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Fact-Check: Viral video of alleged APC campaign disruption in Ondo proven to be from Lagos

Saheed Ibrahim

Claim: A viral WhatsApp message claims that an APC campaign vehicle was attacked by some youths in Ondo State ahead of the November 16 gubernatorial election in the state.

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The electorate in Ondo State, a state in the Southwestern region of Nigeria, will go to poll on November 16, 2024, to elect a new governor. 

The battle for the number one political seat in the state is keenly contested by the two political parties, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). 

While the incumbent governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, is the flagbearer of the APC, a former Deputy Governor in the state, Agboola Ajayi, bears the flag for the PDP.

Meanwhile, barely two days after political campaigns for the election began, a video began to circulate on WhatsApp, claiming that the APC campaign was disrupted by some angry youths. 

With the inscription “Campaign went wrong😂”, the accompanying caption reads: “The awakening has began. APC campaign went wrong in Ondo state. The revolution is looming. Let it spread across the country like wildfire 🙆‍♀️🙆‍♀️🙆‍♀️🤣🤣🤣. A New Nigeria is possible”.

The video shows some young men throwing stones and using sticks to hit a big campaign truck bearing public address systems. The male voice in the video spoke in Yoruba and Pidgin. He said:

“APC werey wo? (Which mad APC?). People dey feel hungry una dey do campaign. For where? Off their cloth, which APC? See wetin people dey eat, una dey do campaign. Oya! Run o! Run! We dey feel hungry una dey do campaign. God go punish una. Run! Cover body. Abi e ya werey Sha? (or you are mad?).

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The 30-second video, which has been forwarded many times on WhatsApp, has a TikTok account on the screen @therockstarg

A similar video was also shared on YouTube on June 19 by Franklin Naija and GPN2024 on June 9. It was shared on Instagram by ibrandtv on June 21.

 Due to the virality of the video and the suspicion around it, we conducted a fact-check.

We set out with two major questions: Where was the video recorded? When was it recorded?

Verification

Using a keywords search on Google, we found that the video was earlier circulated on social media platforms in May this year with several captions instigating that the APC campaign was disrupted in Ondo State.

It was shared on Facebook by Oghenovo Benjamin Olori and X (formerly Twitter) by Odogwu on May 11 with 398 views and Currency-dc (@dc_currency) on May 12. Currency-dc wrote on X: “APC campaign went wrong in Ondo state, Only PDP we need in Ondo state. APC Governor for 11 months Ayedatiwa loot 5bn for building modern daycare where there’s no project he commissioned as a deputy governor now a governor for 11 months in his local government area.”

We visited the TikTok page of @therockstarg, the account label found on the video but didn’t see the video on his page, which indicates that it might have been deleted. His profile shows that he is from Lagos State. It reads: “I’m from Lagos Nigeria Lekki. Just don’t ask me what I don’t know 🤷‍♂️ I’m here”. This suggests that the video might have been recorded in Lagos State, but we cannot conclude yet.

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Screenshot of @therockstarg profile on TikTok.

Further search on the internet and news channels operating in Ondo state led to a press statement by Ondo State Police Command, signed by the Public Relations Officer, SP. Funmilayo Odunlami-Omisanya, mnipr and dated May 12, 2024, with  Ref.No. AZ:5280/ONS/PPRO/VOL.1/184.

The statement, with the title, Political Campaign Yet to Begin in Ondo State”, enjoined the people of Ondo State to disregard the video as its content did not occur in the state. The statement reads: 

“The Ondo State Police Command is aware of the recent TikTok video tagged ‘’Campaign went Wrong’ in which it was titled underneath. “APC campaign disrupted in Ondo”

“The Command is using this medium to inform and equally enjoin the general public to discountenance the message as the content of the video did not happen in Ondo state as the political campaign is yet to start.

“The Commissioner of Police, CP Abayomi P. Oladipo wish to assure the good people of the State of the Command capacity to provide adequate security before, during and after off circle electioneering period slated for the end of year 2024 in the State without intimidation and harassment by hoodlums in whatever guise.”

We visited the official website of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to verify when the campaign for the November 16 election in Ondo State will commence. We found that the political campaign commenced in the state on June 19. This might be responsible for the recirculation of the video to mislead the public.

We downloaded the video and analysed its metadata using Invid. We discovered that the metadata had been tampered with as it shows 1904 as the date of creation. 

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We used a magnifying tool to assess the almost worn-out poster on the campaign vehicle and there lies our answers to the questions.

We discovered that the words printed on the poster read: RE-ELECT SANWO-OLU AND HAMZAT, even though some parts of the poster are torn. 

Screenshot taken from the viral video

Poster of Governor Sanwo-Olu and his Deputy, Hamzat

We approached @therockstarg, who recorded the video and posted on TikTok,  with our report. He confirmed that the video was recorded during the election in Lagos State and not Ondo State. We could sense the fear in him because he was reluctant to divulge detailed information about the video when asked about the exact location the video was recorded and the time. 

Screenshots from the conversation with @therockstarg

Given these results, we can conclude that the video was recorded in Lagos State and not Ondo State as claimed. 

The 2023 Governorship election in Lagos State took place on 18 March 2023. The official campaign period for the Lagos Governorship election commenced on October 12, 2022 and ended on March 16, 2023. Therefore, the viral video was recorded between October 2022 and March 16, 2023. 

Conclusion 

The video being circulated to show that the APC campaign was disrupted in Ondo State is misleading. The video was recorded in Lagos State during the campaign period for the 2023 Governorship election in the State and the campaign vehicle attacked was that of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Deputy, Obafemi Hamzat. 

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Fact-Check: Viral video of alleged APC campaign disruption in Ondo proven to be from Lagos

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