Video of Nigerian presidential candidate edited to change remarks on poverty reduction

Social media posts shared thousands of times claim to show a video of Nigerian presidential candidate Peter Obi saying he lifted 439 million people – more than double the country's population – out of poverty during his time as governor of Anambra state. However, Obi did not actually say this; AFP Fact Check found that the clip of Obi’s speech was edited to alter its original meaning. In the unedited video, Obi talks about other nations’ successful efforts to alleviate poverty by aligning policies with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

“I pulled 439 million Nigerians out of po’verty ~ Peter Obi (sic),” reads the caption of a TikTok video published on October 19, 2022.

The second part of the caption adds: “FACT CHECK: Nigeria has an estimated population of 200 million people.”

A screenshot of the false post, taken on January 11, 2023

The video, which has been viewed more than 23,000 times, shows Obi giving a speech in October 2022 to the Arewa Joint Committee, a coalition dedicated to fostering development in northern Nigeria.

In the clip shared on TikTok, Obi appears to say, “I was able to pull 439 million people out of poverty. It was MDGs that India input into their development agenda, and they were able to pull 269 million people out of poverty.”

Nigerians head to the polls in February to elect Muhammadu Buhari’s successor, as well as governors for the majority of the 36 states and federal and state lawmakers.

Obi has emerged as one of the top three presidential contenders among the 18 candidates. He enjoys significant support from the youth, especially for his reputed economic know-how.

The same video with similar captions also surfaced on Twitter.

But the claim that Obi said he lifted more than twice the Nigerian population out of poverty is false.

Edited video

By searching online using keywords such as “Peter Obi lifts 439 million out of poverty,” AFP Fact Check found original footage from the event held at Arewa House in mid-October 2022.

In the video, Obi actually refers to India’s and China’s adoption of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals and their impact on reducing poverty in the two countries.

At 2'02", Obi says: “…it was MDGs that China input into their development agenda and was able to pull 439 million people out of poverty. It was MDGs that India input into their development agenda, and they were able to pull 269 million people out of poverty.”

By contrast, according to Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics, 133 million Nigerians are living in poverty, or approximately 63 percent of its 213 million citizens.

The next president of Nigeria faces significant economic challenges. A recent report from the World Bank said that Nigeria’s economic growth is projected to fall in 2023 due to “policy uncertainty, sustained high inflation, and rising incidence of violence.”

Disinformation has dogged campaigning ahead of next month’s polls. You can find our election-related coverage here.