Old video shows Nigerian president speaking about 2019 election delay, not 2023 vote nullification

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A video from a speech by Nigeria’s outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari has been shared on social media alongside a claim that it shows him calling for the cancellation of the 2023 election results. But the claim is false: the clip is old and unrelated to last month’s vote. In reality, it shows Buhari addressing his party in 2019 about the electoral commission’s decision to postpone the general election that year.

“Breaking news the 2023 election has been canceled watch from President #Buhari (sic),” reads a tweet published on February 28, 2023.

Screenshot showing the false tweet, taken on March 7, 2023

The two-minute-long video shows Buhari addressing an audience, to whom he says: “We have to tell our constituents that they have to be patient and must behave in a very responsible way by going peacefully to vote again. They should depend on our party representatives on each polling unit in all the 176,000 polling units…”

The claim was also published on Facebook and TikTok where together it has been shared more than 6,500 times.

Nigeria went to the polls to choose a successor to Buhari on February 25, 2023.

Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party as the winner, beating Labour Party candidate Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Obi and Abubakar have rejected the results, with both claiming victory. Their parties said they would challenge the outcome in court.

The video of Buhari, though, is unrelated to Nigeria’s 2023 presidential contest.

Previous election

With the video verification tool InVid-WeVerify, we traced the original footage to a broadcast by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) from February 18, 2019.

It shows Buhari, who at the time was running for re-election, speaking to APC party members about INEC’s decision to postpone the general election that year.

In the broadcast, Buhari asks members at an APC caucus meeting to encourage their constituents to be patient and to peacefully “vote again”.

That year, INEC postponed Nigeria’s general elections by a week, with the announcement coming just a few hours before the polls were to open on February 16, 2019.

Authorities said that the polls were postponed due to logistical glitches.

Nigeria elections 2023