Video from 2021 does not show Nigerian governor threatening to defect for losing key nomination

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A video of the governor of Nigeria’s southern Rivers state, Nyesom Wike, speaking in front of a laptop has been shared on social media with claims that it shows the politician threatening to leave the country’s main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should he be denied the chance to stand as a candidate for vice president in next year’s general elections. However, the clip has been shared out of context; the video was filmed on July 1, 2021, when Wike spoke in a television interview about the defection of former PDP governors.

Social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle revealed the claim started circulating after popular Nigerian journalist Dele Momodu published a series of 10 video clips over two days of Wike being interviewed.

Screenshots of Momodu’s Instagram page showing the 10 clips, taken June 16, 2022

“MR PROJECTS GOVERNOR NYESOM WIKE in action... OVATION MEDIA GROUP EXCLUSIVE,” reads the caption on one of the clips published on Instagram on June 14, 2022.

The following day, another clip from the series of 10 was shared in a Facebook post that partly reads: “My 7% boyfriend Wike is indirectly telling PDP that if they don’t pick him as VP, he is leaving for APC.” More than 27,000 people have seen the video on the social network.

APC refers to the ruling All Progressives Congress party in Nigeria.

Screenshot of the false Facebook post, taken on June 16, 2022

Wike recently lost his presidential bid to the country’s former vice president and fellow party member Atiku Abubakar. But since the governor belongs to a different religion and region from Abubakar, some believed he would have been a good running mate.

Abubakar has since chosen Wike’s counterpart in Delta state, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate.

But, the video does not show Wike threatening to leave the PDP prior to losing the nomination.

What Wike said

Since the reelection of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, the PDP has lost some of its key members, including three governors who defected to the ruling APC. 

It was these defections Wike was talking about.

AFP Fact Check’s knowledge of the interview allowed us to find the original broadcast of the interview in the archives of Arise TV on YouTube. The moment when Wike speaks about the defectors occurs 29 minutes and 40 seconds into the interview, which was uploaded to YouTube on July 1, 2021.

In the full video, Wike explains why he thinks some of the PDP’s governors, including Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state, left for the ruling APC in 2020 and 2021. He argues that there was no justification for their defections, challenging them to be sincere about their reasons for leaving.

“See the reasons why I am leaving PDP to join you. Tell me, are you willing to do all these things PDP didn’t do for me?” Wike said, referring to Umahi.

“Not when I go on my own to see how I can be protected and be politically relevant and try to share my inadequacies, then I come out to say I am leaving PDP because this was not done when you can not practically prove it. So, the reason for [Umahi] to say why he left the PDP cannot be justified.”

The abridged clip circulating on social media was published out of context to make it sound like Wike was talking about himself.

Wike himself dismissed the claim that he threatened to defect.

“This interview from 2021 was manipulated to give the false impression that I am leaving the Peoples Democratic Party,” reads Wike’s statement on Facebook. “I remain a committed member of the Peoples Democratic Party.”