Like every other year, 2022 served us a lot of political talking points. This year is particularly interesting because it precedes the 2023 general elections.
The signing of the amended 2022 electoral act into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, the conduct of primaries for different elective positions ahead of the 2023 general elections which sprung up surprises, G5 long standing battle with PDP spearheaded by Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, Peter Obi’s defection to Labour Party to clinch the party’s presidential ticket and the eventual birthing of the ‘Obidient movement’ as well as Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s ‘Emi Lo Kan’ mantra and his controversial Muslim-Muslim ticket were some of the major political highlights of 2022.
However, the year was not void of various forms of fake news in the political space, FactCheckElections and other Fact-Checking platforms were busy verifying many claims made by candidates, social media users, support groups, electorates as well as representatives of political parties at different gatherings.
Below are the top 5 claims that we fact-checked in the course of the year.
Tinubu Shares Misleading Photo Amidst Failing Health Speculation
In October 2022, the APC’s Presidential Candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu shared a photo of himself holding a newspaper amid speculations that he was receiving medical attention in the United Kingdom. Before then the former Lagos state governor who was rumored to be sick and hospitalized in London has been absent from several political functions in the country.
However, in an attempt to debunk the rumor, he posted a video of himself working out on his official Twitter handle. According to findings, the video, which was old, was said to have been on the internet since 2013. Also in another post, he appeared in a suit and sat on a chair reading an old copy of The Nation newspaper published on January 23, 2022. More details of the check can be found here.
A Claim Attributed to Charles Soludo on Peter Obi’s investment in Anambra
In June, a claim which circulated on social media and attributed to Charles Soludo, Anambra State Governor, stated that the investment made by Peter Obi, a former governor of the state at $20 million is now worth $100 million.
Findings by FactCheckElections revealed that the claim is false. The governor himself went ahead to debunk it in the comment section of the post with his verified Facebook page Charles Chukwuma Soludo.
His reply reads: “Where did you read or hear me make such comments. This Fake News has been roundly debunked by my team. We can always carry on with the campaign for our preferred candidates without consciously misleading the reading public. The report is false and never emanated from me,”.
However in his response, Obi claimed that he never said Anambra state’s investment in SABMiller was now worth $100m blaming it on “one of the youths, not under our control, but eager to throw in anything that glorified their hero”.
Obi’s investment has been a subject of controversy since his emergence as LP’s presidential candidate.
In a 2018 interview, he revealed that he invested $20 million in International Breweries on behalf of Anambra state as a governor.
This claim was confirmed by the state government through its commissioner of finance, Ifeatu Onejeme, who revealed that Peter Obi’s administration invested the sum of N1,955,535,247.00 (an equivalent of approximately $12,616,356.43 at the then average CBN exchange rate of N155.00/$1) in Intafact Beverages Limited, a green-field brewery set up in Onitsha by SABMiller Breweries of South Africa in 2012. He also added that the state government still holds 407,321,264 ordinary shares of International Breweries Plc in exchange for the Intafact Beverages Limited investment.
In an interview in November with Channels TV, Charles Soludo disclosed that Peter Obi’a investments for the state are now “worth next to nothing”.
Soludo who did not specify if the investment in reference was that of International Breweries further said that he would rather invest in infrastructure that will better the lives of his people than in a private company.
In his response at the Lagos Business School (LBS) 2022 alumni conference, Obi said government is a continuum, and as such, Soludo can do better for the state since he is now in office.
PVCs Issued in 2011 Needs To Be Revalidated
The outgoing year was undoubtedly a busy one for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The major highlights for the commission was the successful conducts of Ekiti and Osun states gubernatorial elections.
The commission also extended the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise due to calls from various stakeholders and an Abuja federal high court ruling stopping the it from ending the exercise on June 30 following a suit filed against it by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 185 Nigerians.
Recall that INEC had initially planned to suspend the online voter pre-registration exercise on May 30th and the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise on June 30, 2022.
But amidst all these, the year was without fake news surrounding INEC, PVC or voters registration, FactCheckElections checked different claims such as a viral WhatsApp post claiming that voters who registered in 2011 should revalidate their voters card at the nearest INEC office.
According to the author of the post, the new INEC card reader for 2023 elections will not be able to read cards obtained in 2011. The author asked others to spread the information so that voters won’t be disenfranchised at the polling unit.
Checks by FactCheckElections here shows that the news is false and it has been debunked before by INEC.
According to chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi voter cards issued in 2011 can be used to vote in future elections — without revalidation.
Speaking on the use of a new card reader for the 2023 General Election, Oyekanmi said it is not true but the Commission intends to use a multi-purpose gadget, known as the INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED).
In the same vien, in November, a broadcast message which circulated on WhatsApp platforms claiming that Nigerians can vote without their Permanent Voter’s Card provided they had registered with the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) was also fact-checked by FactCheckElections here.
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu debunked and described the broadcast message as misleading. He noted that for any person to vote he/she must be registered and issued a Permanent Voters Card.
Lawan’s Defection to PDP
In what could be described as an audacious move, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan decided to contest the APC presidential ticket in June.
However, he lost to Bola Ahmed Tinubu and subsequently came 4th despite being named as the party’s “consensus candidate” by the APC national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu. But in the wake of this development, FactCheckElections fact-checked a viral video which claimed that Lawan has defected to PDP. In the 26 seconds video clip, Lawan was pictured reading a defection letter purportedly claimed to be his on the floor of the Senate.
“…It is with deep sense of responsibility that I write to inform your excellency and indeed my entire colleagues in the senate of my decision to defect from my political party the All Progressives Congress (APC) to People’s Democratic Party (PDP)” he read.
In our verification, we found out that the video was cutout from an original 3 minutes 25 seconds clip posted by viabletv.com wherein Lawan was reading the defection letter of Senator Muhammad Adamu Ailero of Kebbi State. It was deliberately cutout to create the impression that the Senate President has defected from APC to PDP.
The Senate President in his reaction, urged the general public to discountenance the viral video purporting his defection from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while describing it as the handiwork of mischief-makers.
Ever since his defeat at the APC presidential polls, Lawan’s intention to return to the senate for the fourth term has hit the rocks as Bashir Sheriff Machina, All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Yobe north senatorial election, vowed not to step down for him despite the pressure to do so from APC.
Lawan’s fourth term ambition was finally laid to rest in September after he accepted his fate following the judgment of a Federal High Court in Damaturu affirming Machina as the rightful candidate for Yobe North Senatorial District.
Lawan has repeatedly represented the constituency for 23 years; first as the member of the House of Representatives for Bade/Jakusko Federal Constituency between 1999- 2007, and the senator for the Yobe North district from 2007 to date making him the longest serving member of the National Assembly.
Peter Obi’s Claim That He Was Awarded The Best Governor In Nigeria Health Care In 2013
Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi was unarguably the most scrutinized presidential candidate in 2022. According to FactCheckHub, he tops the list of Nigeria’s presidential candidates with highest claims checked to be TRUE in 2022.
In November, FactCheckElections fact-checked a claim made by Peter Obi at the presidential town hall series organised by Arise Television ahead of the forthcoming 2023 General election.
The LP presidential candidate said he was awarded best governor in health care in Nigeria by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2013.
Checks by FactCheckElections show that the claim was misleading as he only won the best performing governor on the eradication of polio specifically in the south-east from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and not for health care in Nigeria.
During the presentation of the award in 2013, which came with a cash prize of N120 million, the then minister of health, Mohammed Pate said the award was deserving. He also added that Obi had distinguished himself in the health sector.
The former minister described Obi’s exemplary leadership as a total package, noting that the state had remained polio-free in the past five years.