CLAIM: Peter Obi jets out to London over health issues.
VERDICT: FALSE. The spokesperson of the Labour Party, Yunusa Tanko, revealed that although Mr Obi travelled to London, it was not health-related and he is back in the country.
As it has become the norm, however disapproving, top Nigerian politicians ignore Nigerian hospitals and seek healthcare abroad. A Twitter user, Chigozirim Emeakayi (@GoziconC), asserted that the 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has flown to London due to personal health challenges.
Chigozirim, who had made the post on Wednesday morning, April 12, 2023, wrote, “Breaking… Peter Obi jets out to London over health issues. I wish him a quick recovery.
The tweet came amidst the ongoing controversy surrounding the detainment or detention of Mr Obi at Heathrow Airport in London. The incident sparked mixed reactions – outrage for most of it, from netizens on social media.
As of Friday, April 14, 2023, Chigozirim’s tweet had garnered over 131 thousand views, 147 retweets, 24 quoted tweets, and 1,098 likes.
However, in the comment section, some Twitter users questioned the accuracy of the tweet.
Tweep, LP J. O. M. (@drjeff60) countered the claim by posting a previous tweet by Mr Obi stating that he had been present at the official opening of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Specialist Hospital and St Charles Borromeo hospital, both in Nkpor local government of Anambra State.
Another Twitter user, Opeyemi (@mrpacavelli), rebuffed the veracity of the tweet, declaring that the 2023 LP presidential candidate would rather take health treatment in a local government in Nigeria than have it abroad.
Although there were people who disbelieved the claim, others like Omoba Segvil (@Segvill247) queried why Mr Obi would not treat himself in Anambra State, where he had been a two-time executive governor or even any of the eastern state
Another tweep, Aliyu Yahya (@cowboybabba), suggested that Mr Obi should go in the company of Arise Television morning host presenter Rufai Oseni, who, according to him, “looks sick”.
Due to the tweet’s controversy, DUBAWA investigated the claim’s authenticity.
Searches on Google related to the context of the claim showed no report that Mr Obi flew to London to get treatment. Available reports by The Guardian, Premium Times, and Daily Post only showed that Mr Obi travelled to London for the Easter break and was detained at Heathrow airport. All reports indicated that this happened on Friday, April 7, 2023.
We found a tweet posted by the LP presidential candidate on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, revealing that he had been in Nkpor, Anambra State, for an official opening of two new hospitals. The launch of these hospitals was reported to have occurred on Tuesday.
We contacted Mr Obi and his spokesperson, Valentine Obienyem, via phone calls and messages, but none responded.
We went ahead to reach the spokesperson of the LP, Yunusa Tanko, who revealed that although Mr Obi had indeed travelled to London, he had returned.
When DUBAWA inquired from him if Mr Obi had travelled for medical reasons, the LP spokesperson refuted this claim.
Our findings and comments from the LP spokesperson showed that although Mr Obi was in London recently, the claim is false.