The All Progressives Congressional Campaign Council on Tuesday morning denied issuing a statement apologizing to former Cross River State Governor Donald Duke for the use of his photograph in a documentary about the presidential flag-bearer of the party, Tinubu Ball.
The viral apology, which hit online portals and social media platforms late Monday, sparked backlash, with some critics accusing the APC candidate of admitting fraud.
The statement purportedly credited to CCP Director of Media and Publicity Bayo Onanuga exonerated the campaign council, while admitting that mistaking Duke’s photo for Young Tinubu was an “honest mistake.”
It read: “We have taken note of the video in circulation where the former Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Donald Duke, said that his photo as a 12-year-old boy and a student at the Federal Government High School in Sokoto was used in a documentary. to celebrate Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“Our investigation further revealed that the image in question has also appeared in some of our campaign materials, on websites and Twitter accounts of Asíwájú supporters, along with a similar photo of Asíwájú in suit wearing an Afrohair popular in the 1970s. and 80.
“No one, not even Asiwaju’s personal photographers and the artists who designed the materials, have been able to explain how the photo got mixed up with the other photo, which represents Asíwájú’s adolescence. They all said they got both photos from the Google search.
“We have called Governor Donald Duke to apologize for the unintentional mix-up and error. The use was an honest mistake for which everyone involved has accepted responsibility.
“We want to make it clear that Asíwájú Tinubu did not authorize the appropriation of another person’s image as his own.
“We also want to clear the presidential campaign council of any blame.
“To the detractors, who have been attacking Asíwájú Tinubu for what he did not know, we want to call on you to be reasonable in this matter.
“We are in a campaign season where many supporters are going out of their way to produce jingles, documentaries, posters, billboards and other promotional materials without the approval of candidates from all political parties. In the meantime, the campaign council has established a process for authorization and approval by individuals and advocacy groups seeking to produce campaign materials for media use.”
But hours after it went viral, the camp of the APC presidential candidate dismissed the apology, calling it “false.”
In a statement signed by Onanuga, the campaign council said there was not an iota of truth to the viral report.
Onanuga claimed that no member of Tinubu’s campaign media leadership authorized such an apology on behalf of the former Lagos state governor.
He said: “Our attention has been drawn to a press release currently in circulation credited to the Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Bayo Onanuga.
“In the said statement, it was reported that Mr. Onanuga apologized to Mr. Donald Duke for a mistake in the use of his image in a documentary about Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“We want to state categorically that the APC Presidential Campaign Council Publicity and Media Directorate did not authorize such a statement and Mr. Onanuga did not issue any statement on behalf of the campaign council and our director, Asiwaju Tinubu today.
“We urge the media and the public to ignore the statement as fake news designed to create confusion and mislead the public.”