In attempt to revive the fading chances of Bola Tinubu in the 2023 presidential elections, Festus Keyamo, the Director of Media and Public Affairs and Official Spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress Campaign Council, on Monday descended into the arena of dirty politics, alleging without reasonable grounds that the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, is planning to fake an assassination attempt on himself and hire some supporters dressed in the APC caps and T-shirts to attack some of his party offices.
Mr. Keyamo, a senior advocate of Nigeria, made the bizarre claim in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday, accusing Obi of circulating a hate-filled video online to defame the presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
With many unanswered questions about Tinubu’s age, ancestry and source of wealth, among others, this unsubstantiated claim by by his campaign spokesman will be seen by many as a desperate attempt to malign the popular candidate of the Labour party and the face of the Obidient Movement in Nigeria.
However, the junior minister of labour and unemployment challenged the former Anambra governor to reveal the source and name(s) of the culprits behind the said WhatsApp message, alleging, again without proof, that it was obvious Obi deliberately concocted the message and circulated the offensive video himself as a campaign strategy.
The statement partly read, “Our attention has been drawn to an offensive, hate-filled video made and circulated by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, in which he accused an amorphous and non-existent “Tinubu’s Group” of spreading a WhatsApp message calling on the Yoruba people not to vote for him. The purported message, according to Mr. Obi, forewarned the Yoruba that a vote for Obi would be a vote for a seaport in South-South and South-East.
“We are also aware that plans are afoot by Mr. Peter Obi to fake an assassination attempt on himself and hire Labour Party boys dressed in the APC caps and T-shirts to attack some Labour Party offices. It is all part of the “US Plan”. It is the first in a series of incendiary actions planned by this ill-prepared but desperate candidate.
“Firstly, we vehemently deny the existence of any of such “Tinubu group” that made and circulated such a message. All groups supporting the APC presidential candidate and his running-mate have clear designations with well-known promoters. In addition, it is only messages released by the APC Presidential Campaign Council that are officially authorised and for which we take responsibility.
“As the takeoff date for campaigns draw closer, Mr. Peter Obi has suddenly realised that Nigerians are beginning to burst his bubbles as his messages are bereft of ideas, depth and clear-cut solutions to our challenges. His messages are only full of false data and highfalutin jargons in what is clearly a disingenuous ruse to distract a scrutiny of his empty records as a Governor of Anambra State and nothing else. Hence, his easy recourse to playing ethnic card and fanning the ember of hate.
“We have in on good authority that part of the “US Strategy” (just like the failed “Dubai Strategy” his former boss and himself adopted in 2019) was to return to the country and spread ethnic hatred amongst the voters and cause chaos, then pose as the victim. They have just begun that plot by orchestrating and circulating the said video.
“We find it utterly disgusting, demeaning and insulting to the sensitivities and sensibilities of Nigerians for a presidential candidate of the ilk of Peter Obi to make such a video parroting a spurious, unverified and sham message that has the potential of deepening our fault lines as a nation and further promoting ethnic tensions. This is completely unbecoming of a presidential candidate that hopes to unite this country.
“Again, we note that Mr. OBJ’s latest stunt is consistent with what is now widely perceived as his adoption of hate as campaign strategy, having consistently failed to rein in his known and identifiable supporters, mostly domiciled on social media, threatening political opponents with violence and death.
“We call on all well-meaning Nigerians, irrespective of ethnic origins or political divides, to rise up and condemn this tactless tactics and cheap maneuver by a desperate non-starter of a presidential candidate who has decided to resort to crude revisionism, ethnic jingoism and crass insensitivity with a view to whipping up undeserved sentiment to fuel his faltering ambition that is nothing but a flash in a pan. Our advice to Mr. Peter Obi is to quit the race if he has nothing more to tell Nigerians.”
Reacting to Keyamo’s allegation, Obi’s Media Aide, Emeka Obasi, dismissed it as stupid and falsie.
Obasi said, “It is a fallacy! You media people should also know when you see something fallacious. Does Peter looks like someone who pretends or fakes things? What do we gain to start faking assassination attempt? Are they in anyway trying to carry out such attempt and seeking on blaming Obi for it? The public deserves to know and that’swhat we should put up in the press.
“Does Keyamo knows more than we know and just using this opportunity to cry wolf? What is his plan for uttering this kind of stupid statement? Does he think Obi is part of the Old Order who are always desperatefor power? Whenever he says ‘Go and verify’, does it look like scheming?
“But we are aware of what Keyamo has done before. It is not out of place for him to say things like Obi is attempting to fake his assassination attempt? It is a terrible thing to say.”