IN SHORT: Nigeria is slated to elect a new president in early 2023. As the campaign season heats up, a message on social media claims an influential group of breakaway opposition governors has backed the governing party candidate. But the governors are yet to pick a side.
“PDP G5 Governors led by Governor Nyesom Wike have today endorsed Bola Ahmed Tinubu for President, saying Peter Obi’s South East support is not enough for him to be President in 2023,” begins a message circulating on Facebook since November 2022.
The PDP is Nigeria’s opposition Peoples Democratic Party. The country is set to vote for a new president in February 2023. Bola Tinubu is the governing All Progressives Congress candidate for the top job.
The G5 is a group of five PDP governors formed after a fallout in the party. The schism came after the PDP’s May 2022 national primary election, where Atiku Abubakar was chosen as the party’s presidential flag bearer.
The G5 governors are led by Nyesom Wike of Rivers state. The other four are Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo state, as well as Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state, Samuel Ortom of Benue state and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state.
Wike was one of the 12 contenders that lost to Abubakar during the party’s primary. The G5 governors have demanded that the party’s national chairperson, Iyorchia Ayu, step down because he is from the same region as Abubakar.
The governors have also boycotted PDP campaigns. There is speculation that they might support a candidate from another party, in what would be a major coup for whoever attracts their support.
But did the five governors really endorse Tinubu for president? We checked.
No evidence of statement
Wike recently told a crowd in his state that he would only announce and campaign for his preferred candidate in January 2023.
A search of Wike’s official Twitter account and other social media pages returned no evidence that the group had endorsed Tinubu – or said Obi’s stronghold southeast support was not enough to make him the next president.
Although the G5 governors met with Tinubu in London on 27 December 2022, they have not officially said they endorse his candidacy.