No, former Nigerian president Jonathan did not say party’s VP choice was ‘monumental disaster’ on eve of election

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Around 20 posts shared dozens of times on Facebook on the eve of Nigeria’s presidential elections claim that former president Goodluck Jonathan said his party’s choice for vice-president was “a monumental disaster”. But there is no record of the event where Jonathan is alleged to have made the claim, which the ex-president has denied making.

The text in the post claims that Jonathan stated that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) “made a wrong choice in the person of Mr Peter Obi”, allegedly speaking during a keynote address at the inauguration of his foundation for the underprivileged in his home state of Bayelsa.

A screenshot taken on 15 February, 2019 of part of the misleading text

AFP could not find any record online and in the media of the event where Jonathan allegedly spoke. The most recent event hosted by the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation was a “one-day peace conference on Peaceful Elections and National Development” in the capital, Abuja, which was widely reported in local media.

Jonathan delivered a welcome address at that event but the alleged statement on Obi does not appear in a video recording of that speech.

Jonathan, who lost and conceded the 2015 presidential election to Buhari, also denied making the statement via a thread on his official Twitter account.

“Our attention has been drawn to a fake article circulating online, to the effect that former President Jonathan has expressed misgivings over the emergence of Mr. Peter Obi as the Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),” read a Twitter thread from media aide Ike Eze, reweeted on Jonathan’s account.

Obi is running mate to Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday’s election in Africa’s most populous nation.

Atiku -- as he is known -- is the main rival to the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

More than 84 million Nigerians are registered to vote presidential and parliamentary elections on Saturday, followed two weeks later by votes for governors and state assemblies.

Mayowa Tijani