Tinubu, Obasanjo

18.09.2023 Fact-Check FACT-CHECK: Did Obasanjo Offer Support to Tinubu at the Alake’s Birthday?

Published 18th Sep, 2023

By Mohammed Taoheed

A video has been circulating on social media platforms that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Olusegun Obasanjo, a former Nigerian president, recently publicly exchanged pleasantries at a function.

A snapshot of the video on WhatsApp
Credit: A snapshot of the video on WhatsApp 

The claim has been circulating within WhatsApp closed groups and Facebook for days, FIJ can establish.

In the video, Obasanjo could be seen jokingly telling Tinubu that if the latter offered him a job, he would surely take it. Femi Gbajabiamila, Tinubu’s present Chief of Staff, was also seen in the video.

The one-and-half-minute footage was released on a Tiktok account, @asiwajuwoldwidef, with a claim that the two leaders had met on Thursday at the birthday celebration of Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, the Alake of Egbaland.

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CLAIM: Tinubu and Obasanjo met at the 80th birthday of Alake of Egbaland.

VERIFICATION: FIJ carried out an investigation through a keyword search and found out that the video had been online since 2022.

This was when Obasanjo played host to Tinubu in Abeokuta, Ogun State, to discuss the latter’s presidential bid ahead of the 2023 general election.

During the period, the Punch had confirmed in a report, that the two met behind closed doors, and in the presence of other APC chieftains. Initially, the subject of their meeting was not disclosed to journalists, but Femi Gbajabiamila, who was also with them, would later reveal that it was about “attaining victory for Tinubu”.

“My people, what I heard there, what Obasanjo said, the victory of Asiwaju is assured,” the former speaker had said during the period, and in a report by the Vanguard.

Furthermore, FIJ went on to obtain a full video uploaded by Channels TV on its YouTube page. In the video, it was evident that Tinubu had subsequently departed the meeting with the former president for the MKO Abiola Stadium to grace the Artisans Day celebration in Ogun State.

The Daily Trust and another medium also confirmed FIJ’s findings. It was also observed that the video of the meeting was made on August 17, 2022, and not September 14, 2023, when the Alake celebrated his 80th birthday.

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In addition, a disclaimer by Kehinde Akinyemi, Obasanjo’s spokesperson, had recently stated that the video was not recent, making it known that his principal did not at any time meet with Tinubu at the king’s birthday celebration.

Akinyemi also noted that Obasanjo was in South Africa when the Alake celebrated his birthday.

For further confirmation, FIJ also obtained a report made by the Independent Online, a South African newspaper, claiming that Obasanjo was in the country to mourn Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi who died recently during the period. The same story was reported here.

Tinubu also only returned from his UAE diplomatic visit late in the evening of September 12, and no credible media outlet covered a story that reflected a subsequent visit to Ogun State to grace the event organised in honour of the king.

To celebrate with the Alake, Tinubu only wrote a congratulatory letter through Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity.

CONCLUSION: Evidence gathered from FIJ’s checks revealed that the video first appeared online on August 17, 2022, and not at this year’s 80th birthday celebration of the Alake of Egbaland as claimed. Obasanjo himself also corroborated this through a disclaimer.

VERDICT: The claim that Tinubu and Obasanjo met at the Alake’s 80th birthday is false and misleading.

Published 18th Sep, 2023

By Mohammed Taoheed


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