Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi state citizens go out today, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, to vote in off-season elections. Candidates for the polls will only be vying for the governorship seat in each state.
To ensure the accuracy of information during this period, the Nigerian Fact-checkers Coalition is carrying out a live fact-check to verify misleading information shared on social media.
FINDING: A keyframe analysis of the footage using the INVID video verification plug-in showed that it was captured in 2021 as seen here, and here. News reports documented that the fire incident was a result of reprisal attacks between military men and gunmen in the Ishieke junction area of the Awo Ommama community in Oru East LGA, Imo state.
SOURCE: INVID; BBC Pidgin, and Punch
CLAIM: A Facebook page, Idan News Blog, on Nov. 11 2023, shared a video showing burning shops with the claim that it emanated from the 2023 Imo State governorship election.
FINDING: NFC carried out a Google Reverse Image search on some of the keyframes in the footage, which showed a similar video on Nov. 23, 2021 on a Facebook page, BT Afrika, with a different context. According to the page, the damaged shops and fire are the aftermath of Nigeria soldiers’ shootout with some unknown gunmen. The Cable also reported the event.
SOURCE: Google, The Cable
CLAIM: An X user named Somto Onuchukwu alleged that people are protesting “prefilled result sheets” at “all polling units” in Kogi State.
FINDING: INEC, in a report published by Punch on November 11, affirmed that pre-filled result sheets had been discovered in PU 004, Eni Ward of Ogori/Magongo, and some other polling units, but not all the 3,508 polling units in Kogi State.
VERDICT: PARTLY CORRECT
CLAIM: An X user, Mo-Mo (@Morris_Monye), claimed that a Labour Party representative was “beaten up” by miscreants suspected to be APC party loyalists at the Imo collation centre in the presence of some Nigerian policemen, and it was covered by national television stations present at the scene.
FINDINGS: NFC watched available videos on TVC and Channels TV and also spoke with Tunde Ososanya of the BBC, who revealed that a Labour Party agent, Calistus Ihejiagwa, was beaten up by security officers, and not APC thugs. Ihejiagwa fervently disrupted the collation proceeding when the Orlu LGA was about to be collated. Ihejiagwa had earlier filed a petition to the state’s returning officer, Prof Abayomi Fashina, FUOYE’s Vice Chancellor, who explained that his jurisdiction does not cover accepting petitions, and thus delaying the collation process for more than an hour.
SOURCES: TVC, Channels TV, BBC
CLAIM: A Facebook blog, Kogi Global Media, has claimed that the police arrested Olayinka Braimoh, the governorship candidate of Action Alliance (AA) in Kogi state, on Election Day (Nov 11).
FINDINGS: William Ovye, the spokesperson for the Kogi State Police Command, confirmed the arrest, stating that Braimoh was apprehended on Election Day for violating the state’s movement restriction order.
SOURCES: William Ovye, Kogi Police spokesman
CLAIM: PDP candidate Dino Melaye posted a video alleging that fake policemen were caught in Ankpa local government area of Kogi state.
FINDINGS: Williams Ovye, Kogi Police spokesman, said the men (policemen) were arrested in Ankpa local government because they were not with their ID cards and were not supposed to be accompanying any official. He stated that the policemen were arrested for breaking that law, adding that they were not fake officers.
SOURCES: William Ovye, Kogi Police spokesman
CLAIM: An X (formerly Twitter) user @Uyscutti claimed the PDP governorship candidate in Kogi, Dino Melaye, did not mobilise party agents for the election.
FINDINGS: NFC contacted reporters on the field, and they confirmed that PDP agents were on the ground at various polling units in Kogi state. Reporters from Premium Times, Qosim Suleiman, and the ICIR, Bankole Abe, said they met PDP agents in all polling units they visited.
SOURCES: Premium Times & ICIR reporters
CLAIM: An X (formerly Twitter) User @mindset_post claimed that there were no voters in Okwuabala Ihioma in Orlu LGA as the number of accredited voters on the results sheet in the area was zero.
FINDINGS: A careful scrutiny of the result sheet shows that the number of accredited voters on the result sheet is six hundred and seventy-eight (678), while the number of spoiled papers is zero (0). The result from the said polling unit was uploaded on INEC IREV’s portal.
Voting didn’t take place in seven (7) polling units in Orlu LGA, according to a YIAGA Africa’s statement which clarified voting status across different locations in the state. The ICIR had also reported that the LP candidate in the state had called for the cancellation of results in some polling units due to the crisis and absence of security personnel in parts of Orlu and Orsu.
SOURCES: INEC iRev, YIAGA Africa, ICIR, NFC
CLAIM: A Facebook user, Nuru Shehu, claims that Governor Hope Uzodinmma has lost his polling unit to the PDP candidate, Samuel Anyawu.
FINDINGS: Uzodinmma’s polling unit is at Ekwenja Okwu-Ozu, PU032, Omuma, Oru East LGA. A Premium Times reporter sent NFC a result sheet from the PU showing Uzodinmma emerged victorious. A similar result sheet was found on the INEC collation website, showing that the sitting governor amassed 400 votes at the polling unit.
SOURCES: Premium Times Reporter, INEC
CLAIM: A Facebook page, Kogi Global Media, claimed that Governor Hope Uzodinma has won the elections in all local governments of the state.
FINDINGS: According to Premium Times, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the Imo State governorship election. Uzodinma won the elections in the 27 local governments of the state with a total vote of 523,817. Channels TV and Arise News also reported this.
CLAIM: Several Facebook users claimed that security operatives in Imo state arrested Akarachi Amadi, a lawmaker representing Mbaitoli and Ikeduru federal constituency. The posts claimed Amadi was arrested after he allegedly led a group of people to hijack election materials in the area.
FINDING: The NFC contacted Henry Okoye, the Imo police spokesperson. Mr Okoye dismissed the report but promised to provide further details after his findings. A quick keyword search also showed no credible media houses had reported the event.
VERDICT: Insufficient Evidence
SOURCES: Imo Police Spokesperson
CLAIM: A video was posted on Facebook by user @kelvin Lewis TV, who claimed that election materials/ballot papers had been tampered with before arriving at a polling unit in Imo State.
FINDING: A close look at the ballot shows it was marked “2023 GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION, RIVER STATE”. This shows that the video circulated is from the last general election in Rivers State, not from the off-cycle elections in Imo.
SOURCE: NFC’s video examination
CLAIM: “@PIDOMNIGERIA,” an X handle, alleged that INEC replaced trained NYSC Ad-hoc staff with suspected political party members in the Bayelsa state.
FINDING: Wilfred Ifogah, Head, Voter Education and Publicity for INEC, Bayelsa state office, denied such an occurrence, stating that no trained personnel was substituted with individuals from unknown sources. He mentioned that the individuals who participated in the election as ad-hoc staff were the ones who succeeded in the recruitment process.
SOURCES: Tribune Online.
CLAIM: After casting his vote in Bayelsa on Saturday, Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan claimed that seven Nigerian states hold off-cycle elections.
FINDING: Eight states in Nigeria operate on an off-cycle calendar owing to election petition tribunal rulings. The states include Anambra, Ondo, Edo, Bayelsa, Kogi, Osun, Ekiti, and Imo.
CLAIM: Morris Monye, a prominent Labour Party member, claimed on X there was a bomb blast near INEC Road in Yenagoa, Bayelsa, involving explosives.
FINDING: We searched for this on credible media platforms covering the election, but none published such. The police PRO said there was an explosion in Kpansia (over a kilometre away) earlier in the week but not at INEC Road as claimed.
SOURCES: Google, Bayelsa police
CLAIM: An X user claimed security operatives intercepted a Labour Party chieftain with money and voting materials at Isiala Mbano LGA of Imo State.
FINDING: The NFC contacted the Imo police spokesperson, Henry Okoye, who said the claim was false. We observed that the images used by the claimant had been taken from various unrelated incidents in the past. A Google reverse image search on the first image showing a bag of money revealed that the image was taken from the 2019 election in Benue and the fourth during the 2023 elections.
SOURCES: Imo police spokesperson; The Guardian; ICIR
FACT-CHECK AUTHOR(s): Elizabeth Ogunbamowo
CLAIM: Using an image to corroborate his claim, an X user, @DEMAN004, tweeted that armed thugs recently invaded polling units in Bayelsa, in which they hijacked election materials and threatened voters and INEC officials.
FINDING: We analysed the picture with TinEye, a reverse image search engine tool, and discovered that the photo the claimant used to depict the violence is from 2019.
CLAIM: A Video shared by Facebook user @ONYII NWA IMO claimed that Imo voters have resorted to staying indoors as only a few people are at different polling units in Owerri, the state capital.
FINDING: Tunde Ososanya, a BBC Reporter covering the election in Imo, in a telephone conversation, confirmed that the incident of low voter turnout in Owerri and other parts of Imo State is true. He noted that the low turnout might be tied to heavy security presence in the state. This was also corroborated by Mark Adebayo, spokesperson of the Coalition of Political Parties in Nigeria, in an interview with TVC news.
SOURCES: BBC Reporter Tunde Ososanya & Spokesperson of the Coalition of Political Parties in Nigeria Mark Adebayo, in an interview with TVC news.
FACT-CHECK AUTHOR(s): ALEFIA FRIDAY JAMES
EDITORS: Bamas Victoria and Simbiat Bakare
CLAIM: PDP gubernatorial candidate Senator Dino Melaye tweeted a press statement that the LP and PDP have formed an alliance in Kogi and have resolved to adopt him as the candidate for both parties.
FINDING: The LP spokesperson Yinusa Tanko debunked it. In a phone interview, he told DUBAWA that he was unaware of such an alliance. There is also no such press release on the LP’s website or social media pages.
SOURCES: LP spokesperson Yinusa Tanko
FACT-CHE CK AUTHOR(s): Lademi Aborisade
EDITOR: Simbiat Bakare
CLAIM: An X user, Nwa (@nwaadaz), claimed that according to TCT News, the Imo state governor, Hope Uzodinma, killed more than 500 youths in his first tenure.
FINDING: Over 400 deaths through violence were recorded in Imo between Jan. 2019 and Dec. 2021. In the first quarter of 2022, more than 25 fatalities were recorded. There was insufficient evidence to prove the number of youth fatalities within Uzodinma’s first term; however, no death reports were attributed to him. There is also no news platform called TCT News.
SOURCES: Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND)
FACT-CHECK AUTHOR: Phillip Anjorin
EDITORS: Simbiat Bakare
CLAIM: An X user, Sonia (unahsonia), shared some pictures of a burnt vehicle and claimed that it was the result of electoral violence sponsored by the Imo state governor, Hope Uzodinma.
FINDINGS: We ran a reverse image search on both pictures and discovered the incident is not recent. It happened around 8 am on Oct. 2, 2023, at Ezzangbo junction along Abakaliki Enugu highway, Ohanukwu LGA, Ebonyi state.
SOURCES: Google Lens
FACT-CHECK AUTHOR: Phillip Anjorin
EDITORS: Simbiat Bakare & Bamas Victoria
This live-check was jointly researched and written by members of the Nigerian Fact-Checkers’ Coalition (NFC): Nurudeen Akewushola, Fatimah Quadri (FactCheckHub); Rosemary Ajayi (Digital Africa Research Lab); Daniel Adaji, Farida Salifu (NatureNews); Elizabeth Ogunbamowo, Lois Ugbede, Cole Praise, Temilade Onilede, Lateef Sanni, Sunday Awosoro, Philip Anjorin, Lade Aborisade, Maxine Danso (DUBAWA); Catherine Adeniyi, Allwell Okpi, Fatimah Abubakar, Muktar Balogun, Semilore Adelola, Denzel Amobi, (Africa Check); Faruk Shuaibu (Daily Trust); Rejoice Ewodage, Hannah Ajakaiye (FactsMatterNG); Claire Mom (The Cable); Temiloluwa Erinle, Alefia Friday James, Muyiwa Adekojede (RoundCheck); Theophilus Adedokun; Shehu Olayinka, Blessing Otoibhi (ICIR).
It was edited and approved for publication by Kemi Busari, Simbiat Bakare (DUBAWA), Motunrayo Joel, David Ajikobi (Africa Check), Ajibola Amzat (CCIJ), Opeyemi Kehinde (FactCheckHub) and Bamas Victoria (ICIR).