The release of audio tapes allegedly said to be the voice of Minister of Transportation,Mr. Rotimi Amaechi has sparked a row between supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari and the spokesman of former President Goodluck Jonathan who leaked the tapes.
Reacting to the “leaks” which have been trending online, National Publicity Secretary, Buhari For Better Tomorrow Movement, Mr. Ibrahim Abubakar said in a statement Sunday that the tapes were manufactured to embarrass Amaechi.
Abubakar said: “Our attention has been drawn to the manufactured audio clip attributed to the Minister of Transportation and Director-General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council by some political opponents of the Minister within and outside the party wrongfully quoting him criticising the Buhari Administration.
“There is no doubt that we live in the era of fake news media powered by new technologies that enables the fake news industry to prototype the voice of anyone who poses threat to their political survival.
“For instance, a Montreal-based startup called Lyrebird last year released a product which allows users to create an audio clip of anyone saying anything. Here’s the company using a fake clip of former President Barack Obama to market their technology. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxviTLVjvDQ
“However, the intention of the company was not to use it to scandalize anybody, but to simply use it to re-create the voice of anyone who lost his or her voice to diseases among other things.
“The new technology for creating faked audio evolved quickly in the era of active information campaigns and their use of “fake news.” The technology which has gone viral has created serious repercussions for politics as influence-mongers are now using it to create fake clips of politicians perceived as enemy.
“We however have it in good authority that more personalities in the Buhari campaign team are been targeted with both audio and video clips in the coming days.
“No doubt, the faked audio clip is part of the Dubai agenda to cripple the rising profile of Mr. Amaechi.
“Is it not curious that a day after Atiku returned from Dubai, his media machinery released the cloned audio clip to the media?
“Therefore, while we urge the teeming supporters of Mr. President to ignore the fake audio of Rotimi Amaechi, we ask President Buhari not to pay any attention to the trending news because it’s the handiwork of his political enemies within and outside the party.
Meanwhile, the pro-Buhari group statement came the day former Presidential spokesman, Reno Omokri, released a new leaked audio of the Director General of the Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation, Rotimi Amaechi, which contradicted claims by the Presidency that the audio is from 2014. Omokri insists the tapes are real.
In the first leaked audio by Mr. Omokri, Mr. Amaechi can be heard saying, “the president does not listen to anybody. He doesn’t care. You can write what you want to write. Does he read?” https://twitter.com/renoomokri/status/1081287578295390219
Hours after the video leaked, it led to a social media storm which caused the Presidency to react by saying that the audio is old and from 2014, in a tweet by presidential assistant, Tolu Ogunlesi.
But in the extended audio released by Mr. Omokri (Sunday, January 6, 2019), Mr. Amaechi can be heard mentioning President Buhari’s name. In the tweet, the DG of the Buhari campaign said “the president does not listen to anybody. He doesn’t care. You can write what you want to write. Does he read? I was flying with him in the aircraft and we saw a news report where a goat seller was complaining that he couldn’t sell his goats during Sallah because of Buhari’s administration. And the president said what is my business with Onitsha goat sellers?” https://twitter.com/renoomokri/status/1081784810677256192
The leaked audio is sending shockwaves around the country but Mr. Amaechi has not personally responded to the development.
Twitter trends has confirmed that the #AmaechiTapes were the number one trending topic in Nigeria yesterday (Saturday January 5, 2019). https://twitter.com/trendslagos/status/1081677732751249414?s=21