Claim: Two prominent digital media platforms recently reported that a federal lawmaker, Shina Peller, said Bola Tinubu should not be anointed as Nigeria’s next president in 2023.
Misleading and sensationalised, the media platforms clearly quoted Shina Peller out of context. There is no place the lawmaker mentioned that Tinubu should not be anointed the next president, hence the claim is false.
Notable digital media platforms, including Sahara Reporters and Peoples Gazzette, recently reported that a member of the federal House of Representatives, Shina Peller, said Bola Tinubu should not be anointed as Nigeria’s next president.
The media platforms also reported that the federal lawmaker representing Iseyin, Itesiwaju, Kajola and Iwajowa said political figures like the former Lagos State governor should not be allowed to take over the country’s helms of affairs in 2023.
Coincidentally, the claim was attributed to Peller barely 24 hours after Tinubu, the national leader of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), made a sensational return to the country.
The former Lagos governor had been out of Nigeria on medical tourism in London. He returned on Friday night, October 8, and was given a rousing welcome by the incumbent Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
With the coincidence in Tinubu’s return and Peller’s alleged statement, the report drew massive reactions from Nigerians on social media.
Using the Crowdtangle web extension, a check on Sahara Reporters’ Twitter page of nearly four million followers showed that the story has 1,400 reactions (1,063 likes and 336 retweets.)
Bola Tinubu’s alleged presidential bid
Bola Tinubu, APC national leader and one of the founding fathers of the ruling party, has been rumoured to be eyeing the giant stool of power in the country in 2023 after the tenure of the current president Muhammadu Buhari.
Although there is not yet an official declaration from his camp, the former governor, who enjoys an incredibly massive cult-hero respect from his teeming legion of followers and loyalists, has not publicly distanced himself from the campaigns linked to him.
And in what has set the wheel of campaign on the move, his loyalists have begun his presidential campaign with his posters recently flooding London streets.
On Tuesday, December 15, 2020, some of his followers led by former senator and minister Dayo Adeyeye, met in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, to launch a presidential campaign movement tagged “The South-West Agenda (SWAGA).”
SWAGA is a movement backing the Tinubu 2023 agenda.
Who is Shina Peller?
A self-styled socialite and king of African nightclubs, Taoreed Shina Abiola Peller is an entrepreneur, politician, industrialist born into the family of late Moshood Abiola Peller, a renowned late magician.
The 45-year-old, who traces his origins to Iseyin, a local government in Oyo State, rose to prominence in Lagos with his revolution of nightclubs in Africa–thanks to his Quilox club.
In 2019, Peller contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Iseyin, Itesiwaju, Kajola, Iwajowa seat in the House of Representatives.
Peller who describes himself as an “exceptional philanthropist who is selfless in many ways” is an advocate for youth participation in politics.
He was recently given the chieftaincy title of Ayedero of Yorubaland by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamide Adeyemi.
Did Peller directly mention that Tinubu should not be “anointed Nigeria’s next president”?
However, there is no place he mentioned Tinubu or stated directly that the APC national leader should not be anointed Nigeria’s next president as claimed by Gazzette and Sahara Reporters.
When asked about Bola Tinubu’s chance and Buhari’s successorship, Peller responded that leaders should be selected based on competence and upon fulfilling “criteria.”
The lawmaker emphasised that an “institution” should be built to see “who meets up with the criteria” for occupying power instead of taking a single person and “rallying around that person.”
Swinging back the pendulum on Nigeria’s political history, the lawmaker stated that Nigeria has made “two mistakes” by presenting President Muhammadu Buhari and one of his predecessors Olusegun Obasanjo in a messianic robe to the people.
He said: “We have made the mistake two times. There was a time in Nigeria when President Obasanjo was brought from prison and everybody was saying he is the best person that could do this and we started to run around him. The same thing happened to President Buhari, everybody was saying Mohammadu Buhari is a saint, he is not corrupt and then everyone starts to run around him, I believe this must stop.
“We need to build an institution now, we do not need to take any single person and be saying we want to now rally around that person. I think let us form an institution, let us identify criteria and let us see who meets up with the criteria.
“There is no institution that has set up the criteria yet, if the criteria say the next president should be Christian, is Asiwaju a Christian?”
It is a misrepresentation
Dubawa’s findings revealed that the lawmaker also issued a rebuttal to the reports in the Gazette and SR, describing it as a “misrepresentation.”
A check on his Facebook and Instagram page showed that on Sunday, October 10, the lawmaker stated that contrary to what was reported, he only “commented on the age-long political style of forcing candidates down the throat of the citizens, without thinking of the principles of equity, equality and fairness.”
Here is the full statement:
“My attention has been drawn to the news on blogs quoting me to have said that the APC Leader “Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu should not be anointed as next President”. Sadly, it is a misrepresentation of what I said. To set the record straight, I have nothing against our leader nor his presidential ambition. I have enjoyed a father and son relationship with him for years, and it remains so.
“I commented on the age-long political style of forcing candidates down the throat of the citizens, without thinking of the principles of equity, equality and fairness.
I stated that the rest of the world is leaving Nigeria behind in terms of rapid growth and development and only through strong institutions, we can collectively make just decisions for visible progress in the country, especially in our electioneering process.
“The next general election is a reset period for our dear country. We must get it right! Our collective decision must be based on promoting peace and unity.
Also, I urge the media practitioners, who are regarded as the fourth estate of the realm, to use their powerful instruments to promote love, peace and unity rather than stir up disunity, disaffection and unnecessary conflicts.”
His media aide reacts
When contacted, one of the media aides to the Iseyin-born lawmaker, Hammed Olabisi, said his principal did not attack Tinubu as mischievously reported in the news.
“What he said was that we should rely on God Almighty to choose the best for us and that we should not anoint as we have always done in the past. Citing examples of Yar’adua and current president Muhammad Buhari. He added that we should allow due process to take its cause instead of making the entire things to look like we have no procedures guiding us in selecting our leaders.”
Olabisi also emphasised that what Peller said was that “building a strong institution will go a long way in picking a better candidate.”
Examining the news report showed that Sahara Reporters and Peoples Gazzette’s headlines were misleading and mischievously sensationalised. Shina Peller was misrepresented and quoted out of context.
EDITOR’s NOTE: This fact-check has been updated to correct a spelling error – ‘anointed’ initially spelt as ‘appointed.’
The researcher produced this media literacy article per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with Legit.ng to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.