CDD West Africa Fact Checks Peter Obi's Arise TV Interview (Video)
2 months ago
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During a post-election chat by Arise TV on March 13, 2023, Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, made a number of controversial claims.
Defending his position about Nigeria’s presidential election, which was held on February 25, 2023, Obi made some assertions, driving further conversations online and offline.
CDD Election War Room checked his claims to keep you properly informed. Here are 10 claims made by Obi, and what we found about them.
Claim I: Obi claimed that in India’s last election, 67% of the population of 600 million people participated.
Verification: According to the Times of India, voter turnout during India’s last general election in 2019 was 67.1%, which was 1.16% higher than the 65.95% turnout in 2014.
Verdict: True. It is true that 67.1% of eligible voters participated in India’s most recent election.
Claim II: Obi said 95 million Nigerians are living in absolute poverty
Verification: Multidimensional poverty measures poverty beyond monetary poverty. The National Bureau of Statistics issued a press release on November 17, 2022, highlighting the results of the multidimensional index survey.
This survey sampled over 56,000 households from the country’s 36 states, including the FCT. According to the highlight, 133 million Nigerians, or 63% of the population, are multidimensionally poor.
Obi was likely quoting a World Bank projection — not an actual estimate, which stated that 95.1 million Nigerians may live in extreme poverty as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
Verdict: Inaccurate. An estimated 133 million Nigerians are multi-dimensionally poor, and about 71 million of those live in extreme or absolute poverty, according to the World Poverty Clock.
Claim III: Nigeria is the country with the highest infant mortality in the world.
Verification: According to an estimation by the UN inter-agency group for child mortality, Sierra Leone has the highest infant mortality rate as of 2021, with an index of 78.25; the Central African Republic is closely behind with an index of 75.46; Somalia is at 71.13; and after that is Nigeria, with an index of 70.59.
Verdict: False. Nigeria has the fourth highest infant mortality rate in the world, and not the highest, as claimed.
Claim IV: Obi said during the 2019 elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had the highest vote in Anambra state, where they had almost 96%.
Verification: While it is true that the PDP received the most votes from Anambra in 2019 at a total of 524,738. The aggregate percentage is 86.63%, not “almost 96%,” as Obi claims.
Claim V: Obi said: “I got more votes from indigenes in Lagos than those you can call visitors.”
Verification: Peter Obi won Lagos State with 573,088 votes, closely followed by Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who received 571,575 votes.
However, as far as we know, there are no data sets segregating votes by tribes in a secret ballot system as operated in Nigeria. There is also no data regarding the number of accredited non-indigenes and how they voted. As a result, determining which tribes and indigenes voted for a certain candidate or the other is impossible.
Verdict: No evidence for Obi or anyone else to come to that conclusion.
Claim VI: “In 2003, Obasanjo got over 90% of the votes in the entire Southeast.”
Verification: Odumegwu Ojukwu, former military governor of the Eastern Region of Nigeria; Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari were top contenders in the 2003 presidential election.
The total number of votes cast in the Southeast from Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo was estimated to be 4,550,279.
Muhammadu Buhari received 253,059 votes (5.56% of the total).
Odumegwu Ojukwu received 1,018,966 votes (22.39% of the total).
While Olusegun Obasanjo received 3,161,019 votes (69.47%) of the total votes cast.
Verdict: False. Obasanjo received 69.47% of the votes cast in the southeast, not 90%.
Claim VII: “When Abiola contested elections, he had more votes in the southeast ….even when his vice-presidential candidate was a Muslim from the North, and Tofa his opponent, had a respected Igbo man as his vice-presidential candidate. Yet Abiola won,” Obi said.
Verification: In the Nigerian 1993 general elections, only two candidates were elected to run: MKO Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC).
There was a 25% voter turnout in that election and Abiola won only Anambra, one of the four southeastern states that existed at the time, while Tofa was victorious in Imo, Abia, and Enugu. (At that time, Ebonyi didn’t exist.)
Verdict: False. Bashir Tofa won the majority of the Southeastern states.
Claim VIII: Peter Obi claimed that when the 1993 election was annulled, the Igbos lost more in NADECO and had their businesses ruined. “Go and check the principal and the people who actually lost more in NADECO. It is the Igbos, we lost more in NADECO — it is Ralph Obioha whose businesses were ruined. Go and check it.”
Verification: In 1993, widespread protests erupted in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria after Ibrahim Babangida, the military head of state, annulled the results of the June 12 elections. The election was won by MKO Abiola, a businessman from the Southwest.
The protests quickly turned violent, resulting in the loss of life, looting of stores, and destruction of property. The situation became so tense that many northerners and easterners living in Lagos fled, a phenomenon widely referred to as “Oso Abiola.”
What is NADECO?
The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) was established on May 15, 1994, to exert pressure on Sani Abacha’s military regime to reinstate Moshood Abiola’s June 12 mandate.
The document that established NADECO, according to Olusegun Osoba, an elder statesman, was signed by 49 people, one of them was Ralph Obioha, mentioned by Obi.
Ralph Obioha claimed to be the leader of NADECO in the United States and Canada. He admitted in a tell-all interview that he lost a chain of businesses, including a bank, a brewery, a cement bagging plant, and a vegetable oil company, which together employed over 2500 people.
The damage caused by June 12, 1993, was spread out over time. This July 1993 New York Times news report claims that not less than 11 people were killed during the immediate protest.
The violence that erupted in July 1998, after the death of MKO Abiola, triggered ethnic strife, of which many of its victims were of the ethnic Hausa group.
Verdict: It is difficult to objectively tell who lost more in the NADECO struggle. Abiola lost his wife, business, and his own life. Obioha lost his businesses, and many other Nigerians lost in like manner.
Claim IX: The age of 40 is when people became presidents in America.
Verification: Of the 46 men who have served as president of the United States, only nine were between the ages of 42 and 49, with Theodore Roosevelt being the youngest at 42.
Joe Biden, the current president of the US, is the oldest president in the country’s history; he took the oath of office at the age of 78.
Verdict: Inaccurate. The average age of American presidents when taking the oath of office is 56.
Claim X: “Life expectancy in the US is 72.5 years, in Nigeria, it is 54.”
Verification: According to the most recent data (2021) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans have an average life expectancy of 76.4 years, while Nigerians have an average life expectancy of 53 years World Bank (2020). UN projections for 2021 and 2022, also show Obi’s claim is inaccurate.
The full interview
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2 months ago
They are still on this presidential election results