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22.09.2023 Fact-Check FACT-CHECK: No! Tinubu Not the First African Leader to Ring NASDAQ Closing Bell, as Claimed by Presidency

Published 22nd Sep, 2023

By Daniel Ojukwu

On September 20, President Bola Tinubu rang the closing bell of the National Association of Securities Dealers Automatic Quotation System (NASDAQ) in the US.

After Tinubu rang the closing bell, Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, issued a press release on September 21 and claimed his principal was the first African leader to ring the closing bell.

The press statement was titled: ‘President Tinubu Becomes First Ever African Leader To Ring Closing Bell At NASDAQ; Woos Large Scale Investment At The Nigeria-U.S Executive Business Roundtable’.

CLAIM: Tinubu is first African leader to ring closing bell at NASDAQ.

 part of Ajuri Ngelale's statement
Ajuri Ngelale’s statement
 part of Ajuri Ngelale's statement
Concluding part of Ajuri Ngelale’s statement

VERIFICATION: Checks by FIJ revealed that Tinubu was not the first African leader to ring the NASDAQ closing bell. Jakaya Kikwete, former president of Tanzania, is the first African leader to ring the bell.

READ ALSO: FACT-CHECK: Is World GDP Per Capita ‘About $10,700’ as Peter Obi Claims?

Internet searches revealed that NASDAQ welcomed Kikwete to ring the bell on September 21, 2011. This was 12 years before Tinubu did.

News clip featuring image of a Times Square ad showing Kikwete's invite
News clip featuring image of a Times Square ad showing Kikwete’s invite
Kikwete's recorded ringing of the bell
Kikwete flanked by his wives and dignitaries as he rung the bell 12 years ago

FIJ went a step further to obtain a video footage of this event. The video was published by the American Cancer Society (ACS Global), and the 2011 event featured a discourse on women’s cancer.

READ ALSO: UAE Official Denies Country Lifted Visa Ban on Nigerians

Kikwete’s recorded ringing of the bell

FIJ also reviewed the publication on NASDAQ’s website and found that there was no mention of Tinubu being the first African leader to ring the bell.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.- Africa Business Center hosts Nigerian President Bola Tinubu at the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square.

In honor of the occasion, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, rings the Closing Bell. 

The U.S. Chamber’s bell ringing ceremony with President Tinubu, taking place on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, symbolizes the significance of the economic ties between the United States and Nigeria. 

— NASDAQ report (September 20, 2023)

CONCLUSION: The claim that President Tinubu is the first African leader to ring the NASDAQ bell is not true.

VERDICT: The claim is false.

This would not be the first time Ngelale and the Nigerian presidency would issue a misleading report on Tinubu. Earlier in the month, they alleged the UAE had lifted its visa ban on Nigerian travellers, only for a UAE government official to come out to deny the claim.

Published 22nd Sep, 2023

By Daniel Ojukwu

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