Peter Obi, the former two-term governor of Anambra State, challenged the myth about presidential elections in Nigeria being a two-horse race. Representing the Labour Party (LP) and as an underdog, he took on big names like Bola Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), where the former emerged victorious at the February 25 poll and at the Supreme Court in Oct. 2023.
Mr Obi’s journey was not all smooth sailing in the messy waters of Nigeria’s politics as he had to navigate through a storm of lies aimed at painting him in a bad light. In this listicle that also includes claims made after the election saga, we’ll uncover four instances when false information stuck to Peter Obi, revealing the truth behind each claim.
- Finding health in London
While Obi’s controversial detainment at London’s Heathrow Airport over some unidentified cases of impersonation was ongoing, one Chigozirim Emeakayi claimed via X (formerly Twitter) that the LP presidential candidate jetted off to London to treat undisclosed health issues.
We fact-checked this by conducting advanced searches on Google. We also contacted the party’s spokesperson, Yunusa Tanko and discovered it was a false claim aimed at demeaning Mr Obi’s health status, as seen here.
- EFCC’s visit
Obtaining a visit or summon from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) simply means one thing: the person is fraudulent, and the stigma is often never let go, even if the affected is afterwards declared free or without charges.
While the election process was ongoing, Naija PR, a popular Nigerian social media blogging platform, claimed that officials of the commission visited the presidential hopeful. This claim caused quite a stir on social media, particularly on X, where it was made.
When the Nigerian Fact Checkers’ Coalition spoke with EFCC’s spokesperson, we found out it was false as the officials only went to a polling unit in Ikeja.
- Tribalism in court
One fear about the 62-year-old politician is that nepotism would rule the day under his administration if elected to occupy Aso Rock. A Twitter influencer, Sarki (@Waspapping), attempted to spread this fear by rhetorically asking his followers that Peter Obi’s lawyers at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) were all from his [Obi’s] tribe.
Also, he claimed that the lawyers were the representatives of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who is still in detention.
However, our report found none of the claims were true.
- Hatchet buried
After the election in February, President-elect Tinubu promised to work with his opposition, stating that “political competition must now give way to conciliation and inclusive governance.”
However, both major oppositions chose not to accept the olive branch till the Supreme Court consolidated Tinubu’s victory. The court’s decision is still not forgotten by Obi’s supporters, who had championed the #AllEyesOnTheJudiciary hashtag campaign, insisting that the court be fair in dealings. Amidst all of these, a picture of Peter Obi’s supposed visit to Aso Rock went viral. This picture is considered a betrayal of his supporters’ loyalty to the Labour Party candidate.