Atiku Abubakar, Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has urged Nigerians to ignore an audio clip circulating social media.
In the clip, Atiku purportedly revealed plans by himself, Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State to rig the presidential election of Saturday.
But in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, by his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, the PDP presidential candidate said the audio is fake.
He said the clip in circulation was a confirmation of his warning last week that the opposition would deepen its propaganda ahead of the election.
“We warned last week that as the election approaches, there will be a spike in the rate of propaganda on social media. With barely 24 hours to the poll, we have witnessed propaganda from not just the All Progressives Congress but the Labour Party as well.
“In this latest drivel, a montage of speeches delivered by Atiku, Tambuwal, and Okowa since last year were manipulated and pieced together to give an impression that they were discussing plans to rig Saturday’s election. In this age of artificial intelligence technology, even dead people can be portrayed as delivering speeches. This is nothing new.
“For the record, Atiku has run in two presidential elections and has never been indicted or prosecuted for election violence or vote buying.
“But some people think they can sell a narrative of Atiku manipulating this election. This is indeed the height of desperation, the last kick of a dying horse. The APC and the Labour Party must note that elections are not won on social media but at the polling units,” the statement said.
Atiku said the audio clip, which had been shared numerous times on WhatsApp, could be identified easily as fake even from the tone of the purported discussants.
“It is unfortunate that those seeking power will engage in outdated defeatist tactics. How can Tambuwal be referring to Atiku by his full name in a one-on-one private conversation?”
Atiku also advised his supporters not to engage in the propaganda war, which he claimed had become the style of both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party.
“When they descend to the level of baseless propaganda, we will rise above it with dignity and respond with our PVCs. This election is a watershed in Nigerian history. Nigerians must not lose sight of what is most important, which is the need to rebuild this broken system, revitalize the economy, and improve security and the hope of the people in a united Nigeria,” he said.
The presidential candidate called on the police and other security agencies as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remain fair and neutral in the polls.
He asked them to go after those behind the audio tape in line with Section 123(c) of the Electoral Act which provides that “any person who before or during an election publishes any statement to the personal character or conduct of a candidate calculated to prejudice the chance of election of the candidate or to promote or procure the election of another candidate and such statement is false and was published without reasonable grounds for belief by the person publishing it that the statement is true, commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a maximum of N100,000 or imprisonment for a term of six months or both.”