Renos’ mischief or Amaechi’s faux pas
For the apolitical, it could seem all exhausting, the furore over some tapes and how the commentary has solely focused on political divides, name calling and social media blocking.
With the elections in view, aggressive campaigning kick-in and the fake news wheel begins it work, churning out disparaging content to sway voters the other way.
Without proper checks, it simply could devolve into which faction can go lowest in slinging the most scandalous mud. Accusations, counter-accusations, counter-counter-accusations and the gifts keep giving till the voters press their thumbs in the blank space beside their preferred party.
Since Saturday, Reno Omokri has released audio recordings of what sounded like the Director General of Buhari campaign organisation, Rotimi Amaechi, saying the president does not care, neither reads or listens.
The incendiary tapes have been released in parts, with the first part a six-second teaser, perhaps for rousing effect.
“The President is not listening to anybody. He doesn’t care. You can write anything you want. The President doesn’t care. Does he read?”
The teaser doesn’t mention the president he was referring to as Amaechi worked with President Goodluck Jonathan before the pair fell out and Amaechi jumped ship to support Buhari’s election in the 2015 elections.
It had its desired effect, splitting many between political lines, some using the minister of information’s criticism of President Buhari to push the Get Nigeria Working Again agenda, while others lept in defence claiming foul play.
A special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on digital media, Tolu Ogunlesi, countered the claim before he slammed the opposition People’s Democratic Party and Omokri over the release of the audio clip.
While reacting to audio tape, Ogunlesi said: The #DubaiStrategy disinformation machine is working overtime. At the rate of one major LIE a week, we have at least six more big lies to go through before the elections.”
“Reno and his Wendell Simlin crew sharing an audio clip that was most likely recorded years ago, at the height of the fight between Amaechi and GEJ, and trying to pass it off as Amaechi dissing Buhari.”
In 2014, Amaechi was at loggerheads with the then president Goodluck Jonathan.
Ogunlesi opined that the PDP has not learnt “past mistakes” and that party can not win the February 2019 election while “using these tactics that failed you in 2015 (when you had federal money and might) is the puzzle of the century.”
He alleged that Omokri “didn’t start this his Lying, Blackmail and Disinformation Business today and has gained international recognition for it”
“Reno hasn’t changed one bit. This is how he warned his ‘Simlin’ name,” he said.
Also in another audio clip released by Omokri on Sunday, Amaechi purportedly said, “This country can never change, I swear. The only way this country can change is in a situation where everybody is killed. This country is going nowhere.”
Ogunlesi later called Omokri “a criminal genius” while tweeting links that cast aspersions on the former presidential media aide. He also claimed that the tapes were doctored and deliberately miscontexualised.
“I’m actually convinced that some of the insertions made into the Amaechi Tapes consist of phrases taken from completely different Amaechi contexts/settings (diff place diff time). I don’t have the time or resources to be analyzing these clips extensively, but I’m convinced.”
Ogunlesi has come in for major abuse with users highlighting what they considered a volte-face.
First they said it was from 2014. When that lie was busted, they claimed it was doctored. Then when that one could not hold water, they came out with their latest fallacy that is an ‘imitation’. How can a journalist imitate @ChibuikeAmaechi’s voice so perfectly? #AmaechiTapes
— Reno Omokri (@renoomokri) January 7, 2019
Although, the Guardian is yet to independently confirm the veracity of the tapes, however, it is obvious that the season of inordinate mudslinging is upon us, claims, counter-claims and counter-counterclaims.
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