The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says a vote for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in the 2019 election is a return to “a sordid corruption lading past.”
The Minister stated this on Monday in Abuja when he paid advocacy visit to the headquarters of Daar Communication Plc, owner of African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower Radio stations.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the minister was at the media house to drum support for the National Campaign Against Fake News launched by the federal government on July 11.
Fielding questions from members of Board and Management of Daar Communication and some journalists at the event, the minister expressed the confidence that Nigerians would make the right choice in President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
“The stark choice for Nigerians in the 2019 election is either to go back to the past – a sordid corruption lading past – or a brighter future, which beckons as represented by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I am, however, very confident that Nigerians will make the right choice,” he said.
On the fake news phenomenon, the minister said it was assuming a dangerous dimension, especially as the nation approached the 2019 general elections.
He disclosed how fake news was used to almost scuttle the recent Osun governorship election won by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr Mohammed also said the recent fake news on the release of Sharibu Leah from Boko Haram captivity had serious security implications.
“There is no better time to intensify the campaign against fake news, especially as we approach the 2019 general elections.
“The enemies of democracy will explore the phenomenon of fake news even more than before.
As you witnessed in the last Osun governorship election, especially the rerun, about 16 PDP members were arrested by the Police for impersonating international observers to perpetrate violence.
“But, within minutes, the whole story was turned as if it was APC stalwarts that were arrested. This is the power of fake news.”
The minister continued: “A few days ago also, news circulated in the social media that Sharibu Leah has been released.
“You can imagine how much trauma this would have caused the parents of Leah, the embarrassment it has caused the country, as well as its security implications.
“This is why we believe that fake news, if not checked or stopped, it has the potential to destroy than a civil war,” he said.
The minister also reiterated that the Farmers/Herdsmen clashes were being given ethnic and religious coloration by the fake news purveyors to cause crises in the country.
He stressed that the clashes were as a result of demography, climate change which necessitated struggle for scarce resources and in some cases, sheer criminality.
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