The Federal Government called the prediction by two British based institutions, HSBC and the Economists over the 2019 elections fake and a psychological warfare against the administration’ anti corruption policies.
The Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed replied the two institutions on Friday in Lagos when he paid advocacy visit to Channels Television to drum up support for national campaign against fake news.
“We have all read that the Intelligence Unit of the Economist said the PDP will defeat the ruling APC in 2019.
“We have also read that the international financial institution, HSBC, said Nigeria’s economic development will be stunted if President
Buhari gets a second term.
“Let me state clearly that these reports are based on fake premises and, therefore, qualify as fake news.
“It is a psychological warfare by those who have been badly hit by our policies”.
The minister explained: “Our fight against corruption has meant that many financial institutions, especially banks, that fed fat on the proceeds of corruption are no longer able to do that.
“Also, international publications that used to feed fat on questionable supplements paid for by the Federal Government have seen a drastic reduction in such patronage, as the Administration cuts down on frivolous spending that was the order of the day in the past.
“Therefore, it is natural that these institutions and publications would not wish to see another term for this Administration.
“The truth, however, is that only the good people of Nigeria will determine who presides over the affairs of the country, not any bank or media establishment, irrespective of their influence or self importance”.
The minister said the government was not surprised and would not loose sleep over the predictions because the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is on course and delivering dividends of democracy to the people.
“The parents and wards of the 8.5 million school children, who are being fed every school day under our home-grown school feeding system, are feeling the impact of this Administration.
“The more than six million farmers, who have joined rice production since this Administration came on board, know what this government has done.
“Nigerians, who are enjoying more stable electricity after power production has more than doubled, know better.
“The 500,000 unemployed graduates who have benefitted from our N-Power programme know that these naysayers are only thinking about themselves. So we are not bothered,” he said.
The minister reiterated his position that fake news phenomenon would get worse as the 2019 general elections drew nearer.
He said fake news had become the only weapon left for naysayers to de-market the administration after failing to take them on issues of infrastructure, economy, fight against corruption, and agricultural development.
He therefore appealed to the media to drive the campaign against fake news because if left unchecked, it has the capacity to disrupt the peace and unity of the country.
The minister also reiterated the position of the government neither to coerce nor censor but continue to appeal to the sensibility of the media to self regulate.
The Chairman of Channel, Mr John Momoh thanked the minister for the visit and assured that the station would remain apolitical and professional in news dissemination.
Momoh said the station would also remain committed to its statutory roles of watchdog of the society and ensure that people know their rights.