A Wig Snatch Intro: A Case of Buhari and Falsehood Herpes

20th February 2017, 22:06. This happened.

AS far as first meetings go, the convention is usually to begin with a handshake, maybe a hug. Sometimes still, even an air-kiss or two. We’re just going to begin with a sucker-punch to your jaw, so we don’t have any illusions as to the nature of this relationship. We’ll leave the getting-to-know-yous for breakfast and the awkward morning-after walk of shame.

Now, we could hop right into another long conversation about another relationship between a truant President, his people, and unfulfilled honeymoon promises. However, that’s not our purview today. So we’ll get right into the thick of it. This screenshot right here, is our point of origin:

If you are anything like the 202 people that Retweeted (Yes, RTs ARE endorsements), then you must have felt a bit of outrage. Finally, the question you’ve always whispered to yourself (yes, whispered, because DSS) — Does Buhari hate the Igbos? — has finally been answered. So FactsOnlyNG asks: Does Buhari hate Igbo people? We don’t have an answer seeing as we very well can’t ask the man in person. But is the sourced story true? The answer could likely be yes. Unless it is no. Why don’t we #GoThere and see what we find?.

So let’s start at the source. No, Isima Odeh isn’t the source, we sadly can’t accord him that much credit, not today. The screenshot that has him appalled is from an opinion piece Femi Aribisala wrote 2 years ago in The Vanguard. The original piece is quite the “interesting” read.

Between 1983 and 1985, Peter Onu of Nigeria was Acting Secretary-General of the OAU. At the 1985 Summit in Addis Ababa, statesmen like Julius Nyerere, President of Tanzania, lobbied for his election as substantive Secretary-General. However, there was a major stumbling block to Peter Onu’s candidature: his Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, was campaigning against him. Buhari claimed: “This generation of Nigerians and indeed future generations have no other country than Nigeria.” But when the crunch came, his allegiance to Nigeria disappeared. In the election of the OAU Secretary-General in 1985, Buhari voted against Nigeria and for Niger instead. He secured the election of Ide Oumarou, a Fulani man from Niger; as opposed to an Igbo man from Nigeria. By so doing, Buhari became the first and only Head of State in the history of modern international relations to vote against his country in favour of his tribe.
Source: Femi Aribisala, Vanguard Nigeria, February 2015

While it pains us to even start to pick apart 4 day old ‘Agege bread’ (this story has been circulating in all its forms since 2015), we realize that this particular case of Falsehood Herpes needs to be sorted out once and for all.

The first indication that something is amiss, is that Mr. Femi Aribisala quite literally pulls this anecdote from somewhere the sun doesn’t shine, with zero need to quote a source for such a heavy allegation. Whether by design or by just simply being an asshole, this makes his assertion a little bit hard to disprove. But that’s okay.

A brief search on the interwebs turns up this beautiful nugget from “Scan News Nigeria”

“I remember in 1985 in Africa Hall that he was for confirmation of Dr Peter Onu of Nigeria, who was acting Secretary General but Nigeria’s Head of State Gen Muhammadu Buhary was adamant in his support of Niger’s candidate, Idi Omaro, a Fulani Muslim. In a meeting, a handful of Presidents led by Nyerere met with Gen Buhary and Nwalimu begged him: ‘Please give us Peter!’ Buhary refused and forgot even to be courteous to his old peers. What was astonishing, when the vote was in favour of Niger’s candidate, the Nigerian Head rejoiced to such a degree that he was unable to control his emotions. That was a moment I witnessed and was convinced that General Buhary would not last long as a leader.” — The OAU: Reality Or Fiction by Ibrahim Daggash, former Head of Information and Communication, Organization of African Unity (OAU); pg 69; ISBN 1–9044722–25–3 It is unheard-of in history that a self-respecting leader of a country would vote against his country’s candidate in international diplomacy. But here, you have it in black and white, in a book, that former Head of State General Muhammadu Buhari would rather have a Fulani Muslim candidate from Niger instead of Nigeria’s own esteemed Dr. Peter Onu. Not even the highly revered then President of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere could make Buhari to change his mind. This kind of bizarre shamelessness is why Nigeria is the laughing stock of the civilized world. It is unthinkable that any leader, anywhere would insult his own country by backing an opponent from another country.
Source: Scan News Nigeria, January 2015

Here’s where this hoax takes on a brilliant, well thought out turn.

Is there an Ibrahim Daggash? Yes, there is.

Was he a staff of the OAU in that capacity? Yes, of course.

There is little information about when he worked for the OAU, even though unverified sources put his timeline as the OAU spox as early 90s. So we will leave that part aside.

Did he write a book? Lol. The author of the story at Scan News Nigeria (Uzo “Maxim” Uzoatu) very cleverly stated the name of the book, and ISBN number, because you know, once a book has an ISBN, it exists as a book in the real world, so it is verifiable. Right? Right?

Let’s leave out how ISBN numbers are either 10 digits or 13 digits, and just focus on finding this book with such salacious gossip of international intrigue.

Then came the problem:

You know what? What does ISBN Search know anyway? Rubbish. So we tried Google.

What does Google know about ISBN search anyway? Or searching for anything? Google is f**e news! Sad!

In conclusion, dear friends, we have a story (from a dodgy source) that is from a book that doesn’t seem to exist. The original story is then quoted in an opinion piece in what is supposed to be a prominent Newspaper in Nigeria (We have this theory about Journalism being dead in Nigeria but, not today, dear friends. Not today). Anyway, the opinion piece is then picked up by many angry folks on Facebook, Nairaland and of course many blogs along the way.

Today’s story began with an emotional tweet, from someone who is guilty of nothing but being on a late-bus that is 2 years late (someone here believes maybe he posted the story as a sort of Fake News anniversary —which he’s also like 2 weeks late to celebrate). That said, this situation is how these things start, spread and become a problem. This is why we are. This is why FactsOnlyNG exists — to pick up this challenge of fighting fake news head on. We find that nobody is taking up this gauntlet right now, so we will.

As for Mr. Isima Odeh, he has since deleted everything related to the post but not before it had been retweeted by over 200 people and seen by more. He has also not retracted the statement. At least Audu Maikori for all his failings with the #SouthernKaduna mess, still managed a (forced?) retraction.

Yeah, that’s that for the punch in the jaw. How about that handshake/hug/kiss now?

Boy, is this an introduction for the books.

Update:

We have new information that renders the POV represented her obsolete. Read here

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