Claim: A Twitter influencer alleged that some European protesters recently harassed Godwin Obaseki.
Verdict: Although some protesters harassed Mr Obaseki in a foreign land. The video was not as recently claimed, and it was in New York, not somewhere in Europe as alleged. This claim is misleading.
As Nigeria prepares for another election, misinformation and the distortion of context, especially on social media, have become a regular occurrence in the political scene, with opposing camps deploying it to suit a narrative.
Recently, a Twitter influencer, Chris (@topboychris), with positive political leanings towards the River’s State governor, Nyesom Wike, shared a video showing some Nigerians on the streets of a foreign country, verbally abusing Godwin Obaseki, the Edo State Governor.
In the 57 seconds video, the man who appears to be Godwin Obaseki in a suit is approached by a group of protesters, shouting “ole” (thief) as he walks away.
Mr Chris captioned the video, “Obaseki was embarrassed today in Europe 😂😂😂.”
The video has so far garnered 199k views; the tweet has been seen 553K times and has over 5530 likes, alongside 2518 retweets. The same narrative has also been featured on ExolaTv with the headline:
“Video: How Governor Obaseki Was Humiliated, Harassed By Nigerians In Europe”
The alleged incident has elicited different reactions from respondents, as some believe the video is recent while others felt otherwise.
Ada Idemili (@tellmarh) wrote:
“That’s what fits these shameless people. Diasporans doing the lord’s work. See him walking without security. In Nigeria, 100 jobless policemen go follow am for back.”
On his part, Okoeguela Joseph (@okoeguelajosef1) wrote:
“This is just the beginning; as long as our criminal politicians refuse to make Nigeria better, they will continually face disgrace abroad. They must learn this lesson,” he said.
There were other commenters who recognised the video as old and called out the original poster for misinformation. Son of Prophet (@ogbeideSmith) wrote: “That’s an old video, please not yesterday. Let’s play opposition in truth.”
Godwin Obaseki is a Nigerian politician and businessman who is currently the governor of Edo State. He was first elected governor under the platform of the All Progressive Congress in the year 2016.
As such, politically inclined claims, especially about serving governors, can easily trigger unhealthy debates that may not be right when Nigeria prepares for its general election this month.
To unearth the actual context of the alleged narrative, DUBAWA subjected the video to InVid video verifier, a video verification tool that breaks videos into keyframes. Results from the analysis yielded little results, so DUBAWA then ran a keyword search of the term “Governor Obaseki disgraced” on Google search engine, which led to several results that indicated the said video to have been available online since 2019 and was shot in New York and not in Europe.
For example, Linda Ikeji Blog has the story with the title “Governor Godwin Obaseki ‘disgraced’ by protesters in New York (video),” published September 25, 2019.
Another platform, WowNews ran the story with the headline “Must Watch: Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki harassed and almost beaten up by protesters in New York” and published it three years ago (2019).
The video is also available on several YouTube channels, including here, here and here, with the description showing the video was uploaded three years ago. All dates indicated three years back in 2019 and not as recently claimed.
DUBAWA dug deeper into Facebook by searching “Obaseki New York” and clicking on the video tab. Results traced a video with the caption:
“This is my Oga Tunde Olatunji chasing Obaseki out of New York back in the days of #BuhariMustGo and #freesoworenow. Bros hope you no forget anything for Edo state?🤣😅😂😆🏃🏼♂️🏃🏼♂️🏃🏼♂️🏃🏼♂️🏃🏼♂️”
DUBAWA turned its search on Tunde Olantuji’s page, focusing on the videos he posted on his Facebook page from September 19 to 25, 2019. This date was when Olatunji was heavily involved in protests around the Nigerian House in New York.
Interestingly, in the first live video posted by Mr Tunde on September 19, 2019, his opening lines were:
“Hi, people. This is Tunde Olantunji. I live here at the Nigeria House in New York City. Everyone is on the ground right now. The protest is starting right now,” introducing his viewers to a series of videos that will eventually follow.
The next time Mr Tunde went live in a protest was on the 24th, and it is from the second video he shared that day that the alleged footage was extracted. This Original version is a 1 hour, 5 minutes and 59 seconds Facebook live video covered by Mr Tunde during the protest in New York.
In this long and original version, Mr Obaseki walks into the frame at exactly 43 minutes and 26 seconds, with the protesters calling his name and shouting at him.
Image 3: Mr Obaseki with the blue suit and eyeglasses in a picture he posted on September 24, 2021, on Twitter (left) and Obaseki with the same suit and glasses in the video.
Was Obaseki harassed?
On the 24th of 2019, Obaseki made a tweet with pictures of himself at the 74th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, the same city the video was recorded. In the pictures accompanying his tweet, The Edo State Governor is wearing the same blue suit as in the acclaimed footage.
Also, in a Facebook live stream by Sahara Reporters on the said day, some protesters, who bear a resemblance to the ones on the acclaimed video, were seen protesting for the release of Omoyele Sowere, publisher of Sahara Reporters and current presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC.
It was this set of protesters who saw Obaseki and switched on to confront him in front of the Nigerian consulate In New York.
Although some protesters harassed Mr Obaseki in a foreign land, the video was not as recently claimed, and it was in New York, not somewhere in Europe as alleged. This claim is misleading.
The researcher produced this fact-check per the DUBAWA 2023 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with CrossRiverWatch to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.