The All Progressives Congress Campaign Council has denied issuing an apology to the former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, over the use of his photograph in a documentary on the party’s presidential flagbearer, Bola Tinubu.
The apology which went viral online on Monday elicited varied reactions from netizens, with many slamming the APC for admitting that it engaged in fraud.
Allegedly linked to the PCC Director of Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga, the statement while admitting that Duke's childhood picture was used to portray Tinubu, added that it was an "honest mistake".
“We have taken note of the video in circulation where former Rivers State Governor, Mr Donald Duke, said his picture as a 12-year old boy and student of the Federal Government Secondary School in Sokoto was used in a documentary to celebrate Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“Our investigation further revealed that the picture in question has also surfaced in some of our campaign materials, on websites and Twitter accounts of Asíwájú supporters, along with a similar photo of besuited Asíwájú donning an Afrohair popular in the 70s and 80s.
“No one, and not even Asiwaju’s personal photographers and the artists who designed the materials, has been able to explain how the photo was mixed up with the other photo, that represents Asíwájú’s teenage years.
"They all said they got both photographs in Google search.
“We have called Governor Donald Duke to apologise for the unintentional mix-up and the error. The usage was an honest mistake for which all involved have accepted responsibility.
“We want to make it abundantly clear that Asíwájú Tinubu did not authorise the appropriation of another person’s image as his own.
“We also want to absolve the presidential campaign council of any blame.
“To the traducers, who have been attacking Asíwájú Tinubu for what he knew nothing about, we want to appeal to them to be reasonable over this matter.
“We are in a campaign season where many supporters go out of their way to produce jingles, documentaries, posters, billboard materials and other promotional materials without the approval of candidates across political parties.
"The campaign council has in the meantime established a process for clearance and approval by individuals and support groups who seek to produce campaign materials for media use”, the statement reads.
Dismissing the apology, the APC presidential camp called it "fake", adding that there was no iota of truth in it.
“Our attention has been drawn to a press statement currently in circulation credited to the Director of Media and Publicity, Mr Bayo Onanuga.
“In the said statement, Mr Onanuga was reported to have apologised to Mr Donald Duke for an error in the use of his picture in a documentary on Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“We want to categorically state that the Directorate of Media and Publicity of the APC Presidential Campaign Council did not authorise the said statement and Mr Onanuga didn’t issue any statement on behalf of the campaign council and our principal, Asiwaju Tinubu today.
“We urge the media and members of the public to disregard the statement as fake news designed to create confusion and mislead the public”, the signed statement from Onanuga said.
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