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Did Nigerian governor Willie Obiano urge his APGA party’s supporters to kill members of the PDP?

As Nigeria prepares to vote in strongly contested elections on 16 February 2019, a new controversy is spreading on social media.

A widely shared Facebook post claims Willie Obiano, the governor of Anambra State in South-East Nigeria, has urged members of his All Progressives Grand Alliance party to kill supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party.

On 8 February Ikechukwu Onyia, an apparent supporter of PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, posted the following on Facebook:

Yesterday, desperate Gov Willie Obiano adopted violence option like El-Rufai in his attempt to coerce people to get Buhari reelected.

Here is what was reported that he told APGA Stakeholders yesterday in Awka :

"Even if you kill anybody in your quest to make sure that PDP did not win your ward, I will bail the person. You must do everything possible to make sure that PDP did not win and I repeat, if you must kill, kill… Meanwhile, money won't be the issue ..."

- Willie Obiano to APGA Stakeholders

(7th Feb. 2019 )

Onyia then warns the governor that he could face consequences such as ending up at the International Criminal Court and being placed on a travel ban. By 13 February the post had been shared 64 times and attracted over 250 comments.

Obiano’s press secretary James Eze issued a statement dismissing the claim.

This incendiary comment published by Ikechukwu Emeka Onyia is absolutely untrue, misleading, unconscionable and totally condemnable,” he said.

Photos not of recent APGA meeting

Onyia’s post includes six photos. The first, of a gathering of people, has apparently not been published online before because both Google and Tineye reverse image searches yielded no result.

Obiano is not seen in the photo and there is no evidence it’s of APGA members in Anambra.

Another photo of Obiano speaking into a microphone is at least two years old, having been used in a February 2017 media report.

Three are old photos of the governor with President Muhammadu Buhari. And the sixth shows Obiano shaking hands with his predecessor Peter Obi, with whom he has had a frosty relationship. Obi is Abubakar’s running mate.

Obiano not at party gathering on 7 February

“Governor Obiano has never said anything like that to anybody,” Eze said. “He did not even attend any party gathering on Thursday the 7th of February as he was in mourning after attending the burial of the deceased APGA chieftain, Akunwata Mike Kwentoh, at Onitsha earlier in the day.”

The state commissioner for information and public enlightenment, Don Adinuba, also debunked the claim in a statement sent to Africa Check on 12 February.

Without mentioning names, Adinuba said it was the work of “politicians [who] have chosen to become desperados just because of an imminent electoral defeat”.

Africa Check contacted Onyia to ask him to provide evidence to back his claim. He is yet to respond. - Allwell Okpi (15/02/2019)


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