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Fact-checking Dino Melaye’s campaign claims on Kogi professors, longest marine cruise

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The much-awaited off-cycle election in Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa state is less than 24 hours away. Some of the major contenders have been in the news over their campaigns in various parts of the states as they strive to get the electorate’s support.

Recently, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi state, Dino Melaye, was interviewed on the Channels Television programme “Politics Today.”

During the programme, the governorship candidate said Kogi should be a global tourist attraction because of some of the natural reserves in the state. 

Mr Melaye claimed apart from the confluence, Kogi state has the longest marine cruise in the world from Lokoja to Onitsha, which has a total of eight hours ride.

He said: “Apart from the mineral resources, Kogi State is supposed to be a global tourist attraction. Apart from the confluence, our proximity to Abuja is an advantage. Kogi State is a gateway to 12 other states in this country. 

“The water that we are surrounded with is a veritable resource. If you go to Miami and have a marine cruise for four hours and 15 minutes, you’ll pay some dollars. Do you know that the longest marine cruise is the Miami cruise for four hours and 15 minutes? But do you know that from Lokoja to Onitsha is an eight-hour cruise, and you can’t find that anywhere in the world? 

“All I need to do is to advertise on CNN, Channels TV and Arise News for one year and tell the whole world that the farthest, longest marine cruise in the whole world is in Nigeria- in Lokoja.”

He further promised to unite the people of Kogi state and delve into other critical sectors to revamp the economy. 

“After uniting our people, we are going to work on our economy. After working on our economy, we are going to work on education. As I speak with you, outside Ekiti State, we have the highest number of professors, yet our university is like a glorified secondary school,” Mr Melaye said.

DUBAWA fact-checked some of the claims.

Claim 1: The longest marine cruise in the world is Miami’s four-hour and 15-minute cruise, and Lokoja to Onitsha will be about eight hours — Melaye

Verdict: False! Other marine cruises last for as long as 7 hours within Portugal, while other inter-country cruises last for 51 days to 274 days. 

Verification

The Miami four-hour cruise is a half-day boat tour. The airboats depart from Miami Beach to Everglades Park. Aside from the 45 minutes to an hour boat ride, the other hours cover wildlife shows and free time to walk the park and explore the exhibits. 

However, the tour lasts three to four hours upon hotel pick-up.

A keyword search on Google revealed a marine cruise in Lagos, Portugal, that lasts for about seven hours, exceeding Miami’s four-hour cruise by three hours. The meeting point, documented by Viator Tours, is the Marina de Lagos Edifício da Administração, Lagos, Portugal, with a pass by at Lagos, Marina de Lagos, Ponta Pe Piedade, Benagil, among others. Another seven-hour marine cruise was also offered from the same port. 

Also, tourists can spend up to six hours on a private fishing charter in Dubai. 

In January 2023, the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, launched what he described as the “world’s longest river cruise,” MV Gangan Vilas, which will begin its journey from Varanasi to Uttar Pradesh. 

The voyage is said to last for 51 days, travelling 3,200km via Dhaka in Bangladesh to Dibrugarh in Assam, India. Media reports note that the marine cruise will cover 27 river systems.

Also, the Royal Caribbean had announced a 274-night cruise around the world, tagged the ‘Ultimate World Cruise’ to set sail from Dec. 2023 to Sept. 2024, covering more than 50 destinations in 65 countries on all seven continents.

The company had described it as “the longest and most comprehensive world cruise out there.”

Claim 2: Kogi has the second-highest number of professors after Ekiti.

Verdict: Insufficient evidence. There is no sufficient evidence to support the claim that Kogi State has the second-highest number of professors. 

Verification

While the claim that Ekiti state has produced the highest number of professors has circulated over the years, there has been no sufficient evidence to prove this point. 

The long-standing claim is not unconnected to the fact that some Nigerians who had attained the professorship cadre come from Ekiti state. 

A survey by Statista showed that as of 2019, 11,900 professors were working at Nigerian universities. Categorising them by gender, the survey noted 1,800 female and 10,100 male professors. 

The survey, however, did not categorise the professors by their states of origin.

Also, the National Universities Commission in 2021 released the directory of full professors in the Nigerian University system. 

According to the commission, the Usman Dan Fodio University (UDUS) has the highest number of professors, with 36.44 per cent, followed by Obafemi Awolowo University, with 35.80 per cent. 

The University of Ibadan was 29.04 per cent, while the University of Lagos had only 14.75 per cent. 

However, the data released did not show the state of origin of the professors. It only included institutions where they serve. 

The claim that Kogi has the highest number of professors in Nigeria after Ekiti is, therefore, unsubstantiated and misleading as no data provides a breakdown of the state of origins of the professors available in the country. 

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