CLAIM: Facebook user, ‘Buhari Next Level Tukur Yerima’ put up a post that reads – “In the fullness of our present realities, we need to cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari to continue for his second term of office till May 29th, 2023 and collectively prepare the way for NEW GENERATION OF LEADERS to assume the mantle of leadership of the country – IBB Rtd.”
EVIDENCE: Gen. Babangida’s interview with Deutsche Welle radio, and a statement by his spokesperson, Zubairu Abdulrauf show the falseness of the post. The facebook user also did not provide information on the occasion/time when the statement was made; moreover, it is always hard to believe a post from a politically motivated group.
CONCLUSION: TOTALLY FALSE
With the rescheduled elections now taking place tomorrow, the 23rd of February and 9th of March 2019, most Nigerians are eager to know where lies the loyalty of most statesmen like the former Head of State, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (otherwise known as IBB).
A few days ago an online platform, Elombah News, had published a story on social media that claims the Former Military President had advised President Buhari to step aside and support a younger candidate. Promptly, the media office of Gen. Babangida released a statement saying that as an elder statesman and a peacemaker, Gen. Babangida could not have articulated a position as malicious as the said story. In other words, he did not ask Buhari to step down.
Now, another story has surfaced. This time, a Facebook user, ‘Buhari Next Level Tukur Yerima’ put up a post that reads – “In the fullness of our present realities, we need to cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari to continue for his second term of office till May 29th, 2023 and collectively prepare the way for NEW GENERATION OF LEADERS to assume the mantle of leadership of the country – IBB Rtd.” The post gained 575 shares, 322 likes and 43 comments.
The post contained no link or information as to the occasion in which Gen. Babangida allegedly made the comment, neither did it state the time. Yet, a lot of President Buhari’s supporters excitedly commented on the IBB’s alleged support.
Regardless of the vagueness of the post, Dubawa decided to verify it. A call to Gen. Babangida’s spokesperson, Zubairu Abdulrauf, puts things into perspective. According to him, any news of the former General supporting Buhari or calling people to not vote for him is FALSE. He claimed that some of the news making round on his dissatisfaction with President Buhari is false and was lifted from Kassim Afegbua publication of last year and not the words of IBB.
“Let me tell you, the medium that released the report picked what Kassim Afegbua wrote, where he said that Buhari should step down. Within two hours of this story’s publication, we came with a rebuttal which said that IBB did not say anything of such. So if you look at everything, they removed what Afegbua wrote last year.
“I can tell you authoritatively that there was no such statement from IBB. IBB is preaching peace, he is a peaceful man and an elder statesman. So presently, IBB has been out of the country since the 12th of December and is yet to come back. The only interview he granted is the one where he preached for a peaceful election where he said that Nigerians have the right to choose whoever they feel is best for them but they should not cause any mayhem in the country and youths should be weary of politicians that want to use them to cause mayhem, which is an interview he gave to BBC, VOA and Deutsche Welle radio. He has not given another interview.
“Which is why we keep saying that those social media news are fake, he does not have any twitter, facebook or whatsapp account.” Abdulrauf concluded.
Gen. Babangida’s interview with Deutsche Welle radio and another video in hausa being circulated online supports this argument. In the video, the former General says that he wants Nigerians to go out and vote in peace.
“I want Nigerians to remember that the whole world is watching us, so I beg in the name of God that the election is conducted peacefully. I am pleading with the youths to not allow themselves be used to cause trouble in the country. Whoever tries to make you create mayhem in the country, do not agree to them. I will like you to remember that you are the leaders of tomorrow and to the politicians, after the votes have been cast.”
To provide a more comprehensive report, calls were made to ‘Buhari Next Level Tukur Yerima’ as well as messages to the Facebook page and a phone number provided on the page. We received no response. Nevertheless, the officials statements above are sufficient to prove that IBB did not publicly express support for Buhari or any political candidate.