On December 27, 2022, a Twitter user with the handle “Olaudah Equiano® @RealOlaudah” tweeted a claim that the revered Islamic cleric and leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, had endorsed Labour Party’s Presidential candidate, Peter Obi for Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election.
The tweet which has over a thousand (1,000) retweets and almost four thousand (4,000) likes reads; “Breaking News: Shiite Muslim leader Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky endorsed Peter Obi as President.
“He also urged 8 million Shiite Muslims in the country to ensure they have their PVC ready to vote for Peter Obi as president,” the tweet adds.
The account handler is a staunch supporter of Peter Obi, and has tweeted multiple times to support Obi and berate other candidates including candidates of the APC and PDP as shown below.
To verify the authenticity of the claim, we checked the official website of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and its official sources for sharing information with the public.
After a thorough search, there was no official statement to verify that there was an endorsement of Peter Obi or even a visit by the Labour Party candidate to Sheikh El Zakzaky.
The only political candidate that had visited the leader in recent times was Omoyele Sowore, the African Action Congress candidate, who visited on December 18, 2022.
Marshall Abubakar, Zakzaky’s lawyer, also debunked the claim, stating that the cleric has not endorsed any candidate for the 2023 election.
“That is fake news. I can confirm to you that there is nothing of such, though some presidential candidates have reached out to him, he has refrained from endorsing any of them because he believes the 2023 presidential contest is bereft of ideological leaning,” Marshall said.
The claim that Sheikh El-Zakzaky endorsed Peter Obi is false. The IMN has since debunked the claim. The Twitter account has a record of misleading citizens in a bid to favour the candidate of the Labour Party.