Former junior labour minister Festus Keyamo and ex-aviation minister Femi Fani-Kayode have earned the infamy of being among fake news purveyors during the 2023 elections in Nigeria.
“There was an increased incidence of misleading information in the days leading up to and during the election. In many cases, false reports were spread by well-known personalities associated with political parties,” stated the EU report released on Tuesday.
Listing Mr Keyamo and Mr Fani-Kayode, who were spokespersons for then-presidential candidate Bola Tinubu’s campaign team, the EU observers’ report cited instances where the duo dished out fake news as they campaigned for their candidate.
“On 12 February, Festus Keyamo from APC promoted information published by a suspicious website, accusing Peter Obi of bribery. The story quickly became viral and was in few hours debunked,” the report noted.
Peoples Gazette reported how Mr Keyamo circulated photos of a Chicago festival to misrepresent the turnout of supporters for Mr Tinubu’s campaign rally in Sokoto.
It added, “Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister of aviation and an APC party member, made a claim on February 11, 2023, that the PDP presidential candidate Abubakar had a secret meeting with serving military generals in Abuja.”
The EU observers stated, “He accused Atiku of wanting to incite chaos, provoke a coup d’état, and establish a new and unconstitutional order. Kayode posted this claim across multiple social media platforms, and it garnered 281.2k total impressions. The next day, he posted that the Army denied reports about a meeting between its officers and Atiku.”
Reacting to the EU report on Monday, Mr Keyamo said, “All the hoopla over that EU report is neither here nor there when it comes to legitimising or delegitimising the government of the day. That power or responsibility belongs to the judiciary.”
The EU observers debunked claims that the 2023 general elections were free, fair and credible, lamenting the killing of 74 people and berating Nigerian police for attacking journalists while ignoring political thugs disrupting the polls.