CLAIM: Wike said that PDP will vote southern presidential candidate in 2023
Context: A post on Facebook by the “APC Frontier Group” claiming that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State said he will support a southern candidate in the 2023 presidential election is currently causing rancour across social media platforms. The post reads:
“Sule Lamido thinks I am a fool that he will say PDP should promise me presidency after the tenure of Atiku. Who go dash Atiku president self? …we are not second-class citizens in this country, you can’t like Rivers money but hate us, we will vote southern president next year.”
Verification: To investigate the claim, our partners at Daily Trust went through the Twitter handle of the governor and his other social media handles to find out whether he actually made such remarks but couldn’t see anything of such. They also conducted a web search of major newspaper sites, blogs and online platforms to see if there is any story as such attributed to Wike but couldn’t find anything.
Checks show that Governor Wike was aggrieved following the outcome of the PDP primaries which produced Mr. Atiku Abubakar as the flagbearer. However, the governor has not made any comment on leaving the party.
There were reports that he was leaving the party after playing host to presidential aspirants like Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) as well as Mr. Peter Obi, candidate of the Labour Party.
However, he has made no hint to or any plans to leave the party.
Why We Checked This: Following the APC national convention to elect the party’s presidential flag bearer, Wike who was one of the candidates to lose to Atiku has taken a backseat in the party activities causing several rumors and speculations on his future political plans. To avoid ethnic disinformation like these from swaying the people’s vote, CDD has fact checked the claim to debunk the viral claim.
CLAIM: On July 7, 2022, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a claim trending in Osogbo and around the State of Osun that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is mopping up and buying Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) from Voters to use on election day. The trending story also alleged that the party was working with Independent National Commission (INEC) to be able to use proxies to present PVCs which will count for votes for their party.
FACT CHECKING PROCESS:CDD fact checkers reviewed the trending claim to ascertain its validity. Fact checkers could not independently verify that the APC in Osun state was buying and mopping up PVCs from voters of the state to use same on election day, scheduled for Saturday, July 16, 2022. However, Fact Checkers reviewed the INEC accreditation and voting process which has been widely publicized in its Election Guidelines and Regulations.
INEC introduced the Bi-Model Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to detect fraud in the accreditation and voting process. BVAS is now used to ascertain if the PVCs presented at the polling unit, truly belong to the persons presenting the cards and that PVC must correspond with those in the register of voters in that polling unit. The allegations that the party was buying or mopping PVCs of voters, with the aim of using proxies to present the PVCs and vote will therefore be a difficult task. Since INEC introduced BVAS, the use of Incidence Form has been abolished. During the 2018 election in Osun state, Incidence Forms were used to authenticate and accredit voters, whose fingerprints failed.
To validate these findings, the accreditation process for the 2022 Osun elections has four (4) steps which were used during the Ekiti State governorship elections held on Saturday, July 18, 2022.
The steps include the following:
BVAS will be used to capture fingerprints of the card bearer (i.e. the voter)
There will be a request for the voter to place his/her finger on the fingerprint scanner of the BVAS for authentication.
If the voter fails to be authenticated using his/her fingerprint, they will proceed to step four.
Authentication of voters using the Photo option; will ensure that the intending voter will be captured automatically by the BVAS for facial authentication.
Where/When BVAS fails to authenticate the intending voter, that voter will be unable to vote in the election, because authentication failure is the same as non-accreditation.
CONCLUSION: CDD fact-checkers can confirm that the claims that APC was buying or mopping up PVCs from Voters to use on election day is FALSE, as evidence has proven that a PVC can only be used by the owner. CDD is urging members of the public, particularly voters in the state of Osun to independently verify trending stories, especially on blogs and social media platforms, before sharing same.
The 2023 general election will be a defining moment not just for Nigeria but also for West Africa. The region has suffered democratic decline and experienced coups and counter-coups in the past three years. However, beyond the hopes of the emergence of transformational leadership that will change the country’s fate, there are existing challenges that threaten the conduct of free, fair, and credible elections in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s 2023 election will be the seventh to be conducted in the fourth republic. It will be unique for two reasons. First, it will not have an incumbent running. Second, the country has promulgated the 2022 Electoral Act, bringing new changes to election guidelines and regulations. However, the 2023 election is one that many analysts speculate will be fraught with severe challenges. Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones are currently embroiled in different conflicts, ranging from farmer-herder clashes witnessed in all the zones to banditry and terrorist threats in the northwest and north-central and secessionist agitations in the southeast. These conflict situations are likely to deteriorate further with increased political violence that could affect the safety of election materials, personnel and even voters. In addition, the security situation could affect voter turnout – despite ongoing voter registration already surpassing 85 million registered voters – and even the legitimacy of the results.
Beyond the security situation and the controversies arising from the interpretation of the 2022 Electoral Act by politicians and political parties, the lack of internal democracy in parties, monetization of the electoral process and the issue of zoning will all be critical issues that are likely to affect the outcome of the 2023 general elections.
It is on this basis that the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) organized a one-day colloquium to discuss “Emerging Issues that will Shape the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria”. The event was held on 25 May 2022 and was attended by a broad spectrum of stakeholders interested in ensuring the peaceful and credible conduct of elections in Nigeria. They included the current Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and his immediate predecessor, representatives from leading civil society groups, political parties, security agencies, academia, and the media.
The keynote address by Prof Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of INEC, kicked off the day of discussions and was followed by four enriching panel sessions that x-rayed diverse emerging challenges to the conduct of elections in Nigeria with solutions proffered. The first panel dealt with the perquisites for a successful general election in 2023. The second panel examined the emerging threats and challenges to a successful 2023 general election. The theme of the third panel was the pathways to electoral accountability in 2023, while the fourth panel was a summary of cardinal issues arising from the colloquium.
Claim: Peter Obi Son was seen stepping on a Nigerian Flag
Context:A tweetcontaining a picture of a young man wearing a face mask and stepping on a Nigerian flag has gone viral. The photo is captioned “This is Peter Obi’s son, the IPOB in them is further confirmed in the clothes wear and marching on our green white green flag and the same father is campaigning to rule Nigeria?”
Verification: Our partners at Daily Trust, during investigation came across a tweet from Doyin Okupe, Director General of Peter Obi’s campaign organization stating that “This is not Peter Obi’s son. No amount of falsehood will dampen the current wave of support for Peter Obi. See what they’re sharing in the north to Scare people from Peter Obi.” debunking the viral claim.
Peter Obi’s media office also responded to the viral tweet saying that “Every day, the desperation of the opposition is becoming stronger. Their latest mischief is the circulation of a picture, most probably contrived, of a young man in Biafra apparel standing on Nigeria’s flag and passed it as Mr. Peter Obi’s son. We wish to state that the said young man is not Mr. Peter Obi’s son, who, by his strict upbringing marked by rigorous discipline, understands what civic duty and responsibilities entail.”
Why We Checked This: The forthcoming Nigerian general election of 2023 will be dominated by rumours, fake news and unsubstantiated reports. Many of these comments will be at improving or impairing the reputation of presidential candidates. Sadly, the divisions in our politics also extend along ethnic and religious fault lines that can lead to conflict and violence if left to fester. The claim is fact checked to remove bias like this from affecting the choice of the citizens at the poll in the general election.
Claim: Rivers State Governor, and runner-up at the recently concluded PDP presidential primaries, Nyesom Wike has defected to the Labour party in support of its nominee, Peter Obi
Context: SaharaNews, an online publication, reported that Wike had moved to support fellow southern presidential candidate Peter Obi. Interestingly, Obi had notably also left the PDP before the primaries.
Verification: Our partners at Daily Trust have uncovered that not only is the headline false, but the video attached was an old clip of Wike. The original video was also muted for some minutes and a background voice was heard endorsing Peter Obi and ridiculing other candidates and politicians. The voice also mentioned that Wike is angry.
Why We Checked This: Recently, during the June 2022 Ekiti State Governorship election, a viral post stated that the SDP candidate, Segun Oni, had stepped down to endorse the PDP candidate, Bisi Kolawole. We worked with other CSOs to debunk this news but, as it was on the eve of the elections, we cannot ascertain if this affected the decision of voters during the polls.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in an exclusive interview with international news outfit Bloomberg said his administration will be leaving Nigeria in better shape than it met it in 2015. The president also stated that he is leaving Nigeria’s economy better than he met it in 2015 when he assumed office.
According to the president, “We leave Nigeria in a far better place than we found it. Corruption is less hidden, for Nigerians feel empowered to report it without fear, while money is returned; terrorists no longer hold any territory in Nigeria, and their leaders are deceased; and vast infrastructure development sets the country on course for sustainable and equitable growth.”
Although the President made extensive comments on different sectors, CDD/Daily Trust verified his claim on the economy, and found out that what the president said were largely false.
Verifying the president’s claim, Daily Trust analysed key economic indices which meet the World Bank’s criteria to ascertain whether an economy is performing or not. These criteria include inflation, debt level, exchange rate, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment rate and distribution of natural resources.
Nigeria’s inflation rate in 2015 was a single digit of 9.01 per cent. A breakdown of inflation figures year on year showed that inflation rate at the end of 2015 was 9.01 per cent. In 2016 at the thick of the recession, it skyrocketed to 15.68 per cent. In 2017, it further moved up to 16.52 per cent. It however slowed to 12.09 per cent in 2018 and later 11.40 in 2019.
It again rose to 15.75 per cent in December 2020 which is the highest recorded in the past three years.
In 2021, inflation rate rose for the first time in eight months to 15.63 per cent, the reason attributed to the high yuletide spending.
Subsequently, the latest Consumer Price Index report by the National Bureau of Statistics indicated that Nigeria’s inflation rose to 15.7 per cent in February from 15.6 per cent in January.
Inflation rose to its highest level since 2017, rising from 16.82% recorded in April 2022 to 17.71% in May, according to the recently released Consumer Price Index report, by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
On debt level, as of 2015 before President Buhari took over power, Nigeria’s debt revenue stood at N8.8 trillion, according to the Debt Management Office
However, recent statistics from the DMO showed that Nigeria’s debt skyrocketed from N8.8 trillion in 2015 to N41 trillion as at June 2022. This represents an increment of over 500 per cent,
The country’s debt rose from N39.56 trillion in December 2021 to N41.60 trillion in the first three months of 2022 alone.
In the same vein, checks by CDD/Daily Trust show that fuel price at the Buhari government’s inception stood at N87 per litre. As at May 2016, it had moved from N145 per litre representing a 66 per cent increase.
In 2020, it was further reviewed upwards to N162 per litre. The same year, the product sold for between N165 per litre and N220 per litre at the fueling stations. This was further compounded by the unavailability of the product with the major oil marketers saying they could not continue selling fuel at N165 per litre.
In 2015 when President Buhari assumed office, the dollar was exchanging at N198/$ in the parallel market. By 2018, it was N306 to the dollar, and in 2019 it went up to N360 to the dollar and eventually exchanged at N520 in 2021.
From 2021 till date, the dollar at the parallel market is exchanging for between N600 to N610 as a result of the recently concluded party primaries where delegates were said to have been bribed with dollars.
Nigeria’s unemployment rate at the last quarter of 2015 stood at 10.4 per cent according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The figure went up to 14.2 per cent at the end of 2016. At the end of 2017, it moved up to 20.42 per cent. It moved up to 23.1 per cent in 2018 and the latest figures from the NBS indicate that unemployment rate now stands at 33.3 per cent.
Gross Domestic Product
A breakdown of the GDP figures from the National Bureau of Statistics and the World Bank from 2015 to 2020 shows that Nigeria’s GDP in 2015 when President Buhari assumed office stood at $486 billion; it declined to $404 billion when the country slipped into recession.
In 2017, GDP figures further declined to $375 billion. However in 2018, as the economy began to recover, the figures improved to $397 billion. In 2019, the figure surged to $448 billion.
By 2020, in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic which affected virtually every sector of the world economy, Nigeria’s GDP figures declined to $432 billion.
The GDP figures were estimated to have risen to $440 billion in 2021, with 3.98% growth of the economy even though official figures by the World Bank are still being expected.
Verifying the key economic parameters that determine if an economy is in a good shape, checks by CDD/Daily Trust show that the key economic indices as at 2015 were better than what is obtainable currently. As such, the claim by President Buhari that he is leaving a better economy for Nigerians is FALSE.
A screenshot making the rounds claims that the founder and Chairman of Atlas Oranto Petroleum, Prince Arthur Eze, has volunteered to mount 200,000 cameras in all the polling units in Nigeria.
It reads: “Presently one of the richest Africans and Prince Arthur Eze has volunteered to mount 200,000 cameras all over polling units in Nigeria and has said that he won’t be alive for Peter Obi to be rigged out. He also said yesternight that he is donating first installment of $500 million to Obi campaign organization, wahala be like bicycle, we go shake Nigeria. Thanks Ozoigbondu.”
Currently there are 176,846 polling units across Nigeria as mapped out and demarcated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This number is in contrast with the planned 200,000 cameras for all polling units stated in the claim.
Probing further, available information shows that one may pay about $600 to install four or more wireless cameras, a recording system, and Cloud and Smart capabilities. Analyzing this number and cost, it is established that the cost of setting up 200,000 cameras is equivalent to $3 million.
According to multiple sources, Arthur Eze’s net worth is estimated to be around $5.8 billion. Although the amount for installation of the cameras including the claim on donating $500 million for Obi’s presidential campaign would not be difficult for Prince Eze to provide, it should be noted that he did not make the claim as circulated by social media users and blogs.
CDD/Daily Trust can confirm that there is no evidence that Prince Arthur Eze made the claim. The information should be disregarded by members of the general public.