ElectionsFact Check

Fact-checking claims by Peter Obi in post-election interview

After the February 25 presidential elections, Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party, was hosted on Channels TV for a post-election interview where he spoke about issues surrounding the presidential elections.

Mr Obi, who got 25 per cent of votes cast in the general election, said the election is the worst in Nigeria’s recent history and vowed to prove it to Nigerians.

The presidential candidate of the Labour party and the then-former governor of Anambra state called for the election to be cancelled, alleging breaches of the Electoral Act. He expressed disappointment with the newly introduced electronic voting system, known as Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), which was supposed to make manipulating results more difficult and the polls transparent.

Mr Obi is challenging the process of the 2023 presidential elections and the declaration of Mr Tinubu as president-elect. However, he has not offered any concrete proof to back up that he won the presidential election.

DUBAWA fact-checks claims made by Mr Obi in his Channels TV post-elections interview.

CLAIM 1: 

CLAIM: Nigerians have passed a vote of no confidence in INEC.

Verification: The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is the agency recognised by the constitution to organise an election. The 2023 election is the seventh conducted by INEC since the return of democracy in 1999.

INEC declared Bola Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress as the winner of the 2023 presidential election. Still, the two closest contestants, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the LP’s Mr Obi, have refused to concede defeat and have launched a formal challenge of the results in court.

Although some election observer groups and media organisations have made claims of lapses in the conduct of the election, no group has passed a vote of no confidence in INEC.

In its interim report, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), which deployed 1,000 members from its 128 branches to monitor the poll nationwide, identified some of the challenges it observed. These include “late arrival of INEC officials and ballot materials at the polling stations, malfunctioning of the biometric voter accreditation system (BVAS) machines, limited or non-transmission of results from polling units to the INEC Result Viewing (iReV) portal, insecurity at some polling units, including violent attacks on voters and officials, voters’ intimidation, snatching, and destruction of voting materials.” 

Despite these observations, the NBA said about 64.6 per cent of the voters its Election Working Group interviewed said they were either “somewhat satisfied” or “excellently satisfied” with the conduct of the polls. The report suggests that respondents do not consider the observed lapses significant enough to damage the integrity of the election.

Many Nigerians also said INEC’s failure to upload the results, as promised, is a major flaw that has cast doubt on the election’s credibility. 

PREMIUM TIMES editorial board said while some logistics challenges, malpractices and violence in some locations undermined the election, they believed the election demonstrated appreciable progress in the nation’s electoral process compared to past ones.

No fact supports the claim that Nigerians have passed a vote of no confidence on INEC.

Fact-checking claims by Peter Obi in post-election interview

Verdict: Misleading 

CLAIM 2:

CLAIM: INEC spends more than N400 billion to conduct an election.

Verification: Ahead of the general elections, INEC submitted a budget proposal of N305 billion for the 2023 general elections. The National Assembly approved the amount.

Then, the commission requested the sum of N50 billion for its 2023 budget, separate from the aforementioned amount.

The total amount approved for INEC in 2023 is N355 billion. First, N305 billion for the conduct of the 2023 general elections and N50 billion for their annual budget.

Therefore, it is incorrect to say INEC spends more than N400 billion to conduct an election.

Fact-checking claims by Peter Obi in post-election interview

Verdict: False

Source: Premium Times, Channels Tv

CLAIM 3:

Claim: More indigenes voted for me than the visitors in Lagos State.

Verification: After the final clean-up of its voter register, INEC said there are 93,469,008 eligible voters. 

Of this number, only 87.2 million people collected their Permanent Voters Cards, and the total number of actual voters on election day was only 24.9 million. 

A total of 1,347,152 people were accredited for the election in Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous state. 

Mr Obi won the presidential election in Lagos, polling 582,454 votes to defeat his closest challenger, Bola Tinubu of the APC, who scored 572,606 votes.

These are the figures announced by INEC. The commission didn’t classify the numbers by ethnic group. Hence, no data support the claim that more indigenes voted for one party than the other in Lagos state.

Fact-checking claims by Peter Obi in post-election interview

Verdict: Misleading

The researcher produced this fact-check per the DUBAWA 2023 Kwame Kari Kari fellowship partnership with premium times to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country. 

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