2019 presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar has described the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed as the “High Priest of the All Progressives Congress cult of fake news.”

Abubakar said this in reaction to allegation by Mohammed that the international media organisations had questioned his emergence as the presidential candidate of the PDP. A statement by Atiku’s Presidential Campaign Organisation insisted that Mohammed was an “unreliable” liar.

The statement said:

“The attention of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation has been drawn to a sponsored news story on Vanguard newspapers of Saturday October 20, 2018, with the headline: ‘2019: International media query emergence of Atiku over suspicious source of wealth.’

“In the said report, not one international media was quoted. Rather, it was the notoriously dishonest All Progressives Congress minister of information, Lai Mohammed, who was quoted alleging that that was what the international media told him.

“How anyone would take the word of a confirmed liar, as Lai Mohammed, for the Gospel truth is beyond us.

“To show you how unreliable Lai Mohammed is, at the lecture in the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House) with the topic, ‘Nigeria’s National Unity: Towards Participation and Shared Values,’ which was his main reason for going to London, Lai Mohammed said: ‘We do not need to do anything extra because we have delivered on all our promises and Nigerians are quite happy and satisfied with the government.’

“How the minister of information of a government that has turned Nigeria into the world headquarters for extreme poverty can say that is beyond imagination. Is Mr. Mohammed claiming that his party promised and delivered poverty and Nigerians are satisfied with this world record poverty?
“If Lai Mohammed can lie openly at Chatham House in front of the international press and diplomatic corps, is it a big thing for him to lie about his accounts with the international media?

“The true position of things is that ever since the emergence of His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party after the elective congress of the party on October 6-7, the international media has been agog with praise for Mr. Abubakar and hope for a new dawn in Nigeria.

“Reuters praised Atiku as having ‘long enjoyed support from the business elite in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos for his conservative-capitalist ideals’. They went on to further give him kudos for his record in office by saying ‘as vice president in a PDP administration from 1999-2007, (he) implemented a programme of liberalisation in areas including the telecoms sector.’

“The number one policy magazine in the world, The Economist, described His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, ‘as a business-friendly candidate who will get Nigeria’s economy going.’

“Not one single international paper, magazine, TV station or website has had anything negative to say about the Waziri Adamawa’s emergence. That lie only exists in the fallacious imagination of Lai Mohammed.

“On the contrary, international media and even reputable global financial institutions have predicted doom for Nigeria should Muhammadu Buhari be re-elected.

“According to one of the world’s largest banks, HSBC, ‘a second term for Mr Buhari however raises the risk of limited economic progress and further fiscal deterioration, prolonging the stagnation of his first term, particularly if there is no move towards completing reform of the exchange rate system or fiscal adjustments that diversify government revenues away from oil.’

“On its own part, The Economist wrote off the Buhari administration as a failure, saying: ‘The 2019 elections will be a close contest between the ruling APC and the PDP. We expect the PDP presidential candidate to win.’

“Nigerians can no longer be hoodwinked by the Orwellian propaganda that is the signature of this administration.

“The 2019 presidential election will be determined by Nigerian voters and not by political soothsayers. Nigerians will make a determination whether to settle for incompetence versus competence; cluelessness versus knowhow; joblessness versus employment; restiveness versus engagement; divisiveness versus unity; nepotism versus merit and bigotry versus inclusiveness.”