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No, influential former governor of Rivers state Nyesom Wike didn’t say Peter Obi won Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election

IN SHORT: As the Labour Party's presidential candidate Peter Obi challenges the result of Nigeria’s February 2023 election, online claims have been made that he has received support from an influential politician. A quote is being taken out of context.

A post published to Facebook in Nigeria attributes a quote to the former governor of Nigeria’s Rivers state, Nyesom Wike.

The post reads: “Labour Party (LP) Presidential Candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, won the February 25, 2023 election, Rivers State Governor, Barr. Nyesom Wike, has said in a trending video. Wike said in the 42 seconds video clip: ‘The winner of this election, whether you like am or you no like-am, is Obi. The winner of this election is Obi.’”

Wike is a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). After losing the PDP presidential primary to Atiku Abubakar in May 2022, Wike fell out with the party.

He boycotted the party’s presidential campaign, along with four other governors.

Peter Obi was the presidential candidate for the Labour Party.

Although Wike said he would announce his preferred candidate from among the major contenders, he never did.

Obi had accused Wike of working against him during the presidential election, a charge Wike denied.

The Facebook post claims that Wike said Obi won the 2023 presidential election, not Bola Tinubu, the ruling party’s candidate who was sworn in on 29 May.

Tinubu’s razor-thin victory is being challenged in court by his rivals, including Obi. The post refers to this when it says “the law will take its course”.

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

But did Wike say that Obi won the presidential election? 


Quoted out of context

An online search led us to a video posted on 11 March of Wike addressing a town hall with traders in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers state.

Wike said in pidgin: “For me for this election wey we do Obi as far as I am concern na him be my hero. If Obi didn’t run this election, power for go back to the North.”

This translates to: “In this recent election, Obi is my hero, as far as I’m concerned. If he didn’t contest, power would have gone back to the north.”

Former president Muhammadu Buhari is from Katsina, a state in northern Nigeria, and Abubakar is from Adamawa in the same region.

Obi hails from Anambra, a state in the southeast, and Tinubu is from Lagos state in the southwest.

In Nigeria, power has tended to rotate between the north and the south.

Wike didn't claim that Obi had won the election, only that he was his hero for splitting the vote and preventing power from returning to the North.

The Facebook posts have quoted him out of context.

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