By Abdulkabir Olatunji I am a frequent listener of Ray…
Earlier today, the Editor of Opinions.ng called my attention to a press statement sent to us by a purported foreign news agency.
The summary of the email was:
The ICT-Internet Giants led by American multi-billionaires hope to use mobile cell phones to connect over 25 million Nigerian Youth with the aim of using them to push for Political, Agriculture and Health reforms as they have designed it. The political agenda has been described as democratic coup-d’état, that will remove power from the present political class to a youth that would be entirely controlled by the foreign ICT-Giants. High on the political agenda is the Youth takeover of the Nigerian national parliament which has a senate and lower house of delegates as in France. They also target the state houses of assembly which are needed for laws to be implemented across Nigeria. The stated objective is to field independent candidates 35 years or younger and provide funding from the ICT-Giants through several channels already in place. The selection process has been made easier by the fact that independent candidates would be allowed to run in a blitz campaign called “not too young to run” designed by a reputable American political strategist. An Obama and Macron-styled campaign is planned for the youth President that may challenge President Buhari or any other older candidate and most members of the parliament would go too.
The email came from from a certain Gina Atkins, and signed by a certain Ana Stuo on behalf of Afro-EuroAsia Press Group. The email was sent to about 50 Nigerian email addresses, which look like a select group of politically conscious highly-internet-active Nigerians. I suspect they thought that was my personal email address. I don’t know they got the list but I’m not surprised, as I’m aware there are email marketers who scavenge online and compile email addresses of people by category of interest and sell to information merchants.
I am not a fan of conspiracy theories, but I felt this had some element of believability, especially looking at some recent events, including the recent visit to Nigeria by Facebook CEO, Google’s recent strange exposure overdrive in Nigeria.
We published the “scoop” here, not necessarily because I believed it was true but to give it exposure and open it up for debate.
Having a deeper look at it, it looks like this is a scam, for these reasons:
1, There are too many basic grammatical errors (e.g ICT-Giants, instead of ICT giants; coup-d’état instead of coup d’etat, artifacts, instead of artefacts etc) that I seriously doubt a foreign news agency would make.
2, This looks like another Wendel Simlin to me. Nigerian PR agents and publicists are known for using fake foreign names to send damaging “scoops” about their political adversaries. Reno Omokri was caught pants down in 2015 when he sent similar report linking SLS to Boko Haram using a fake foreign name, Wendel Simlin, and claiming it was a “scoop”. Could this have come from BMC? Or the governors? Or the PR agents of politicians fearful of the success of this campaign?
3, Why was the “scoop” sent only to individuals and not media houses like SR and PT if they were indeed sure of their sources? Could it because they know most politically conscious internet-active Nigerians are not sophisticated enough to spot a fake news like the Sahara Reporters and Premium Times of this world.
4, None of Ana Stuo or Gitna Atkins or Afro-EuroAsia (what a name!) has any reasonable online footprint to lend credibility to such “scoop”.
Questions and questions and questions.
From all indications, APC’s (or their politicians’) media machinery may be attempting to beat PDP in their game!
Jarus is the Editor-in-Chief of Opinions.ng