facebook and Meta that they had been cloned by fake news merchants for political offensives, masterminded by the PDP.
He added that part of the PDP’s evil machinations would be to make false claims and allegations against President Muhammadu Buhari, Asiwaju Tinubu, his running mate, Sen. Kashim Shettima and other APC national, regional, zonal and state leaders.
He said the PDP planned to do this in manipulated videos, doctored voice-overs, photoshopped images and other means all in a bid to win the coming election by hook or crook.
“The PDP and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar know they can’t win this coming election. They also know Nigerians will never vote for PDP to take over the leadership of Nigeria after inflicting 16 years of misery on them.
“The legacies the party left behind were insecurity, badly managed economy, looted treasury, and derelict national infrastructure in roads, power, ports, rail and pipelines among many others.
“The Buhari-led administration is still struggling to unmake the massive damage done to our country by the PDP,’’ Onanuga said.
He added that because Atiku’s presidential campaign was heading to a crash, PDP futilely hoped to avoid the impending electoral defeat by sponsoring co-ordinated fake news assaults on APC, its presidential candidate and even against the government.
He urged Nigerians and most especially compatriots in the northern part of the country not to allow themselves to be deceived.
Onanuga stressed that Atiku and PDP had nothing good to offer Nigerians other than to enrich himself, family members and cronies as revealed in audio and video leaks by his former Media Aide, Mike Achimugu.
He assured that the President Buhari-led APC administration was working very hard to solve many of Nigeria’s decades-long problems across sectors.
He added that it was only another APC administration of Tinubu and Shettima that could continue, sustain and improve on the trajectory of good governance that began since 2015.
Efforts to get PDP officials to respond were abortive.