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Using clickbaits to frame an Obasanjo-Buhari conflict

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An online news blog “Page36 News” on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 published a story with a headline claiming that former president Olusegun Obasanjo charged African youth “to ‘chase’ out all the old politicians like President Buhari from office”.

The headline of the story claiming former president Olusegun Obasanjo charged African youth “to ‘chase’ out all the old politicians like President Buhari from office” is misleading.

Full Text

On Wednesday, August 12, the Youth Development Centre, an arm of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, organised a virtual event to mark the 2020 International Youth Day.

Nigeria’s former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, delivered the keynote address at the event which was said to have drawn participants from different parts of the world. 

The Punch newspaper reports that the former president at the virtual event charged African youth to“dislodge older generation from leadership positions.”

“Unless you squeeze out those who are in office and those who want to remain in office perpetually, some after the age of 80, unless you squeeze them out, they will not want to be out,” Obasanjo said.

However, in its own version, Page36 News published the story with the headline: Olusegun Obasanjo Charges Nigerian Youths And Other Youths In Africa, To ‘Chase’ Out All The Old Politicians Like President Buhari From Office.

A screenshot of Page 36 News’ story claiming Obasanjo “charged African youths to ‘chase out all the old politicians like President Buhari from office”. Source: Page 36 News

Using the CrowdTangle monitoring tool to check the report on social media, Legit.ng discovers it has been posted on five popular Facebook pages with over 400 interactions as of Tuesday, August 18. On Page 36 Facebook’s page, the post has been shared over 100 times with over 50 comments. 

A screenshot of Page 36 News’ Facebook . Source: Facebook.com/Page23news

Verification

Legit.ng conducted a keyword search which showed several other media outlets, such as Premium Times, Vanguard, Business Day and Sahara Reporters also reported the former president’s statement.

The reports indicate that ex-President Obasanjo indeed enjoined African youth to wrest power from older generations. However, none of them state that the former president mentioned the name of President Buhari or any other African leader as Page36 News claimed in its headline.

Also, a further check of Page36 News’s version of the story shows that there was nowhere in the body of the story where Obasanjo mentioned President Buhari’s name. 

The former president only said: “Unless you squeeze out those who are in office and those who want to remain in office perpetually, some after the age of 80, unless you squeeze them out, they will not want to be out.”

Conclusion

Though the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, indeed enjoined African youths “to dislodge older generations from leadership positions,” he did not mention President Buhari’s name or the name of any other African leader. The headline of the story by Page 36 News is misleading and evident use of clickbaits to trigger incendiary passions.

This fact-check is a republished article from Legit per our Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with newsrooms and media organisations.

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