Nigeria’s political elites have always devised means to gain popular appeal among the populace since Nigeria got her independence.

Initially, political parties that were formed by the elites to facilitate their clamour for independence kept the struggle amongst themselves; parties typically did not seek to co-opt the masses. However, after the country gained independence the prize became a victory at the polls, introducing the need for a more populist appeal. The elites have used different methods to achieve their aim.

They relied on local networks of intermediaries. These intermediaries included traditional authorities like chiefs and Emirs and modern groupings like students’ unions and professional associations. They created partisan bases by establishing personalised political relationships.

A report by the Centre for Democracy and Development in partnership with Tactical Tech examines how the Nigerian political elites are seeking populist appeal to win elections using the citizens’ data.

The report, Personal Data and the Influence Industry in Nigerian Election highlights how Cambridge Analytica (CA) was used to spread targeted disinformation to suppress opposition votes and allegedly released sensitive medical and financial information about then opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria’s 2015 election.

In short, the report finds that the use of data-driven campaigning in Nigerian elections is growing in prominence. Generally, political actors use data and digital technologies to fundraise, test for the resonance of campaign messages, target messages to specific geographic locations, and send out bulk SMS, audio, and WhatsApp messages.

Most importantly, nothing has been done despite promises by the Nigerian government in 2018 to investigate CA’s 2015 activities in the election.


On April 7, 2021, CDD fact-checkers spotted a trending claim on Twitter that President Muhammadu Buhari did not only bypass Deputy Inspector General of Police, Moses Jitoboh, to appoint, Usman Alkali Baba as Inspector General of Police but also retired the former.

In addition to the claim is the narrative that Jitoboh, 52, is also senior to Alkali, 57, and was bypassed only for the position to be handed to a Muslim from the Northern part of Nigeria.

Checks by the CDD reveals the claim that DIG Moses Jitoboh is senior to DIG Usman Alkali and was bypassed for the post of IGP is false.

The claim has also being countered by the Nigeria Police Force and the Police Service Commission.

Read the full fact-check here

Kano Hisbah Never Slammed N20,000 Fine on Male, Female Students For Sharing Rooms

On Tuesday, April 6, 2021, several online platforms;  Sahara ReportersTori.ngKanyiDailyNigerDeltaConnectNaijaNewsAllSchoolsForum reported that the Kano State Hisbah Corps had slammed a fine of N20,000 on male and female students of Bayero University Kano found sharing a room.

The report with the headline: “Kano Hisbah Demands N20,000 Each To Release Male, Female University Students Found In Same Room, claimed operatives of the Islamic Police invaded some off-campus hostels of the University in Danbare area.

It also said students of opposite sex found in the same room.

An investigation carried out by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) shows that the claim that students of the opposite sex have been asked to pay N20,00 for sharing a room is false.

Contrary to the claim, the Kano State Hisbah Corps did not slam a fine of N20,000 on any student for sharing a room with the opposite sex.

Also, the Public Relations Officer of the Kano State Hisbah Corps, Lawan Ibrahim Fagge, who spoke to CDD a fact-checker the report on the N20,000 fine on students for sharing rooms is fake news.

Read the full fact-check here

On Friday, April 2, 2021, several online news platforms and social media users shared posts that the Minister of Communications, Isa Pantami, warned that “failure to register for NIN will result in a 14-year imprisonment”.

According to the claim, Minister Isa Pantami disclosed on Thursday during a briefing organised by the Media department of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Checks by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) shows that the claim that the Minister of Communications that citizens without the National Identification Number (NIN) will face 14-years imprisonment is misleading.

Further investigations on the claim carried out by CDD revealed that Pantami said that many Nigerians have failed to obtain their NIN until the issue of SIM blocking came up.

During the press briefing, found on Channels Television’s YouTube Channel, the minister said: “National identity is a law and it is mandatory.”

Stating the provisions of the law on the matter and how long it has been in existence, the Minister had also warned that conducting certain activities in Nigeria without NIN is an offence.

Read the full fact-check here

CEO of Innoson Vehicles Innocent Chukwuma Not Dead

On April 4, 2021, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a claim published by a blog that Chief Executive Officer of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited and Nigerian civil society leader, Innocent Chukwuma, is dead.

The blog post claimed that close friends of Chukwuma indicated that he was diagnosed with acute Myeloid Leukaemia, an aggressive cancer of the blood.

Also, a photograph of the automobile businessman was used on the post for emphasis.

The CEO of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited, Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma is not dead as claimed by the blog.

An investigation by CDD also reveals that Chief Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma was never the leader of Nigerian civil society as reported but an automobile businessman.

A further check showed that the report was a case of mistaken identity as one of Nigeria’s civil society leaders, and Director of Ford Foundation West Africa, Innocent Chukwuma, died on Saturday, April 3, 2021. The civil society leader was mistaken as Chief Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma CEO of Innoson.

Read the full fact-check here


FG Fingers Insecurity as Trigger for Rising Secessionist Agitations

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa