Claim: A viral WhatsApp message titled ‘FESTUS KEYAMO DROPS THE MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS – Who are you calling dictator?’ names Nigeria’s Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, the author of a critical message seeking to launder the image of the country’s president.
This message is misleading. Nigeria’s Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo is not the author of the message.
The battle of wits between the supporters of incumbent Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, and his antagonists is one that goes on daily on social media. Nigerian citizens in the country as well as those in diaspora spare no efforts in proving their cases for or against the President. In this particular instance, pro-Buhari author(s) sought to give their claims credibility and thus labelled it as crucial information by the country’s Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo. The message has been shared several times on WhatsApp.
Mr. Festus Keyamo, a lawyer, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, social commentator, critic, human rights activist and columnist is a supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari and a member of his cabinet. He was also the Head of Communications for his presidential campaign team.
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment’s name was also signed at the end of the message.
Dubawa read the 30 paragraph-long message which sought to highlight alleged deficiencies of immediate past presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Olusegun Obasanjo, who are both members of the opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan was in power for five years (2010 to 2015) while former President Olusegun Obasanjo ruled as a civilian president for two terms (May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2007). That is apart from his time as a military ruler from 1976 to 1979. The viral message however only cited alleged abuses of power during Ex-President Obasanjo’s civilian administration.
The message also cites many supposed virtues of President Muhammadu Buhari (and his administration) as well as extolled the competence of his appointed officers.
Dubawa sent a text message to Mr. Festus Keyamo on June 16, 2021 to confirm if he was the author of the message and the Minister replied that while he shared some of the views in the message, he did not author it.
Mr. keyamo said the message “had been circulating since 2018 during the campaigns” of the election that won President Muhammadu Buhari his second term in office, and that the contents of the WhatsApp message are “a sprinkling of a lot of things” he said as the “Director of Communications during the campaigns”.
Mr. Keyamo also noted that the author(s) of the message actually “pieced them together and added a bit of some other things” which he had not said. He therefore confirmed that the viral message in its current form is not from him.
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo is not the author of the viral WhatsApp message titled ‘FESTUS KEYAMO DROPS THE MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS – Who are you calling dictator?’
Individuals who wish to share ideas and have them resonate with people have been known to write the names of celebrities, specialists, authority figures and prominent institutions as the sources (of such messages) in order to gain credibility and achieve their communication goals.