Claim: Multiple Facebook users claim Divine Ikubor, known as Rema, is Ghanaian.
Verdict: Rema once lived and worked in Ghana but has no biological ties to the African country. On the contrary, he is a Nigerian, born to the Late Justice Ikubor, former Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benin, Edo state capital. The claim that he is a citizen of Ghana is false.
The Nigerian music industry has taken a high place in the international entertainment arena, with its famous stars making extraordinary waves on the global stage. In 2022, the Afrobeat star Davido, David Adeleke, showcased his musical prowess during Qatar’s FIFA World Cup finals. Fast-forward to May 2023, Tiwatope Savage-Balogun, the talented Tiwa Savage, graced the stage at the coronation of King Charles III.
Adding to this narrative is Divine Ikubor, recognised as Rema, who made history in Oct. 2023 with a captivating performance at the prestigious Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris, France. His participation marked a personal milestone and served as a source of immense pride for the Nigerian community.
However, after Rema’s groundbreaking performance, a claim surfaced on Facebook, asserting that the Afrowave maestro hails from Ghana. This unexpected twist has sparked discussions, adding an intriguing layer to Rema’s remarkable journey.
The post read: “Here’s Ghanaian international artist Rema Appiah making all Africans proud in France. Ghana to the World.”
Initially shared by Raggaemarley Chelsea, the post garnered 223,000 likes. This claim has spread on Facebook, surfacing in multiple places and sparking controversial engagements as seen here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
DUBAWA conducted this verification due to the viral nature of the assertion.
Aside from the sensationalism of the statement, DUBAWA observed the name discrepancy in the post. While Rema’s real name is Divine Akubor, the post alleged he was “Rema Appiah.”
Born to the Late Justice Ikubor, a top-ranking member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo state, Rema spent most of his childhood in Benin. Life, however, took a difficult turn for the church boy after he lost his father in 2008.
Reflecting on his journey in an interview with Capital Xtra, a UK-based hip hop radio station, he had to be agile, forcing him to Cotonu, from where he later relocated to Ghana to work at a bar beach. He returned to Nigeria in 2017, two years before his music career fully picked up.
Ghanaians’ continuous claim of Nigeria’s best achievers
The Rema incident is just a glimpse into a recurring trend that highlights Ghanaians’ tendency to lay claim to successful Nigerians. In June 2023, emotional footage surfaced, purportedly featuring two Ghanaian women passionately asserting that Mercy Johnson, a famous Nigerian actress, is their estranged sister who abandoned them after achieving wealth.
Following Tiwa Savage’s performance at the King Charles III coronation in May 2023, rumours circulated that the Nigerian female singer was, in fact, Ghanaian. This pattern continued when Hilda Baci, the Guinness World Record holder, was falsely claimed to be from Ghana, prompting former Minister of Education Obiageli Ezekwesili to express her concern at the rising phenomenon.
Adding to the list of mistaken identities, Nana Otedola, wife of Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola, took to TikTok in December 2023 to dispel persistent claims that she hails from Ghana.
Despite the seemingly serious nature of these claims, a subtle “inside joke” exists, with Nigerians reciprocating by claiming Ghanaians during moments of success and vice versa. Additionally, there are instances where, in jest, individuals are “gifted” to another country when they do not perform well, as illustrated in the following scenario:
Screenshot of Nigerians jokingly exchanging their celebrities with Ghanaians on X.
Contrary to the viral claim, our findings revealed that Rema has no citizenship connection with Ghana. His father, Late Justice Ikubor, was a former chieftain of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in Benin, Edo state.