LIVE-CHECK: Nigeria’s 2023 Governorship and State Assembly ElectionsBy FactCheckHub on March 18, 2023
The electorate in 28 States of the Nigerian federation will today elect their respective state’s chief executives. They will also be electing members of the State Houses of Assembly in the country’s 36 states.
All 18 registered political parties in Nigeria are fielding over 400 governorship candidates in the 28 states in today’s poll.
Eleven state governors are seeking re-election at the poll. The states are Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Oyo, Yobe and Zamfara.
Meanwhile, 17 new governors are expected to emerge in today’s contest from the following states: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, and Taraba states.
Similarly, a total of 10,231 candidates are vying for 993 seats in the 36 state houses of assembly.
The Nigerian Fact-checkers’ Coalition (NFC) brings you live-check of election-related misinformation and disinformation spreading online and on television on March 18 Election Day.
Do you have an election-related claim you want us to fact-check?
This page is constantly being updated with verified checks. Kindly scroll downward to read the latest checks.
READ: 2023 Presidential/National Assembly Election Day Live-Checks HERE
Our team of researchers, fact-checkers, social media monitors, editors, misinformation & disinformation experts drawn from the coalition partners, are working from the coalition’s Election Situation Rooms located in Abuja, Lagos and UK, to debunk misinformation and disinformation contents targeted at inciting violence and voter’s apathy on Election Day or influencing the outcome of elections.
Here are the live-checks:
CLAIM: Social media users share a letter claiming Labour Party, Lagos chapter has replaced gubernatorial candidate Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour with another.
FINDINGS: The NFC contacted Sam Emeka Okpala, the Lagos state Secretary of the Labour Party, who explained that the widely circulated letter was forged.
Also, the LP Lagos state chapter debunked the report via its Twitter handle, explaining that the candidacy of Mr Rhodes-Vivour had not been changed.
SOURCE: Lagos State LP Secretary
CLAIM: A Twitter user claims that the Lagos chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has collapsed its structure for LP governorship candidate Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour.
FINDINGS: The Lagos state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has debunked the claim. Also, the Director of Strategy and Communication, Lagos PDP governorship campaign, Seun Soyinka, told NFC that the claim is false.
SOURCE: Lagos PDP governorship campaign team
CLAIM: Twitter users claim that thugs have destroyed a polling unit at Sangotedo, Ajah, in Lagos State.
FINDINGS: The NFC contacted the state’s CODE Election observer Daniel Atebe Joseph, who clarified that no election disruptions have occurred in the area so far. The observer stated that the only setback encountered in the vicinity was the case of INEC officials being late, causing rowdiness. However, the situation has been doused.
SOURCE: CODE election observer
CLAIM: Senator Dino Melaye claims that security forces arrested some thugs associated with APC in Lagos state yesterday, March 17.
FINDINGS: The video Mr Melaye tweeted was first shared by a Twitter user on May 29, 2022, with a different narrative. A news media, Oyo Affairs, also made a report regarding the video on the same day, stating police intercepted thugs trying to disrupt APC primaries in Oyo state.
SOURCES: Oyo Affairs, Twitter
CLAIM: In a video shared on Twitter, some thugs threaten to kill voters if they don’t vote for APC. The incident was reported at PU 039, Sabo Oniba, Ojo, Lagos state.
FINDINGS: The NFC contacted the Lagos state’s CODE Election observer, Daniel Joseph, who noted that he got reports from the PU that thugs were threatening to kill voters if they didn’t vote for APC.
SOURCE: CODE Election Observer
CLAIM: A Twitter user @KingChrissie2 claimed results from polling units in Rivers state have been uploaded on the INEC result viewing portal as of 9:55am.
FINDINGS: As of 11:56am when the NFC visited the INEC IReV portal, the result landing page indeed indicates that two results have been uploaded out of over 6, 800 polling units in the state. However, the NFC cannot independently verify the polling units from which results were sent.
SOURCE: INEC IReV portal
CLAIM: Dino Melaye shared a video of a session in the UK parliament featuring a caption, “game over for the APC as UK parliament confirm elections was rigged.”
FINDINGS: In the video, a member of the UK parliament said some members of her constituency and the European Union have expressed “concerns of serious failures of technology, security and communication in the presidential election.” There was no mention of rigging or any political party.
SOURCE: Facebook video
CLAIM: The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) claimed that thugs have “reportedly hijacked and destroyed” electoral materials for State House of Assembly elections in four wards in Ogbia Local Government Area in Bayelsa State.
FINDINGS: Daily Trust’s correspondent in Bayelsa State, Willie Bassey, confirmed to NFC that the incident affected four wards as the hoodlums attacked the RAC centre in the community.
He added that the area affected is the Ogbia Constituency 2, Bayelsa State and not in the entire local government. According to a Daily Trust report, an anonymous INEC official states that the materials were burnt. Also, the State’s Police Public Relations Officer, Asinim Butswat, confirmed that the report occurred last night.
SOURCES: Daily Trust, Bayelsa state Police spokesperson
CLAIM: Social media users claimed APC thugs attacked a voter at a polling unit in Desa, Ibeju Lekki, in Lagos state.
FINDINGS: A CODE Observer in Lagos state, Daniel Atebe Joseph, confirmed the incident to be true. However, he told the NFC that he couldn’t determine if thugs were affiliated with any political party.
SOURCE: CODE Observer
CLAIM: Sahara reporters reported that thugs had destroyed election materials in Filling Safari, Mazugal Ward, Dala LGA, Kano State.
FINDINGS: Abbas Adamu, a CODE Election observer at the Filling Safari PU, confirmed to the NFC that thugs attacked the polling unit, dispersed voters and destroyed election materials.
SOURCE: CODE Election Observer
CLAIM: A media platform, Ogun Update, claimed that operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement (NDLEA) had arrested four party agents with over 100 credit cards meant for vote-buying at Ibara Housing Estate in Ogun State.
FINDINGS: A report by TheCable confirmed the arrest. Also confirmed by NDLEA on Twitter, the agency disclosed that the four agents had N10,000 on each card, which can be activated with a code.
SOURCES: The Cable, NDLEA
CLAIM: Adamu Garba, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), claimed reports of violence in Lagos state are false.
FINDINGS: There have been several reports of violence in different parts of Lagos state. A report by Punch Newspaper showed that there had been incidents of violence at Ilasa, Oshodi Isolo and Agungi in the Lekki Eti Osa areas of Lagos state. Also, the NFC had confirmed a violent incident in PU 039 in Sabo, Oniba, Ojo, Lagos and Desa polling unit at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos state.
In its live reporting, Arise TV also documented incidents of violence in some parts of Okota in Lagos state.
SOURCES: Punch Newspaper, CODE Observer, Arise TV.
CLAIM: Social media users claim the managing director of Kano Line Transport, who is also an APC chieftain, Bashir Aliko Koki, was arrested for electoral violence.
FINDINGS: The NFC contacted the Public Relations Officer, Kano state Police Command, SP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa. He confirmed that some men were arrested for electoral violence in the Gwammaja area of Dala LGA in Kano state.
He added that persons who know Koki claim he was one of the men in the photo. However, the Kano state Police Command is still carrying out investigations to verify the identity of the men in the photo.
SOURCE: Kano state Police spokesperson
CLAIM: Sahara Reporters in a Twitter post claims five thugs have been arrested in Anambra state.
FINDINGS: The news of the arrest of five thugs in Anambra state was also reported in other media organisations. Radio Nigeria and Premium Times reported the State Commissioner of Police for Election in Anambra state, Aderemi Adeoye, saying the five thugs were arrested in the Ihiala local government area of the state during the state House of Assembly election on 18 March.
SOURCES: Radio Nigeria and Premium Times
CLAIM: Viral video on WhatsApp alleges thugs are harassing the police.
FINDINGS: A keyword search on YouTube shows the video was posted a year ago on YouTube shorts by @ejidetv7725. While this is a true event, the video is not about this election.
CLAIM: Former Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, claimed that INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, worked under the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, as Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).
FINDINGS: Yakubu was the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) from August 2007 to August 2012. Wike was appointed the Minister of State for Education in July 2011.
According to the TETFUND Act, the Executive Secretary is appointed by the President, and he/she reports to the Board of Trustees.
The Fund is managed by an 11-member Board of Trustees, including a representative of the Federal Ministry of Education, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Federal Inland Revenue Services.
SOURCE: TETFUND website
CLAIM: A blog post by Barristerng, claims the United Kingdom (UK) said its visa application centres in Lagos would be closed on March 20 over the likely outbreak of post-election violence in the state.
FINDINGS: In a statement published on Twitter on Friday, the British High Commission in Nigeria said its visa application centres (VACs) in Ikeja and Victoria Island will be closed on Monday March 20th to protect the safety of its customers and staff. It added that there are no visa application appointments booked on the said date, and customers will not be able to access the centres to collect documents/passports.
SOURCE: UK in Nigeria
CLAIM: A claim on Twitter suggests that thugs in Fadeyi area of Lagos, were chanting, “if you no vote for APC, don’t come out o” earlier today.
FINDINGS: After a check using the InVID tool, the NFC discovered that the video has not been posted online before now. Other checks by NFC show that the video is authentic.
CLAIM: A Twitter user, @ChumaOrji3, claimed ‘PDP political thugs’ were caught at Isi Uzo LGA of Enugu State.
FINDINGS: CODE’s observer in Isi Uzo LGA, Ayogu Friday, who had firsthand information about the incident confirmed that some thugs were caught and handed over to security agents. However, he could not independently confirm if they were thugs from the PDP. An online newspaper, The Whistler, also reported the incidence.
VERDICT: PARTLY CORRECT
SOURCES: CODE OBSERVER, The Whistler
CLAIM: A Twitter user, @PIDOMNIGERIA, claimed that the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, was hospitalised on Monday and is in critical condition.
FINDING: According to TVC News and other media reports, Bola Tinubu cast his ballot earlier Saturday morning at his polling unit in Alausa, Ikeja area of Lagos State. The NFC contacted Tinubu’s media aide, Tunde Rahman, who clarified that the news was false. He reiterated that Mr Tinubu is fine.
SOURCES: TVC News; Tinubu’s spokesperson, Tunde Rahman.
*This live-check was jointly researched and written by members of the Nigerian Fact-Checkers’ Coalition (NFC): Nurudeen Akewushola, Faith Abeka, Fatimah Quadri (FactCheckHub); Rosemary Ajayi (Digital Africa Research Lab); Daniel Adaji (The Insight); Elizabeth Ogunbamowo, Lois Ugbede, Cole Praise, Silas Jonathan, Temilade Onilede, Lateef Sanni (Dubawa); Catherine Adeniyi, Motunrayo Joel, Allwell Okpi, Seyi Awojuyigbe, Fatimah Abubakar, Abisola Olasupo (Africa Check); Faruk Shuaibu (Daily Trust); Felix Tola-Winjobi (CDD); Rejoice Ewodage, Hannah Ajakaiye (FactsMatterNG); Bunmi Aduloju (The Cable); Shehu Olayinka and Bamas Victoria (ICIR).
It was edited and approved for publication by Kemi Busari, Caroline Anipah, Simbiat Bakare (Dubawa), David Ajikobi (Africa Check), Ajibola Amzat, and Opeyemi Kehinde (FactCheckHub).