The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) would likely need more than disowning the @APCNigeria handle on twitter as the handler might be doing more harm than good to the Party’s image by endorsing fake and unverified news reports.
The twitter handle, with over 700,000 followers and a verification badge, was widely believed to be the official handle of the ruling Party until April 2018 when the APC National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi disassociated the Party from the handle.
According to Bolaji, the Manager of the twitter handle, Philip Obin, was one of the numerous youth volunteers for the Party during the 2015 election.
He said despite pleas by the Party and well-meaning Nigerians to handover the handle, Obin has refused and has continued to reflect badly on the Party.
“Giving this latest incident, the Party is now left with no option than to take other lawful actions to restrain Mr Obin from further embarrassing the Party. The general public is yet again reminded that the Twitter handle @APCNigeria is not a Twitter handle of the All Progressives Congress.”
Also in April, Reno Omokri, ex-aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, announced that APC is secretly reaching out to him for friendship.
He had posted screenshots of the messages between him and @APCNigeria saying he warned them not to send a message to him again.
For the avoidance of doubt, the @APCNigeria has constantly DM’ed me from their VERIFIED handle until I warned them to stop communicating with me. So this tweet they tweeted only shows the dishonesty of their party and members https://t.co/dX5QlHNmyJ pic.twitter.com/UDbn1JrURu
— Reno Omokri (@renoomokri) April 5, 2018
However, Bolaji also denied the Party ever contacted or approached Omokri for friendship.
Later in the month, APC released new Social Media handles on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
Special Assistant to President Buhari on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, wrote;
“Our great party, the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) is now officially on Kindly follow @OfficialAPCNg. Also on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.”
Nonetheless, this has not deterred Obin from posting and sharing news about APC on the disowned twitter page.
When contacted, he said the matter is a “family affair” which according to him, would be resolved amicably.
Fake news @APCNigeria
APCNigeria retweets fake and unverified news report, which gets likes and retweets from followers.
On June 16, it retweeted a statement allegedly made by Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, that the PDP would use all necessary machinery to win the forthcoming Ekiti State gubernatorial elections.
“If it is cutlass or gun use it. I have told my friend Ayodele Fayose what to do. We are winning Ekiti State. There will be no chance for them here in 2019, we are ready for them. So Ekiti should be ready too… It’s a do or die election. I think you hear me.”
Another statement was attributed to the Governor, saying “It’s going to be do or die election… We are coming to Ekiti with our strength, let them know. No power shall be greater than ours, that I know. We have done it here and we shall do it in Ekiti……”
Both statements were written by one @DeeOneAyekooto and retweeted by the APC handle(@APCNigeria).
Checks by ETN24 shows the statement attributed to the Governor was false as he never mentioned anything of such.
On the same day, it retweeted a news report by a Media outlet curiously named Spy Nigeria, which also alleged that Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose would defect from PDP to APC.
A check on the website shows it directly quoted Fayose to have said: “I am the only PDP Chieftain that has good and close relationship with APC leaders, Politics apart, I never insulted President Buhari. And I will never.
“You journalists are always misquoting me, and If Defecting To APC Will Solve Ekiti Problems I will Join APC And Nobody Can Stop Me.”
However, the website listed its source as a Facebook user with the name George Udom.
The Governor’s Spokesman, Lere Olayinka, contested the veracity of the statement allegedly made by his principal, as he claimed that it was sponsored by APC Ekiti State, aspirants, Kayode Fayemi.
“The statement was part of the many lies being circulated by the Ekiti APC and its unsellable governorship candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, obviously to suppress reports of his rejection by Ekiti people.
“As we approach the July 14 governorship election, it is expected that several lies will be told by the APC and its sinking candidate to confuse the unsuspecting members of the public.
“Most importantly, Governor Fayose’s comments on issues (both national and State) are always on his Twitter Handle @GovAyoFayose.”
In 2016, PDP had similar issues with its former handle @PDPNigeria, which was said to have been compromised. The Party then announced the shutdown of the handle and warned the public to disregard messages coming from it.
PDP later opened another account; @OfficialPDPNg which has since been verified.