Footage of a group of politicians has circulated on social media with claims that it shows northern leaders of Nigeria’s ruling party meeting an opposition candidate from the same region. The posts claim it shows a potential conspiracy by the northern politicians against their own party, as the video was purportedly filmed after their ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party picked a southern challenger to contest the presidential race. However, this is misleading: the video has been circulating online since January 2022, months before parties held their presidential primaries.
The video shows Atiku Abubakar, an ex-vice president who recently became the presidential candidate for the main opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP), in the same room with Senate President Ahmad Lawan and other politicians from the APC, including governors of three of the country’s northern Yobe, Katsina and Jigawa states. Abubakar hails from the northern state of Adamawa.
A Facebook post sharing the clip, reads: “Northern APC governors and Senate President went to visit Atiku. These are people that just handed ticket of their party to Bola Tinubu and in less than 24 hours they are flocking together with the flag bearer of an opposition party.”
It continues: “If this is not conspiracy then tell me what it is. They collected all his dollar, gave him ticket and turned their backs immediately (sic).”
Screenshot of the false Facebook post, taken on June 10, 2022
More than 25,000 people have viewed the 30-second clip since it was published on June 8, 2022.
Power rotation between the mostly Christian south and the predominantly Muslim north is a major topic in Nigeria. With incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari from the country’s north stepping down next year, the home region and religion of his potential successor are key considerations among party stakeholders.
Bola Tinubu, the former governor of Nigeria’s southern Lagos state, was elected to be the ruling APC’s presidential candidate. He will face Abubakar and other candidates in a difficult battle next year to determine Buhari’s successor.
Video predates primaries
AFP Fact Check traced the source of the video by searching for the TikTok user handle “boboske1” displayed in the top left-hand corner of the clip.
We found the same user originally published the video on January 23, 2022 – about two months before party primaries began.
The original TikTok post does not mention anything about APC leaders paying a visit to Abubakar to discuss the 2023 elections.
A day before this video was first published on TikTok, Abubakar himself tweeted four pictures showing the same politicians. In his tweet, he explained that he visited Nigeria’s northern Katsina state to offer condolences to businessman Alhaji Dahiru Mangal, whose mother had died.
Earlier today, I paid a condolence visit to Alhaji Dahiru Mangal in Katsina over the loss of his beloved mother and matriarch of their family, Hajiya Murja Bara'u. I pray that Almighty Allah will comfort the family and grant her Aljannah Firdaus in Paradise. pic.twitter.com/uCGGn5WnD3
— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) January 22, 2022
Mangal is a prominent Katsina-born businessman who manages investments in multiple companies, including Nigerian airline Max Air.
The room’s furniture, the politicians’ clothing and other physical features visible in Atiku's photos match those in the TikTok clip.
Screengrabs from the video showing outfits on the politicians (centre) and Abubakar’s photos showing the same clothes (top and bottom)