Within a week Ovation Publisher Dele Momodu has told millions of Nigerians two fake news ahead of two governorship elections.
One, about PDP aspirant in Lagos ahead of 2019 general elections; two about the bank account status of PDP aspirant in Osun State ahead of September 22 governorship election in the state.
He apologised for the latter, but this continues it may have integrity implications.
Dele Momodu, without mincing words, is one of the most successful media men in Nigeria and across African continent.
With over 800, 000 twitter followers, Dele Momodu is one of the most powerful media influencers on the continent.
That’s why when he speaks, the entire media houses in Nigeria rush to the press, not minding whether it’s real or not, but because of the integrity of who is “saying what.”
His tweets enjoy hundreds of retweets without “begging for it” making him one of the biggest media heavyweights on the micro blogging platform.
But Chief Ayobamidele Abayomi Ojutelegan Ajani Momodu, Dele Momodu for short, seems to be overwhelmed by the political preparations ahead of Nigeria’s 2019 elections as he’s one of the critics of APC-led government by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He had said he wouldn’t support APC if Buhari is the aspirant of the party in the Nigeria’s 2019 General Elections.
How Dele Momodu is spreading FAKE NEWS
On September 11, 2018, Mr. Dele Momodu tweeted that oil magnate Femi Otedola had accepted to contest the governorship election in Lagos under the umbrella of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos.
In his tweet, Dele Momodu writes:
“Breaking news: Lagos 2019 promises to be interesting. PDP ofers femi Otedola governoship ticket. He’s accepted and personally confirmed to The Boss newspaper,”
What we found:
It was later discovered that the handle from which Mr Momodu relied on was a fake twitter handle of Mr. Otedola, which he had dissociated himself from.
“…Due to the fraudulent and disingenuous exploitation of my persona on this platform, tweets from me this account are suspended forthwith until I am verified by twitter,” Otedola said on June 30, 2018.
Up till now, the oil businessman hasn’t responded to alleged PDP nomination of Otedola as its candidate in Lagos.
That’s No 1. fake news Mr Dele Momodu told millions of Nigeria lately.
The news, even though fake, generated a lot of tweets and retweets while it trended for hours on the micro blogging platform.
The most recent one is the news that Nigeria’s anti-graft agency had frozen the bank accounts of the PDP aspirant in Osun Mr. Ademola Adeleke and Nigeria’s popular artiste Davido.
It was fake news after all, and Dele Momodu had accepted responsibility for spreading such fake news at a time there is political tension in Osun ahead of the September 22, 2018 governorship election in the state.
“When news of the freezing of family accounts of the Adelekes was going viral, The Boss made a few calls to those who should be in the know and our source confirmed the story and even mentioned the accounts were in FCMB. We hereby withdraw it with sincere apologies…
Journalists must still trust their sources no matter the risk of error… No human is above mistakes. Only those who managed nothing in their lives are always perfect…”
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) denies freezing Adeleke’s bank account, it’s fake news it says
EFCC failed to respond before the news went viral, however it did at last in a statement:
“The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has been drawn to media publications alleging that it had frozen the account of Senator Ademola Adeleke, candidate of the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the September 22, 2018 Osun State governorship election and those of his family members, including the musician, David Adeleke (Davido).
“The Commission calls on members the public to disregard the report, which is patently false and contrived to dress the agency with a partisan garb in the unfolding political contest in Osun State.
“For the avoidance of doubt, at no time did the EFCC place a freeze order on any account belonging to members of the Adeleke family.
“The purported freeze order which has unfortunately been amplified by pliable sections of the media without any attempt at confirmation is alien to the Commission and another example of fake news.
“The EFCC frowns at the seeming attempts by faceless forces to drag it into the political fray and, for the umpteenth time, restates its neutrality as a law enforcement organization that is sworn to uphold the law at all times, irrespective whose interest is at stake.”
Why is Dele Momodu spreading fake news?
The media mogul had apologised for the Adeleke’s frozen account fake news, but he has said categorically before now that he wouldn’t be supporting the ruling All progressive Congress (APC) in the 2019 general elections, if incumbent President Buhari is its aspirant.
“When the candidates emerge, I will proudly support one against APC, but If APC presents a different candidate, my choice may change but I would not follow sheepishly.”
“There is nothing personal I have about Buhari other than that in his present state, which is due to no fault of his, Nigeria deserves someone stronger. I wish him well always,”Momodu added
Fake news and propaganda is one of the tools Nigerian politicians use with no caution before during and after election in the country.
With more than 30 years as a media practitioner and at a time one of the highest paid editor in Nigeria, we hope to see Chief Dele Momodu verifies his news before dispersing it to his highly heterogeneous Nigerian community.