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Beware, Nigeria – no evidence former Kogi governor Yahaya Bello said Peter Obi won the 2023 presidential election but he helped rig it for Tinubu

IN SHORT: A Facebook post claimed that a former governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello, has said he helped Nigerian president Bola Tinubu rig the 2023 election. But there is no credible evidence the embattled politician said so. 

A Facebook post claims that Yahaya Bello, the immediate past governor of Kogi state, said he helped Nigerian president Bola Tinubu to rig the 2023 election. 

“Tinubu Is a Thief, I Helped Him Rigged The 2023 Election, Peter Obi Won Him With Great Margin – Efcc Has No Right To Arrest Me Because The President of Nigeria Is Not illegal – Yahaya Bello Purportedly Opens Up,” the headline of a report linked to on Facebook reads.

It goes on: “One of the startling claims made in the messages suggests that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, allegedly engaged in fraudulent activities during the 2023 elections, with the assistance of an anonymous individual. The message further alleges that the election results were manipulated, resulting in an apparent victory for Tinubu, despite a significant margin of victory by his opponent, Peter Obi.” 

The same report was posted on Facebook here, here, here, here and here.

Bello was the governor of Kogi State for eight years, from January 2016 to January 2024.

On 18 April, Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) declared Bello wanted after he failed to appear for arraignment in court over N80 billion money laundering charges. 

Earlier, the anti-graft agency’s attempt to arrest Bello in Abuja failed because its agents met resistance by armed police officers guarding Bello’s home. According to media reports, Bello’s successor, governor Usman Ododo, arrived at the scene with more armed police and helped Bello evade arrest.   

Bello vied for the 2023 presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), against Tinubu and others. He later declared his support for Tinubu

Has he now turned against Tinubu and said Peter Obi of the Labour Party truly won the 2023 presidential election and claimed to have manipulated the election for Tinubu?

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No evidence of this claim 

Bello has been in the news and if he made such a statement publicly, it would be widely reported and political debates would ensue.

Obi and his supporters, the “Obidients”, believe he won the 2023 presidential election but that the results were manipulated to make Tinubu president. 

The presidential election was contested in court. The supreme court ruled that Tinubu was duly elected.

But if Bello really said this, it would show that the ruling party leader agrees with the “Obidients” and be viewed as an admission.

We found no credible media report about Bello making such a statement. There are no clues on his official communication channels. A recent post on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter, was published 13 April 2024 and includes photos of him shaking hands with Tinubu.

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