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FACT CHECK: Searchlight on FG’s ’16th democratically elected President’ claim on Twitter

On Friday, May 26, 2023, the Federal Government of Nigeria had claimed the incoming administration is the “nation’s 16th elected President”.


In a press release obtained by TRIBUNE ONLINE, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government had announced Monday, May 29 as a public holiday to commemorate the swearing-in of Nigeria’s President-elect, Bola Tinubu.

The declaration was made by the Hon. Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, in Abuja on Friday on behalf of the Federal Government.

“The Minister felicitates with all Nigerians on the momentous occasion, commending them for their faith in democracy as expressed in the nationwide election that produced the President and his Deputy being inaugurated and indeed in all elections across the nation. He enjoins them to continue to support and promote democracy through adherence to the rule of law and uphold all democratic institutions.

”Democracy anywhere is an unfinished business and the only way it can keep developing and serve its end of being the vehicle to good governance and the welfare of all the people is by adhering to its tenets of rule of law, support for democratic institutions, promotion of free and responsible press and advancement of the frontiers of freedom for all the people”, the statement partly read.

Screenshot 26 05 2023

The claim has also been widely circulated by some media outlets across their social media platforms.

TRIBUNE ONLINE in a bid to inform the public, highlights the claim made by the federal government and checks its viability.


Data sourced from the official website of The Presidency (Office to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation), shows there are only 16 elected presidents and heads of state since Nigeria gained her independence in 1960.

Further checks revealed Buhari’s successor is the 6th elected president of Nigeria (From 1960 till date) as against the widely circulated claim. Shehu Shagari was the first democratically elected President of Nigeria from 1979 to 1983. In 1999, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo became the second democratically elected president of Nigeria. He handed over to late Umaru Musa Yar’adua in 2007 as the third Nigeria’s democratically elected president. Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari are the 4th and 5th democratically elected presidents, respectively.


Therefore the claim that the incoming president is the “nation’s 16th democratically elected president” is FALSE and MISLEADING.





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