Claim: Obinna Nwosu in a tweet claims he is the first politician in the history of Abia State to be verified on Twitter.
Verdict: FALSE. Obinna Nwosu is not the first Abia politician to be verified on Twitter as we found that Mao Ohunbunwa, also a politician from the state, got his Twitter account verified in 2017.
Obinna Nwosu, a London-trained freelance Finance and Oracle database consultant, was a governorship aspirant for Abia State 2023 election but his dream to become governor was short-lived as he recently stepped down.
On Friday, February 18, Mr Nwosu (@obi_Nwosu), claimed he was the first Abia State politician to be verified on Twitter. He shared the screenshot of his notification page with a congratulatory message that his account had been verified.
“Guess who has just been verified by Twitter. This makes me the first Abia state politician in history to be verified on Twitter,” his tweet read.
The blue check or blue verified badge on Twitter which shows that an account of public interest is authentic was introduced in 2009. To receive this badge, one’s account must be authentic, notable, and active.
Categories recognised for verification include government, news organisations and individuals in news, companies, brands and organisations, entertainment, sports and gaming, activists and organisers, and content creators or other influential individuals.
This badge is a big deal for many Nigerians, especially public figures.
This is a bold statement to make, seeing there are older politicians from Abia State who are more popular.. We, therefore, saw the need to verify this claim.
Mr Nwosu, who joined Twitter in January 2017, was criticised for celebrating this win. A Twitter user, PrivateKing of Item (@jiswitu) pointed out that there is another verified Abia state politician named Mao Ohuabunwa.
We looked at Abia State politicians from 2009, when the blue badge came into existence, until now and accounts for those who are on Twitter.
A look at the few who were on Twitter, like Enyinnaya Abaribe, the state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, Alex Otti, Uchechukwu Ogah, and Ossy Prestige, showed they are all not verified.
We checked the senator’s Twitter page mentioned by the Twitter user in the comment section. A visit to Mao Ohuabunwa’s (@SenOhuabunwa) Twitter page showed that his account, which was opened in June 2015, is verified. Mr Ohuabunwa represented Abia North Senatorial District in the 8th senate.
Having established that both Mr Nwosu and Mr Ohuabunwa were verified, we needed to know which account got the verified badge first. We reached out to Twitter support via email requesting their verification date. Twitter replied, stating it does not monitor emails and advised we visit the help centre or submit a request via its online form.
However, Twitter’s help centre and its online form did not help with this information as it does not have any search or enquiry topic that provides this detail.
We also tried tracing older tweets, especially verified ones to see if that will give away any clue but this did not help.
We searched for Mr Ohabunwa’s Twitter page on Way Back Machine, an internet archive. One of the earliest captures is that of May 24, 2020. The archive shows that Mr Ohabunmwa tweeted about his birthday from a verified account.
Even with this confirmation, it still isn’t clear when Mr Ohabunwa got the verification. We then reached out to the politician who directed enquiries to his aide, Uche Okoli.
“We got this account verified in 2017 in the month of February,” Mr Okoli said in a phone interview with DUBAWA. “We felt it was proper that as a serving senator at the time to have his Twitter account verified so that whatever information that comes from the handle would be deemed to be correct and be referenced.”
Mr Okoli then provided a screenshot of the email from Twitter confirming Mr Ohabunwa’s verification status. DUBAWA confirmed the screenshot to be authentic.
The screenshot shows that Mr Ohabunwa was verified on February 22, 2017, five years before Mr Nwosu’s verification in 2022 and just a month after he (Mr Nwosu) joined Twitter.
Our findings show that Obinna Nwosu is not the first politician from Abia State to be verified on Twitter. We found another Abia State politician, Mao Ohabunwa, who was verified in 2017. Mr Nwosu’s claim is false.
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