By: Lois Ugbede and Christiana Amodu-Otinyia
Claim: “Viral image of a lady smoking hookah is the deputy governorship candidate of the Labour Party in Lagos.”
Verdict: FALSE. Our findings show that the hookah-smoking viral image is not the image of the Labour Party deputy governorship candidate, Princess Abiodun Oyefusi.
As the rescheduled governorship election in Lagos state and other states draw nearer, campaigns and counter-campaigns have intensified, heating the polity.
Recently, an image of a lady smoking hookah went viral with the claim she is the running mate of Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Lagos state.
The LP deputy governorship candidate for Lagos state is Princess Abiodun Oyefusi, whose running mate described as a “super capable running mate.” Oyefusi (@PrincessOyefus1) was a former Lagos East Senatorial District candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2019.
On Monday, March 13, 2023, Twitter user Ayekooto (@DeeOneAyekooto) suggested that the lady in the image was the deputy governorship candidate of LP.
“See the deputy governorship candidate of a certain political party in Lagos,” the tweet reads.
The post has garnered over one million views, 8,721 likes, 1,130 retweets, and 253 quote tweets as of Monday, March 13, 2023. Many Twitter users also posted the image with similar captions.
The image with the same narrative has also made it to Facebook. It was shared by Tunde Salam, who said “Lobatan,” meaning “it is finished” because the LP deputy governorship candidate was allegedly smoking.
“The Lagos State Deputy Governor under Labour Party- Princess Islamiyat Oyefusi,” the Facebook post reads. Lobatan!”
An advanced image search by Google also led to an article by Momedia with the headline “Don’t just vote, do your research – reactions as Kemi Olulonyo shares rare photos of Labour Party deputy governorship candidate of Lagos state”. The article referenced an Instagram post by controversial journalist Kemi Olulonyo with the same picture and claim.
A Twitter user Nkechi2Lagos (@NkechiofLagos2), who appeared to believe Oyefusi was the one in the image, criticised the act of trying to discredit a candidate due to smoking. What she described as an “irrelevant case”.
Reacting to the viral image, a Twitter user Persian Queen (@teeana_world), questioned the claim’s authenticity.
The virality of the image and the significance of this claim to voters’ perception prompted us to verify.
What is the source of the image?
Although DUBAWA could not identify the photo’s origin, it appeared it had been used earlier on social media platforms with different narratives.
From the allegation that the image is the deputy governorship candidate of LP to the narrative that it depicts the “next-generation of mothers,” social media users use it with various captions to share their biases. A Twitter user H.O.D Vawulence Dept for PO (@festiveplug), shared the image on March 10, 2023, tagging it “next generation mothers.”
A keyword search on Facebook further led to an earlier version of the image shared on March 7, 2023, alongside a tray of food by Ojong Agbor, attributing the person in the image to a certain Amaka.
Does the image have anything to do with Oyefusi?
Oyefusi addressed the viral image in a post on her official Twitter account, clarifying that the lady in the picture is not her. She tagged the narrative as propaganda.
The General Secretary of the LP, Lagos State, Sam Okpala, in a phone interview with DUBAWA’s researcher, stated the claim is untrue and attributed it to the handwork of detractors.
“Our deputy governorship candidate is a respected Princess in Lagos, and she does not smoke,” he said.
A Twitter user (@festiveplug) who shared the image on March 10, 2023, stated he knows the lady in the picture and it is not the candidate.
“This picture came from me, and I know this lady Smoking. I wonder how someone will match this image and see any resemblance,” @festiveplug wrote.
DUBAWA reached out to him for more details and further verification. He reiterated that the person in the image is not LP candidate Abiodun Oyefusi. He claimed that the lady is South African. However, he would not divulge the name of the person.
Comparative analysis of Abiodun Oyefusi and the hookah-smoking lady
Aside from the alleged picture of the lady smoking hookah has appeared on several social media platforms with different narratives, a comparative analysis of the said picture with another photo of the LP candidate on Forensically highlights apparent differences.
Different finger knuckles
The upper finger knuckles of the LP candidate (left) are smoother and less dark than the smoking lady. Additionally, the LP candidate has slimmer and longer fingernails than in the alleged picture.
Unique nose features
A comparative analysis of the nose features shows Oyefusi has a somewhat protruding nose than the one in the alleged picture. While the smoking lady appears flat and more open, that of the LP candidate is more pointy and enclosed.
Nasolabial Folds (facial line)
The candidate has a facial line known as the Nasolabial fold. This feature is not present in the face of the smoking lady as encircled in red. While both ladies appear to have pear-shaped faces, the lady smoking hookah has no facial lines or demarcations on her face.
Our findings show that the Labour Party deputy governorship candidate, Abiodun Oyefusi is not the woman in the hookah-smoking picture. The claim is false.