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I Did Not Invent COVID-19, Bill Gates Says

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Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates on Thursday pushed back against some of the conspiracy theories spreading online accusing him of creating the coronavirus outbreak.

“It’s a bad combination of pandemic and social media and people looking for a very simple explanation,” the Microsoft founder said during a CNN Town Hall interview.

Doctored photos and fabricated news articles crafted by conspiracy theorists – shared thousands of times on social media platforms and messaging apps, in various languages – targeting Gates have gained traction online since the start of the pandemic.

A video accusing Gates of wanting “to eliminate 15 percent of the population” through vaccination and electronic microchips has racked up millions of views on YouTube.

“Our foundation has given more money to buy vaccines to save lives than any group,” Gates said, referring to his eponymous foundation.

He has pledged $250 million in efforts to fight the pandemic, and his foundation has spent billions of dollars improving health care in developing countries over the past 20 years.

“So you just turn that around. You say, ok, we’re making money and we’re trying to kill people with vaccines or by inventing something,” Gates continued.

“And at least it’s true, we’re associated with vaccines, but you actually have sort of flipped the connection,” he said, adding he hopes the conspiracies don’t generate “vaccine hesitancy.”

Since the start of the crisis, AFP Fact Check has debunked dozens of anti-Gates rumors circulating on platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram in languages including English, French, Spanish, Polish and Czech.

A number of accusations, including posts claiming that the FBI arrested Gates for biological terrorism or that he supports a Western plot to poison Africans, share a common thread.

They accuse the tycoon of exploiting the crisis, whether it is to “control people” or make money from selling vaccines.

“I’m a big believer in getting the truth out,” Gates told CNN.

It is not the first time Gates has found himself targeted by conspiracy theorists. When Zika virus broke out in 2015 in Brazil, he was one of several powerful Western figures blamed for the disease.

Other rumors claim he is secretly a lizard, an old favorite among online trolls.

(AFP)

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APC’s Loss in Edo is Still a Mystery to Me – El-Rufai

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Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has said that he was optimistic up to three weeks ago that his party, the All Progressives Congress, would win the Edo State governorship election.

El-Rufai on Monday expressed shock at the election result because, according to him, opinion polls before the election indicated a win for the APC and its candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

The governor, who spoke on Monday morning while featuring on Channels Television, said the election was “reasonably decent”.

He said, “We (APC) would have loved to win and quite frankly, I was optimistic up to three weeks ago; the polls indicated that we were going to win. I don’t know what happened in the last three weeks of the campaign.

“As you know, a large number of voters make up their minds in the last two weeks of the election. Many voters decide no matter what happens, this is how I am voting but most people want to wait and make up their minds in the last two weeks.

“Three weeks ago, the polls clearly showed that APC was going to win but the result came out differently from what we expected. Obaseki has won, that’s it. You can’t go into an election without the possibility of losing.

“The election was reasonably decent. We were all worried about violence but there was very little violence or none at all.”

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Edo 2020: There’s No More APC, Okorocha Laments

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A former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, on Sunday congratulated the people of Edo State for fighting against alleged injustice in the just-concluded election won by Governor Godwin Obaseki on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Okorocha, a founding member of the All Progressives Congress, who represents Imo West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, described the loss suffered by the party as a “revolution of the masses against injustice”.

He added that respect for the President Muhamamadu Buhari was all the party had left.

Speaking with journalists in Abuja, ahead of his 58th birthday on Tuesday, Okorocha noted that “there is no more APC, what we have is the respect for President Muhammadu Buhari”.

During the event, Okorocha’s in-law and 2019 former governorship candidate in Imo State, Uche Nwosu, blamed the former National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, for the party’s defeat, saying “all he did was to try to muzzle people to accept a candidate they never wanted”.

“This is not what APC was built on, we expect things to be done the right way but the former chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, believes that anything can come from anywhere without going through the due process,” he said.

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Jubilant Edo Residents, Melaye Mock Oshiomhole As Obaseki Wins

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Jubilant residents of Benin City on Sunday trooped out to celebrate the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party over the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, in the Saturday poll.

Some of the residents mocked a former governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole, who was the major promoter of Ize-Iyamu.

This was as a former member of the National Assembly from Kogi State, Senator Dino Melaye, also mocked Oshiomhole and the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Obaseki polled a total number of 307,955 votes to emerge winner of the poll while Ize-Iyamu scored 223,619 votes.

Obaseki had contested on the platform of the APC in 2016 governorship election against Ize-Iyamu who was then the candidate of the PDP and Obaseki won.

However, Obaseki and Oshiomhole, who is also a former National Chairman of the APC, fell apart and the crisis cost Obaseki the APC governorship ticket. Ize-Iyamu, who had defected to the APC ahead of the APC governorship primary election, was given the ticket.

While celebrating Obaseki’s victory on Sunday, Melaye said Oshiomhole had been reduced.

“Fellow countrymen and women, I salute you once again. I am reaching you directly from Edo. What  we used to have as Osho Baba has now been reduced, downgraded and degraded to Osho pikin. Nobody should call Osho Baba again, never! The only thing you now have is Osho pikin…..

“How can you expect that a man with the umbrella will not win during the rainy season? Definitely, the PDP won. APC, how market? Oshiomhole, how market?” Melaye said before bursting into a song to mock Oshiomhole and Tinubu, who had released a video ahead of the election, urging the people of Edo to reject Obaseki.

“The dollars brought in a bullion van to Edo have gone down the drain,” Melaye added.

Also, some of Obaseki’s supporters said Oshiomhole should relocate to Lagos to join Tinubu to help him cope with the shame of the defeat.

Obaseki’s supporters called Oshiomhole many unprintable names, saying he became too arrogant after the people of Edo State compensated him to win the 2007 governorship in the state.

While dancing and singing, some of the youths said, “He (Oshiomhole) should relocate to be living with his godfather in Lagos.”

A driver, who identified himself as Lucky Godwin, said, “Edo no be  Lagos; we told Oshio and his father that they will be humiliated and that has happened.”

A Lady among the supporters, who identified herself simply as Rose, said “This victory is sweet; e dey pepper Oshioo.”

The Punch

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