Evidence supports Nigerian governorship candidate's claim of degree from prestigious US university
IN SHORT: There are claims on social media in Nigeria that Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, who is in the race for governor of the key state of Lagos, does not have a degree. But despite first refuting it, his alma mater has confirmed he attended the institution.
Governors will also be elected in 27 other states.
(Read our fact-check: #LagosRace2023: Fact-checking claims by candidates seeking to govern Nigeria’s economic capital.)
As the election campaign continues, social media posts have emerged claiming that one of the candidates for Lagos, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, did not graduate from the US-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as he has claimed.
The second screenshot appears to be an email reply from an employee of the MIT registrar’s office, and reads: “We have no record of a person with this name as a former MIT student.”
But is it true Rhodes-Vivour lied about his education?
‘Untrue and another failed strategy’
In a tweet on 8 March, Rhodes-Vivour shared the screenshots and stamped them “FAKE NEWS”.
He wrote: “This is untrue and another failed strategy the opposition is using to divert your attention from having an issue based campaign.”
A national daily newspaper, the Premium Times, also asked MIT about the claim. The university confirmed Rhodes-Vivour was an alumnus.
But it also confirmed that the initial response from MIT, shared as a screenshot, was authentic.
“The MIT Registrar’s Office was initially asked to search for a variation of Mr Rhodes-Vivour’s name that did not match the information in their database,” Sarah McDonnell, a spokesperson, said.
“Upon further review, they can confirm that Mr Rhodes-Vivour attended MIT and earned a Master of Architecture degree … ,” she told the Premium Times.
The screenshots circulating on social media are genuine, but MIT corrected themselves and confirmed Rhodes-Vivour did receive a degree from the institution.
Republish our content for free
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.