Further details have emerged as to the last-minute strategies employed by some pro-Buhari grassroots campaigners to turn the minds of Northern voters against the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 presidential election.
Investigations by Sunday Tribune confirmed that some strategists from the camp of President Muhammadu Buhari got worried about the growing popularity of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar especially following the massive crowds that greeted his campaigns in most capitals of the Northern states.
It was gathered that the thinking within the president’s camp initially was that Atiku could not shake Buhari’s vote bank in the North but that intelligence reports later indicated to the contrary and that leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) were forced to agree with the projections about Atiku’s growing popularity following PDP’s campaigns in the North.
In view of the belief that the bounce in Atiku’s campaigns could upstage the president in the North, especially following the shutdown of Kano city when the former vice-president campaigned in the state, the Buhari strategists were said to have reached to the depth of their wits.
They were said to have designed some messages meant to circulate in the grassroots to ensure the Northern grassroots voters were weaned from Atiku.
One of the messages was that President Buhari had reached a pact with former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, that the former governor would allow his crowd to vote for Buhari in the presidential election, while the president would in turn enable a free and fair contest in the state for the governorship election.
It was also gathered that the grassroots campaigners went into the hinterlands of the North and told stories that the people should be wary of Atiku in view of the fact that he was said to have reached a pact with some pro-Biafran personalities, whom they said he planned to hand over the running of the affairs of his administration to.
It was gathered that the campaigners reminded the Northern voters that they should recall that the man who drove Nnamdi Kanu out of Kuje Prisons was Osita Chidoka, whom they said was playing critical roles in the Atiku campaign.
“The level of disinformation was massive against Atiku in the run-up to the presidential election. The people were simply told that a vote for Atiku would be a vote for the Biafran takeover of Nigeria and that the key leaders of the Atiku campaign were Biafran leaders.
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“They also spread the story that even Atiku’s running mate, Peter Obi also had a beer company, which they claimed had the Biafran flag on its logo,” a source said.
Besides the activities of some double agents who were in the Atiku campaign and who were also said to have orchestrated the disinformation activities, sources said that the strategists also turned the restructuring campaign by Atiku as a pact to hand over power to the South-East in 2023.
They even claimed that even before 2023, Atiku’s government would be largely run by alleged “pro-Biafran” elements.
Sources also said that the grassroots Northern voters were further told that as a mark of his faithfulness to the planned hand over of the government to “Biafra faithful,” Atiku had also planned to make his wife from the South-East the First lady.
“They went about claiming that even the Yoruba were no longer supporting Atiku, because the information had reached them that Jenifer Atiku would be the First Lady in the Atiku presidency. They Yoruba were said to be distraught with this and that they have vowed not to vote for the former vice-president,” the sources said