Old videos of Nigeria ruling party leader falsely shared as evidence of his return from UK

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Two video clips of Bola Tinubu, the national leader of Nigeria's ruling political party, have been shared on social media purporting to show the politician’s return to Nigeria after spending several weeks in the UK for medical care. However, the claim is false: one of the clips was filmed years before his recent UK trip and the other was taken prior to his departure. Tinubu’s spokesman also rejected the claim as false as said he had not yet returned to Nigeria.

One of the video clips was published on Facebook by a user called Femi Abu, who, according to the profile description, is the  Lagos “state coordinator at Bola Tinubu Volunteer Movement”.

“You are welcome sir,” reads the caption on the Facebook post. “Nigerians,thanks for your concern and prayer. The lion of bourdillon is around (sic).” The Lion of Bourdillon is a nickname for Tinubu whose residence is located along Bourdillon Road in Ikoyi, Lagos.

Screenshot taken on September 29, 2021, showing the false Facebook post

Titled “Bola Tinubu Returns”, the footage shows the politician waving at his supporters from a black vehicle. More than 50,000 people have viewed the 30-second clip since September 27, 2021.

The other video, which is eight seconds long and features Tinubu walking along a corridor with his entourage, was published two days earlier on Facebook and also claimed it showed the politician back in Nigeria “after months in London on medical vacation”.

Screenshot taken on September 29, 2021, showing the false Facebook post

The same claim has also circulated on other social media platforms, including Twitter, where former Nigerian lawmaker Senator Shehu Sani wrote that “Jagaban is back.” Jagaban, meaning “Leader of Warriors”, is a title conferred on Tinubu by the late Emir of Borgu in Nigeria’s northern Niger state, Alhaji Haliru Dantoro III.

Popular Yoruba-language blog Alaroye also reported that Tinubu was back in the country, but based their claim on Sani’s tweet.

Tinubu’s political influence 

Tinubu is a prominent Nigerian politician who served two terms as governor of the country’s commercial hub Lagos. The 69-year-old national leader of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is rumoured to have presidential ambitions in 2023, even though he has yet to make such a declaration.

But Tinubu’s health has been a major talking point in Nigeria after several trips abroad for medical care.

In August, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state visited Tinubu in London following speculation the veteran politician had died.

While both video clips circulating online are genuine, they are related to different events and do not prove that Tinubu is back in Nigeria. 

Old videos 

AFP Fact Check traced the first clip to YouTube using the information on the chyron and the logo of Nigerian online broadcaster TV360 displayed in the top right corner of the video.

“Tinubu returns; bashes Jonathan’s proposed national Confab,” reads the caption on the longer version of the video. It was published on YouTube by TV360 Nigeria on October 6, 2013, a day after Tinubu’s return from a medical visit abroad. 

AFP Fact Check confirmed that the 30-second clip on Facebook was extracted two minutes and sixteen seconds into the original YouTube footage.

Although the broadcaster did not mention where Tinubu went “to treat a recurring knee injury”, Nigerian daily newspaper Vanguard had reported that it was the United States.

AFP Fact Check further conducted multiple keyword searches on YouTube and found that the second, shorter clip on Facebook matches part of the footage from two longer videos uploaded on March 28, 2021 (see here and here).


Screenshot taken on September 30, 2021, showing the video on YouTube

A day earlier, several Nigerian media organisations reported that Tinubu had stumbled on arrival at the Arewa House Lecture held in the country’s northern Kaduna state.

Tinubu’s spokesman dismissed claim

Meanwhile, local broadcaster TVC News reported that Tinubu’s media adviser Tunde Rahman dismissed the claim as false, explaining that the former Lagos governor had not returned to the country from the UK.

“His Excellency Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is not back. The report about his return is absolute fake news. I know many are eagerly awaiting his return. He would do so very soon. When he does, everyone will know (sic),” Rahman told TVC News.

According to a report by The Punch, since Tinubu traveled to the UK more than two months ago, at least 30 Nigerian politicians, including President Muhammadu Buhari, have visited him at his London residence.