Back to Africa Check

No evidence letter is Nigerian presidential hopeful Abubakar’s proposed list of cabinet members

IN SHORT: Have elders in northern Nigeria, a political stronghold of opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar, already drawn up a list of cabinet members in exchange for their support? No, a letter claiming this is false.

A letter circulating online lists names of proposed cabinet members for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar if he wins the election.

Abubakar is one of the frontrunners in Nigeria's presidential election on 25 February. He was vice president from 1999 to 2007.

The PDP is the main opposition party.

The letter is claimed to be from the office of the former Nigerian national security adviser and PDP member general Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, on behalf of the party’s “northern core-caucus elders forum”.

It reads:

Greetings and well wishes to Your Excellency from the elders and forum of the People Democratic Party northern core-caucus.on behalf of the underlisted individuals, hereby forward the proposed list of appointments to the cabinet of incoming President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as per our verbal discussion at the closing rally of our great party, the PDP. Sir, kindly review and take note of the underlisted proposed positions as agreed.

The letter has been posted on Facebook here, and on Twitter here, here and here.

Abubakar will be banking on the north to swell his vote basket, making the letter credible.

But did Gusau write a letter to Abubakar with this list of proposed cabinet members?


‘Propaganda and no truth to it’

Abubakar’s media aide, Paul Ibe, told Africa Check that the letter was a “poor job” and “propaganda”.

Ibe said: “General Gusau is too experienced to do such a thing. Of course Atiku Abubakar would have those who he will want to be in his cabinet but not to the extent that General Gusau will be the one to put pen to paper to write a list.”

He added: "There is no truth in it.”

We found no evidence that Gusau wrote a letter to Abubakar with a list of proposed cabinet members.

This report was produced in collaboration with the Nigerian Fact-checkers' Coalition.

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

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.