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Photo manipulated – not evidence that Nigerian footballer John Mikel Obi endorses Tinubu for 2023 presidency

A photo of Nigerian football star John Mikel Obi and politician Bola Tinubu, holding a brown card with “Bola Ahmed Tinubu 2023” written on it, has been shared on Facebook.

The footballer, born John Michael Nchekwube Obinna, is known professionally as John Obi Mikel, John Mikel Obi and Mikel John Obi. 

The photo seems to fit rumours that Tinubu, a national leader of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress, might stand for president when Muhammadu Buhari’s terms ends in 2023.

It was posted on the Facebook page Tinubu C Movement National. The group describes itself as “a movement that is geared towards supporting government to perform, while also supporting Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for President come 2023”.

But there are hints that the photo has been manipulated. Is Mikel supporting a Tinubu bid for the Nigerian presidency?    

Photo from Obi’s November 2018 visit to Tinubu 

Using a reverse image search, we found the original, unaltered photo in reports about Obi’s visit to Tinubu at his home in Lagos in November 2018

Obi was promoting his Africa’s Next Football Superstar project, which scouts talented football players aged 12 to 16 in Nigeria, South Africa and Algeria.

In the original, the words “Nigeria’s next football superstar” are written on the brown card held by Tinubu and Obi. 

This isn’t the only obvious sign that the photo on Facebook has been doctored. 

The background behind the text on the text is a different shade of brown, which extends beyond the edge of the card on one side. 

There’s no evidence that Obi supports Tinubu’s political ambitions. – Allwell Okpi


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