Posts falsely claim Nigerian electoral chairman celebrated with Bola Tinubu day after polling

A social media post claims that a video shows the chairman of Nigeria’s electoral commission, Mahmood Yakubu, dining and dancing at the home of eventual presidential victor Bola Tinubu the day after polls closed. But the claim is false: the video shows Tinubu dancing in a restaurant last year after giving a speech in London. The man in the video purported to be Yakubu is a former state governor and not the country’s elections chief.

“You are still waiting for presidential election results from INEC, right? Good.. INEC will surely release all of them but before then, here is INEC chairman…enjoying himself last night in Jagaba’s [Jagaban] house,” reads a tweet posted on February 27, 2023.

Tinubu is commonly referred to as “Jagaban,” a local chieftain title.

A screenshot of the false post, taken on March 1, 2023

The tweet features a video of Tinubu dancing at a table with two other men. A third person is partially visible in the corner.

There is a red line pointing to one of the men, purportedly Yakubu.

Nigeria held its presidential elections on February 25, 2023. Tinubu, the candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC) party, was declared the winner in the early hours of March 1, with 8.8 million votes against 6.9 million for opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Atiku Abubakar. Labour Party’s Peter Obi secured third 6.1 million votes, according to INEC results.

The voting was mostly peaceful but was troubled by long delays at many polling stations, while technical hitches disrupted the uploading of results to a central website, fuelling concerns over vote rigging.

PDP and Labour have already called for the vote to be scrapped and have demanded a fresh election because of what they claimed was massive manipulation of ballot counts.

Concerns about the electoral commission’s capacity to carry out Nigeria’s general elections loomed large as voters prepared to head to the polls.

According to an early February poll from the pan-African research group, Afrobarometer, only 23 percent of Nigerians trusted INEC “somewhat” or “a lot,” and several INEC sites were attacked throughout the country in the lead-up to the election.

But the claim that the video shows Yakubu having dinner and dancing at Tinubu’s home is false.

Old video from December 2022

Using a keyword search for “Tinubu dancing,” AFP Fact Check found the original footage, which was posted online by “KOKO TV Nigeria” on December 6, 2022.

The same keyword search also showed several articles were written about Tinubu’s dance moves during the 2022 dinner, which followed his appearance at the London-based think tank Chatham House.

INEC chairman not pictured

An Eagle Online article identifies two of the men in the video, including the former governor of Ekiti state, Dr Kayode Fayemi, and the governor of Kaduna state, Nasir el-Rufai. AFP journalists in Lagos confirmed this.

Using a keyword search for “Dr Kayode Fayemi,” AFP Fact Check found that the man with the line pointing at him is Fayemi and not Yakubu.

A screenshot of Kayode Fayemi from his official Facebook page, taken on March 2,2023

Fayemi was with Tinubu at Chatham House and had answered questions on Tinubu’s behalf, a move that was criticised by the president-elect’s opponents.

AFP also reached out to INEC for comment.

“I can confirm it’s not my chairman because I dropped him at his house and picked him up in the morning to go to his normal assignments. The photograph is not a photograph of my chairman,” director of INEC security Lebari Sam Nduh told AFP.

Yakubu did deliver a speech at Chatham House, but that was in mid-January.

These elections have been dogged by misinformation, and INEC has repeatedly been accused of corruption, vote-rigging, and malpractice, which has fuelled misinformation about the organisation.

You can read the rest of our election-related coverage here.