At 11:39 on January 2nd, a handle on Twitter, @LadiSpeaks posted a tweet claiming that convicted former governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, made donations to the Buhari campaign.
“BREAKING: Convicted former Plateau State Governor, Senator Joshua Dariye donates 25 Buses, N50m to Buhari Campaign!
“It Seems APC members are trying to outdo themselves on who donates more buses to Buhari’s Campaign,” the tweet read.
As at the time of this report, the tweet has had 804 retweets, 747 likes and 86 comments since it was posted.
@LadiSpeaks is a verified twitter account with the name: African giant-Ladi. In his Twitter bio he described himself as the Publisher of @PidginBlogNG, and a Google Digital Skills Trainer. The account has over 62,500 followers.
@LadiSpeaks did not provide any pictorial evidence of the buses donated by Mr Dariye neither did he provide a link to a credible newspaper with the report.
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) reached out to @LadiSpeaks for pictorial and other proof of the alleged donation, he has not responded to the enquiry as at the time of publication.
CDD asked the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO) if it received any donation from Mr Dariye.
Festus Keyamo, the Director of Media and Publicity of BCO, said he was unaware if the alleged donation was made and could neither confirm or deny if any donation was received from the disgraced ex-governor.
“I am not in a position to confirm or deny that, because I am not the Director General, I am not the Director of logistics, Donations goes to the DG and Director of Logistics. Am not aware of anything and you cannot confirm or deny,” he said.
Similarly, Israel Ibeleme, a spokesperson for Rotimi Amaechi, the Director General of BCO, also denied receiving any donation from Mr Dariye.
“I have spoken to the DG, he said no donation was received from Dariye. It is fake news,” he said during a telephone chat.
CDD also spoke to the spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress in Plateau, Chindo Dafat, who said he was not aware that any donation was made to the Buhari campaign by Dariye.
“I have contacted about three people who are close to the family and none of them confirmed to me the story. They are telling me that they are not aware of the news. I think it’s fake. Those I contacted are serious people but none could confirm it is true,” he said.
Though CDD cannot independently verify the claims of those it spoke to, coupled with the reluctance of the original publisher of the tweet to provide evidence of the alleged donations, our verdict of the news of the alleged donation is LIKELY FALSE.
So, what is the likely motive behind the news of the alleged donation?
Since the commencement of the campaign toward the forthcoming general elections, governors and other politicians in the APC have been making donations to the re-election campaign.
In December, Abdulmumin Jibrin, the House of Representative member for Kiru/Bebeji Local Governments tweeted that he is donating 150 vehicles for the 2019 campaign of President Buhari, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and the APC.
Similarly, Umar Bago of the APC in Niger State claimed he donated 11 vehicles to President Buhari’s re-election campaign.
In the same vein, the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, announced he was donating buses to mobilise members for the re-election of President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
In June 2018, Mr Dariye was convicted for money laundering related offences and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment (which was later reduced to 10 years by the Appeal Court). Since his conviction, there have been speculations over his involvement in politics. There have been speculations over alleged donations he made to President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid.
In November, the Daily Trust newspaper reported that Mr Dariye, who is the senator representing Plateau Central Senatorial District made a plea to his supporters from jail to vote for President Buhari and incumbent Governor Simon Lalong in the 2019 general elections.
Later it was widely reported that he had procured a nomination form for re-election to represent Plateau Central. But his party, the All Progressives Congress denied it.
(Beware of Fake News. Don’t Peddle it! Don’t Spread it!)
(The fake news project of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), an independent and non-partisan organisation, is to counter electoral misinformation and promote peaceful elections in 2019.)