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No, Nigeria’s opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar has not retired from active politics, ‘press release’ fake

IN SHORT: The runner-up in Nigeria’s February 2023 presidential election has hung up his boots, online claims would have you believe. He denies this.

Posts circulating on Facebook claim to be from a press release that says Nigerian opposition leader Atiku Abubakar has retired from active politics. 

Abubakar, a former vice president, came second in Nigeria’s presidential election on 25 February 2023, running on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket. He has been seeking the top job since 2007.  

“2023 PDP presidential candidate Alh. Atiku Abubakar retires from active politics and ready to join hands with president-elect Sen. Bola Tinubu to move Nigeria forward,” reads the headline of one post.

“On behalf of my family, friends and well-wishers, and in the best interests of Nigerians, and for the betterment of our great party, PDP, and our country, Nigeria, I, Atiku Abubakar, publicly announce my retirement from active politics,” the 27 March post read, in part.

According to the “press release”, Abubakar described his political journey as a success, despite never winning a presidential election.

It has also circulated on other pages on Facebook.

But is it true? We checked the claim.


Atiku: The press release did not emanate from me

We checked Abubakar’s official verified pages on Twitter and Facebook and saw the press release had not been published there.

It was also not published by any credible media organisations in Nigeria.

But the politician issued a statement, saying:. “I have been notified of a fake press release attributed to me purportedly giving legitimacy to the presidential election of Feb. 25. The press release did not emanate from me or from my office and it should be treated with repudiation.”

He added: “For the avoidance of doubt, I state categorically that my lawyers still have my unflinching mandate to challenge the outcome of the election.”

A similar statement was also posted on Abubakar’s verified Facebook page. There is no evidence that he is retiring.

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