IN SHORT: With Bola Tinubu set to officially take over as Nigeria’s president on 29 May 2023, there are many false claims circulating on social media about his election victory and inauguration. One of those is that his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, has said Tinubu won’t be sworn in until he’s cleared by the courts. But it’s not true.
A message circulating on Facebook claims Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari said president-elect Bola Tinubu won’t be sworn in until he is cleared by the court.
It claims Buhari made the statement at the 2023 Nigerian army trooping and presentation of colours parade, which was held in the capital Abuja on 27 April.
The Facebook post reads: “Tinubu cannot be sworn in as President of Nigeria on the 29th of May until he is cleared by the court and well-satisfied by the court to assume the seat of the president – Buhari assured Nigerians.”
It quotes Buhari as saying: “We can't give a man power when his election bide are still in court, he will use his power if given, to overshadow the court.”
It also links to an article on a news blog called Igbo Times Magazine, with the same headline.
The message also appears here, here, here, here, here and here.
But did Buhari say Tinubu wouldn’t be sworn in until the courts confirmed his 2023 presidential election victory?
Tinubu not mentioned in Buhari’s speech
The Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) declared Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) the president-elect after he received the highest number of votes in the 25 February presidential election.
He is expected to be sworn in on 29 May, when Buhari leaves office.
The conduct and outcome of the presidential election have been controversial. Opposition parties rejected Inec’s declaration of Tinubu as the winner.
Several groups and individuals want the petitions at the election tribunal resolved before the inauguration.
However, since 1999, Nigerian presidents have been inaugurated despite unresolved election petitions. The court cases have gone on for months after the swearing-in ceremony but a presidential election result has never been overturned.
Buhari’s speech at the army parade focused on highlighting his administration's efforts to improve the country’s military.
He did not mention Tinubu, the presidential election petitions or the inauguration.
The secretary to the federal government, Boss Mustapha, was quoted in the media saying the cases in courts wouldn’t stop the inauguration.
Buhari also said the 29 May handover date remained “sacrosanct”. He has also called the election largely credible.
The presidency has continued to prepare for the inauguration while the military has warned those who might attempt to disrupt the event.
There is no evidence Buhari said Tinubu wouldn’t be sworn in until the courts had cleared him.
Such claims could spark protests and should not be shared.
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