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‘Obviously from Tinubu’s mercenaries’ … Kperogi responds to report scrutinising post-election tweets

FAROOQ Kperogi, a columnist and associate professor of Journalism at Kennesaw State University, USA, has defended himself against a fact-check published by The ICIR, describing it as “obviously the Tinubu media team hit piece”. 

The fact-check, published on Monday, analysed five messages widely circulated on the social media around the period of the 2019 general election. Two of these social media messages were traced to Kperogi’s Twitter account.

In a rejoinder he shared with The ICIR on Wednesday, Kperogi tagged the report “a tendentious, poorly written, inaccurate screed”, having “crying factual poverty and malicious ignorance”. In another paragraph, he said the fact-check is “gratuitously abusive and opinionated”.

“The first so-called fake video I shared, which had already gone viral at the time I shared it, merely said INEC officials were mass thumb printing ballot papers,” he argued.

“And that was precisely what happened in the video. I didn’t mention the year this happened, and said nothing about what party was a beneficiary of the mass thumb printing because I couldn’t tell that with any certainty, although other people who shared it before me said it was during the 2019 election.

“The two ‘reporters’ needlessly tortuous analysis confirmed that the video indeed showed INEC officials thumb printing ballot papers except that they said it wasn’t during the 2019 election. But I never said it was. I merely wrote: ‘See shameless rigging by INEC officials: Thumb printing on an industrial scale.’ Nevertheless, the ‘reporters’ said I ‘implied’ it was during the 2019 election. What sort of ‘fact checking’ is that?”

Kperogi said he intentionally chose not to state expressly that the event in the video took place during the 2019 election, and that it is not fair for what is assumed to be on his mind to be fact-checked.

“The second so-called fake video they said I shared was real even by their own analysis,” he continued.

“They agreed that the video, which clearly showing rigging, was from the 2019 election… In any case, my tweet didn’t say INEC officials were thumb printing for APC, although that was what appeared to have happened in the video. So what was fake about my video and why was it the object of their ‘analysis’? Neither the video nor what I said about it was inaccurate by any stretch of the imagination.”

“Can’t Tinubu’s media team get smarter mercenaries for their hit jobs than these pitifully lowbrow vulgar buffoons?” he asked.

Kperogi also clarified details concerning his amount of followers on social media platforms. He said he had a little over 20,000 followers at the time the video was shared, and not 30,000 as stated in the fact-check.

The report earlier published by The ICIR fact-checked claims made by other social media users including Dino Melaye, a member of the Senate.

He had tweeted a picture of a dead man supposedly “killed in election-related violence that had erupted in Kano”; but the same picture was discovered to have first appeared in a 2017 article about a clash in Nairobi, Kenya.

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