IN SHORT: A Nigerian-American professor of history winning a prestigious international prize led to congratulations from prominent politicians. But there’s no evidence to show that Saheed Aderinto welcomed the praise from Peter Obi while snubbing president-elect Bola Tinubu.
Screenshots circulating on Facebook in Nigeria appear to show the winner of an annual prize saying he hopes Nigeria’s president-elect Bola Tinubu will restore the country’s “stolen mandate”, while calling Tinubu’s rival Peter Obi “My President elect”.
Prof Saheed Aderinto is a Nigerian-American professor of history and African and African diaspora studies at Florida International University in the United States.
He was announced the 2023 winner of the Dan David prize, alongside eight other history scholars, on 28 February.
The prize of US$300,000 is awarded annually to nine outstanding contributors to the study of history.
The first screenshot posted appears to show a tweet from Nigerian president-elect Bola Tinubu congratulating Aderinto on his achievement, and Aderinto’s reply. It reads: “Thanks anyway for the recognition, I hope you restore Our stolen mandate.”
The second screenshot shows a congratulatory tweet by Peter Obi, leader of the Labour Party, to which Aderinto appears to respond “thank you My President elect”.
Tinubu was declared winner of Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election by the Independent Electoral Commission on 1 March.
His win is being challenged in court by Obi and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party.
These different responses are posted side by side by Facebook users, apparently to show that Aderinto took a swipe at Tinubu and doesn’t support him.
The screenshots appear on Facebook here, here and here.
But did Aderinto snub Tinubu while calling Obi “my president elect?” We checked.
‘Not on Twitter’
The screenshots show the replies, supposedly from Aderinto, originating from an account with the handle @Aderinto0 and the professor’s photo as profile picture. But this account doesn’t exist.
And on 13 March Aderinto took to Facebook to say: “I don't have a Twitter account.”
The professor said he “didn't make those statements”.
According to a fact-checking report by CDD Fact Check published on 17 March, the account that responded to Tinubu was “a parody account” that changed its username from @Aderinto0 to @ellup81 after the tweets in the screenshot were posted.
Some responses to the tweets in the screenshots link back to @ellup81’s account.
But there is no evidence that the history professor Saheed Aderinto might support Obi over Tinubu, or has made any public comment to that effect.
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