IN SHORT: Religion plays a major role in Nigerian politics. But a claim that the governing APC party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 elections railed against a “same faith” ticket in 2015, and then in 2022 turned around and chose such a ticket, is an embellishment on what he actually said.
A screenshot doing the rounds on Facebook quotes Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of Nigeria’s governing All Progressives Congress (APC), as saying he would never back a “same faith ticket”.
It shows a photo of Tinubu and reads: “In 2015, I gave Osinbajo my right because Muslim-Muslim ticket will destabilise Nigeria. God will destroy me and my family any day I support same faith.”
Nigerians are set to vote in presidential elections in February 2023. The country’s north is largely Muslim and the south largely Christian. Religion is a major factor in its politics.
A “same faith” ticket in Nigerian presidential elections means a party’s candidates for president and vice president (or running mate) are either both Muslim or both Christian.
Current president Muhammadu Buhari, first elected in 2015, is Muslim. His deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, is Christian.
Tinubu, a Muslim, bagged the APC ticket in June 2022. He was expected to pick a Christian running mate, but controversially opted for Kashim Shettima, also a Muslim.
The screenshot suggests that Tinubu can’t be trusted, because he seems to have flip-flopped in his stance against a same faith presidency.
But did Tinubu really say Nigeria would be destabilised if it were governed by a president and vice president who were both Muslim?
An online search using the phrase “I gave Osinbajo my right” reveals that the first part of the quote was widely reported by several mainstream media news outlets.
But the second part – about the destabilization of the country and the sentence “God will destroy me and my family any day I support same faith” – is not in any of the reports.
Another source is a June 2022 video of Tinubu addressing the APC leadership in Abeokuta, southwest Nigeria.
The context is that Tinubu said he was asked to nominate three people for the vice presidency. Osinbajo was third on his list.
“I was asked to submit three names, Yemi Cardozo, Wale Edun and Yemi Osinbajo. But I insisted on submitting only one name because I am the one that wanted to surrender my right.”
Tinubu did say he spoke against a Muslim-Muslim ticket in 2015. But he did not say that it would destabilise Nigeria, or that his family would be destroyed should such a ticket emerge.
Oluremi Tinubu, the candidate’s wife, was also falsely quoted recently as saying Tinubu promised to ensure a Christian-Christian presidency should he win the election, and had served two terms.
“This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website.”
This fact-check report was researched by Salako Emmanuel under the Africa Check Mentorship Programme.