Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has demanded immediate retraction and apology from African Independent Television (AIT) over a report indicating he had a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in his Ota farm in Ogun State.
The television station’s social media segment, Kakaaki Social, on Friday showed a purported Twitter account of Mr Obasanjo with a picture of the former president, Mr Osinbajo, and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, at the meeting.
The former president’s demand came barely a month after the National Broadcasting Commission cautioned the television station on the use of user-generated content from the social media on its flagship programme.
Mr Obasanjo in a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, on Friday said the portrayal by the station was false and also demanded an apology for Mr Osinbajo for the embarrassment it might have caused him.
He expressed disappointment in the station’s failure to verify the fake Twitter Account before airing it on the station, stating that he was in Sokoto for the Zero Hunger project at the time the false news was aired by the station.
“It is a fact that severally, the former president has dissociated himself from owning any social media account. Therefore, it is highly disappointing that such sensitive Twitter post would be allowed to go on air without verification by the African Independent Television (AIT),” Mr Akinyemi stated.
Mr Obasanjo also expressed concern over the continuous use of his name by suspected fraudsters on social media platforms, warning that anyone caught in the act would be made to face prosecution.
The former President further urged the media to always be professional in discharging their duties and should refrain from creating unnecessary confusion and heating up the polity.
“There was no meeting with the Vice President anywhere. I was at the airport and was informed that he was around in the lounge and out of courtesy; I felt I should go and greet him. We met, greeted and exchanged pleasantries and I left. That was all,” Mr Obasanjo explained.
“The station should have been very professional and not causing confusion and heating up the polity. That I am not operating any social media account should not be strange to a station like AIT, and for that embarrassment, the Vice President and I deserve an apology,” Mr Obasanjo said.
Earlier, Mr Osinbajo had dismissed claims that the meeting was a closed-door one aimed at lobbying the former president ahead of the 2019 election.