Back to Africa Check

Nigerian presidential candidate Bola Tinubu about to ‘shove Christian wife aside’ for a Muslim woman? Viral claim is ‘propaganda’ governing APC party says

IN SHORT: Religion plays a prominent role in Nigerian politics, but this claim doing the rounds is false.

A post circulating on Facebook claims the presidential candidate for Nigeria’s governing All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, is about to marry a Muslim wife. She would become the country’s first lady should Tinubu be elected in the 25 February 2023 elections. 

The post reads: “Senator Remi Tinubu has been shoved aside because she's a Christian. Bola Ahmed Tinubu is now set *to marry a new Muslim wife* on Saturday 18th February 2023, @ Katsina.”

Katsina state is in northern Nigeria.

Attached to the post is a video claimed to be the digital invitation to Tinubu's wedding to his new bride. The nuptials will supposedly be at the Katsina Central mosque on Saturday 18 February.

This wedding date would be one week before Nigerians choose a new president

Bola Tinubu is Muslim and is married to Oluremi Tinubu, who is Christian. Oluremi Tinubu is a third-term senator representing Lagos central district. She was also first lady of Lagos state from 1999 to 2007, when her husband was state governor.

The leadership of Nigeria has largely rotated between the north, which is majority Muslim, and the south, dominated by Christians.

A presidential ticket also tends to be split between the two religions, with the main candidate being from one and their running mate from the other.

For this reason Tinubu’s candidacy has been controversial. He is Muslim and from the south while his running mate Kashim Shettima is also Muslim, although from the north.

Some leaders had argued that for religious balance, Tinubu should have chosen a Christian running mate from the north.

Outgoing president Muhammadu Buhari, also of the APC, is Muslim while his deputy is Christian. 

The claim circulating on Facebook further alleges that Tinubu is marrying a Muslim because his wife Oluremi is considered to be an “infidel”.

An infidel is a person who does not believe in a religion that someone regards as the “true” religion.

The same claim appeared on Facebook here, here and here.

So is presidential candidate Tinubu about to “shove aside” his current wife and marry a Muslim woman? 

NigeriaElection_False

‘Infantile propaganda from the opposition’

Festus Keyamo is the spokesperson of the APC’s presidential campaign council.

He told a national newspaper that the claim was juvenile “propaganda” from rivals hoping to discourage Oluremi Tinubu’s supporters.

“It is obviously one of those infantile propaganda from the opposition. They are just desperately targeting the Christian votes that his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, is bringing to the ticket and they know she is a pastor.”

Keyamo said he “won’t be surprised” if the allegation came from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the main opposition party in the country.

The PDP’s presidential candidate is Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and one of the four frontrunners in the presidential election.

As the election draws closer there has been an increase in similar disinformation, including a claim that another presidential candidate had changed his running mate. Like that, this supposed news about Bola Tinubu should be ignored.

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on africacheck.org.

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.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.