The campaign teams of the presidential candidates of the three leading political parties – All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakr; and Labour Party,  Mr. Peter Obi, were, yesterday, locked in bickerings over fake news and hate speech.

Tinubu’s campaign fired the first salvo; as its Director, Media and Publicity, Mr Bayo Onanuga, in a statement, accused Atiku and Obi of sponsoring fake news against Tinubu in the hope of getting the former Lagos State governor disqualified, which he said would not help the presidential quest of the duo.

Responding in kind, the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation asked Tinubu to come clean about his complicity in the alleged illicit drug-related forfeiture of $460,000 to authorities in the United States, instead of trying to divert attention.

In like manner, the Obi-Datti campaign of the LP asked its APC counterpart to look within its ranks for those responsible for the alleged forgery of the letter-headed paper of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to issue a fake statement, saying it was depressing that a party whose candidate had a record of falsification of documents could have the effrontery to accuse innocent people of doing the same.

Tinubu, Atiku and Obi bickered as the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, urged political parties and their candidates to focus on issues in their campaigns, ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Cautioning Atiku and Obi against sponsoring fake news to malign Tinubu’s reputation, which it said would not help their ambitions, Tinubu campaign said:

“The opposition Peoples Democratic Party and its subsidiary: Labour Party, having realised they have no sure path to victory in the February 2023 presidential election upped their campaign of calumny, disinformation and misinformation on Saturday by sponsoring fake news against the All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”

The ruling party also called on the police to investigate those behind the fake statement and get them to face the wrath of the law.