From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin 

All Progressives Congress (APC) Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), has raised the alarm of sinister moves by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to unleash a wave of fake news, especially in Hausa language to malign, defame and delegitimise its candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the party before Nigerians ahead of the next month’s presidential poll.

PCC, in a statement by Bayo Onanuga, Director, Media and Publicity, said: “The scurrilous campaign by the PDP has already been perfected with a dedicated team working day and night from the PDP national headquarters in Abuja.”

It said the alarm become necessary to advert the mind of Nigerians to the evil plan capable of causing disharmony, ill-will and needless crisis with attendant security implications in the country.

“The party has also recruited many social media actors to carry out the campaign of calumny by proxy. We uncovered this evil plot targeted to manipulate Nigerians and most especially northerners to see Tinubu in bad light as the only way for PDP and its failing presidential campaign to have a chance at the February 25 presidential election,” the APC PCC alleged in the statement. 

Explaining further, the ruling party campaign council said: “PDP and its hired social media influencers have already started pushing their nefarious contents by spoofing and using parody social media accounts of popular newspapers and blogs to disseminate fake news with the sole aim of hoodwinking gullible Nigerians.

“Many parody social media accounts such as ‘Vanguard Hausa’, ‘DailyTrust Hausa’ have been created and also being used to circulate fake news on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and other digital platforms.

“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.

“Part of the PDP’s evil machinations will be to make false claims and allegations against President Muhammadu Buhari, Tinubu, his running mate, Kashim Shettima and other APC national, regional, zonal and state leaders in manipulated videos, doctored voice overs, photoshop images and other means all in a bid to win election by hook or crook,” the APC PCC said. 

On the main motives behind the plot, the APC PCC said: “PDP and its presidential candidate, 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 Nigerians.

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“The legacies the party left behind were insecurity, badly managed economy, looted treasury, derelict national infrastructure in roads, power, ports, rail, pipelines among many others. The Buhari administration is still struggling to unmake the massive damage done to our country by the party.

“Because Atiku’s PCC is heading to a crash, PDP futilely hopes to avoid the impending electoral defeat by sponsoring a coordinated fake news assault on APC, our presidential candidate and even against the government.

“We use this medium to urge Nigerians and most especially our compatriots in northern Nigeria not to allow themselves to be deceived. Atiku and PDP have nothing good to offer Nigerians other than his rabid ambition to enrich himself, family members and cronies as revealed in audio and video leaks by Atiku’s former media aide, Mike Achimugu. 

“The APC administration of President Buhari is working very hard to solve many of Nigeria’s decades-long problems across sectors and it is only another APC administration of Tinubu and Shettima that can continue, sustain and improve on the trajectory of good governance that began from 2015.”

Meanwhile, Tinubu, yesterday, said he played a significant role to ensure the presidency shifted the deadline for the use of old naira notes.

He disclosed this when he led other members of his campaign entourage on a courtesy call on the Oba of Benin, Ewuare ll, in Benin.

“Let me apologise to all the chiefs, respected leaders and traditional rulers for waiting since morning till now. This is not intentional but because of national politics. Some of your cousins, wives selling garden eggs, carrots, roast corn need money and if naira is available, and we failed to intervene, then we have failed in our duty. We have been on this for three days. And, suddenly, in the afternoon, out of great respect, the presidency considered our request for extension. I was running back and forth calling him. So that’s what we have been doing. Luckily, even though we didn’t get everything we wanted, we got an extension for a number of days,” he said.

Tinubu, said he was in the palace to seek the Oba’s blessings ahead the presidential poll. He equally acknowledged the Oba’s outspoken comments on the nation’s economy and rising unemployment level, assuring his leadership would address the prevailing issues.

Responding, Ewuare ll thanked the APC presidential candidate, the presidency and the Edo State government for their respective commitments and support towards the success and construction of the Benin Royal Museum that will accommodate artefacts.

He disclosed the museum would be sited outside the palace ground for easy accessibility to tourists.