Video shows Nigerian presidential candidate talking about his 2012 US trip, not his school education

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The school record of the Nigerian ruling party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, has been the subject of controversy since 1999 when he became governor of Lagos state in southwest Nigeria. Attempts to clarify where he went to school have been stonewalled, most recently after it emerged that Tinubu had omitted the names of his primary and secondary schools on his nomination form. In response, a TikTok video claimed to show Tinubu finally breaking his silence on the matter. But this is false: AFP Fact Check found the video has nothing to do with Tinubu’s school years and was filmed in 2012 when he was a member of the opposition party Action Congress of Nigeria.

“Tinubu response to those asking about secondary school certificate,” reads the caption on a TikTok video published on July  5, 2022, and viewed more than 72,000 times.

A screenshot of the false TikTok post, taken August 4, 2022

In the clip, Tinubu talks to journalists with Dele Alake, who served as his commissioner for information when he was governor.

“Who are they that I have to prove anything to them?" Tinubu asked in the clip. "I was there and what's their business? Is that about the high unemployment in this country? Is that about lack of food on the tables and in the kitchen of the poor? Is that about the electricity that they cannot even properly privatise?"

The video was also shared here on Facebook, with a caption in defence of Tinubu that reads: “To those asking for his primary & secondary school mates after graduating from Chicago state university and working with Exxon Mobil, Deloitte & Arthur Anderson, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has already responded to you 9 years ago.”

The controversy

Tinubu was nominated as the presidential candidate for the ruling All Progressives Congress on June 8, 2022, about a month before the post was published.

His campaign has been dogged by controversy over his primary and secondary school history, a topic he has avoided discussing.

The issue reached fever pitch after nomination forms submitted to Nigeria’s electoral body showed Tinubu did not fill in the names of his schools.

Tinubu only listed Chicago State University on the form. The institution previously confirmed that Tinubu was a graduate.

Last month, his campaign spokesman Bayo Onanuga did not respond to AFP Fact Check’s questions about the schools Tinubu attended.

Segun Ayobolu, who was Tinubu’s former press secretary when he was the governor of Lagos State,  wrote in January that Tinubu attended primary and secondary schools in Nigeria, without naming them.

The claim in the TikTok post, however, is false.

Old video about US trip

AFP Fact Check traced the original video to a YouTube channel using the InVID video verification tool.

It was published by Nigerian broadcaster Channels Television on September 14, 2012. 

The caption indicates that the video was taken after Tinubu returned to Nigeria following his attendance at the Democratic National Convention held from September 4-6, 2012.

A report on the broadcaster’s website said the video showed Tinubu was responding to claims that he bought an invitation to the convention.

“I don’t want to give any credence to whatever they are saying,” Tinubu said at the start of the footage. “It doesn’t distract from the fact that I was at the convention. I was invited properly and I have an honoured guest position.”

He was not asked about his schooling and he did not volunteer any information about it in the original video.

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