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Obasanjo’s ‘recent’ open letter to Buhari not new

Photo Credit: Zaaposts 3 mins read

Claim: Nigeria’s Daily Post newspaper, on June 13, 2021 published a news story which claimed that former president Olusegun Obasanjo “has again written an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari about the current state of the nation”.

This news story by Fikayo Olowolagba of Daily Post is false and misleading. The referenced letter from former President Olusegun Obasanjo to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari was published in July, 2019.

Full Text

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo ruled Nigeria as a civilian president for two terms (May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2007). That is apart from his time as a military ruler from 1976 to 1979.  

Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo has come to be known to write letters to incumbent presidents who occupy office after him. He wrote an open letter to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in 2013. He has also written three letters to President Muhammadu Buhari since his assumption of office as a civilian president (first in January 2018, second in January 2019 and a third in July, 2019).

Verification

Dubawa read the contents of all three letters written by Former President Olusegu Obasanjo to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and observed that the alleged ‘new’ letter by Daily Post is exactly the same as Obasanjo’s 2019 letter. There is no difference whatsoever in the contents, arguments and wordings of both letters.

Screenshot of the introduction of the 2019 letter from Punch Newspaper (left) and the alleged new letter from Daily Post (right) placed together
Screenshot of the conclusion of the 2019 letter from Punch Newspaper (left) and the alleged new letter from Daily Post (right) placed together

Dubawa also called Mr. Kehinde Akinyemi, the Special Media Assistant to Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday, June 13, 2021 and Mr. Akinyemi confirmed that his principal did not write a new letter to President Muhammadu Buhari in June, 2021.

This is not the first time that individuals and news organisations would recycle old letters from Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo as recently published.  On March 3, 2021, New Wave Reporters published a post claiming Obasanjo had written a new letter to President Buhari. Africa Check fact checked the story with a verdict that it was false. Facebook has also tagged the post as false information.

Screenshot of the Facebook tag on the New Wave Reporters message

Conclusion

The news story by Fikayo Olowolagba of Daily Post claiming that former President Olusegun Obasanjo “has again written an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari about the current state of the nation” is false and misleading. The writer merely recycled a previous letter from July, 2019. Apart from recycling old letters, there have also been reports of creating ‘fake’ letters allegedly by Mr. Obasanjo. In October 2011, the BBC claims that the Nigerian Police arrested four journalists after Mr. Obasanjo “accused them of publishing a letter with a forgery of his signature”.

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