Fact-Check: Is President-elect Tinubu Presently performing Umrah in Mecca?
Claim: There was a claim widely circulated on social media and blogs including Nairaland that Nigeria’s President-elect , Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is currently in Saudi Arabia performing lesser Hajj and praying for Nigeria and the entire citizens
Full-Text: A claim which was shared by Hajj Reporters along with a photo of Tinubu in Hajj garb flanked by some companions, went viral across social media and online news platforms. The President-elect was alleged to be conducting Umrah as well as praying for Nigeria “currently” in Saudi Arabia.
In addition, another footage surfaced displaying Tinubu in company of Jigawa State Governor, Badaru Abubakar Talamiz and other associates walking inside the Holy Masjid while some worshippers are trooping to snap pictures with him [Tinubu].
In their Twitter handle, with the username @HajjReportersNG, the ‘Hajj Reporters’ posted a photo of Mr. Tinubu alongside other worshippers in a white garment while raising their hands for prayers.
The post reads as follow;
“President Elect Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu in Masjid Al Haram in Makkah for Umrah ASIWAJU IN MECCA.
“May Almighty Allah accept it as an act of ibadah and grant him the needed wisdom to lead us to the promised land. May Allah accept his prayers AMEEN.” The post ended.
The tweet which was posted on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 and continued to attract viewership and retweet on Wednesday, March 28, 2023.
In the same vein, another Twitter user with the name, “Qudus Akanbi Eleyi of Lagos”, with the username @EleyiLagos, posted the same photo with the caption saying; “President-elect went to umrah to Pray for Nigeria and Nigerians. As Peter Obi or Atiku prayed for you before?”
The tweet, which was also posted on March 28, 2023 at 09:28pm, attracted ovet 4,000Views as at the time of filing this report.
Still, another online news outlet, Opera News, published an article titled: “Reactions As President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu Performs Umrah In Mecca”
They also claimed that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the incoming president, and his close friends are currently performing Umrah, also known as the “lesser Hajj,” in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Some part of the article reads as follows: “The president-elect was performing the spiritual exercise while numerous Nigerians in the mosque were vying for a chance to take pictures with him.”
Verification: To verify the claim, PRNigeria visited social media profiles and handles of the President-elect and his media handlers but there has been no official update on Mr Tinubu’s movement since news emerged seven days ago that he wouldl be jetting out to Paris and London to “rest” and plan a transition before traveling to Saudi Arabia later for lesser Hajj.
Furthermore, using keyword search on search engines, there was no credible news platform that reported the President-elect to have landed in Saudi Arabia for the lesser Hajja as at today March 29, 2023
PRNigeria further subjected the photos being circulated to a Reverse Image Search platform in which the results showed that the image was an old one which was taken since early January when Mr. Tinubu travelled to Saudi Arabia for a lesser Hajj.
According to news published by The Nation, earlier in January 2023, Mr. Tinubu went to Mecca in company of Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State and former presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, Malam Nuhu Ribadu among others for Umrah.
For further verification PRNigeria contacted an aide to the President Mr. Tinubu who confided in us that his principal was in resting and observing his Ramadan fasting after rigorous campaigns and election activities in Nigeria. He however, added that Mr. Tinubu would later depart for Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah before finally returning to Nigeria in preparation for his inauguration on May 29 as elected President.
Recall that the President-elect traveled abroad to rest and plan his transition programme ahead of the May 29, 2023 inauguration, after a very exhaustive campaign and election season.
In a statement issued on March 22, 2023 by his spokesperson, Mr. Tunde Rahman stated that: “The president-elect decided to take a break after the hectic campaign and election season to rest in Paris and London, preparatory to going to Saudi Arabia for Umrah (Lesser Hajj) and the Ramadan Fasting that begins Thursday.”
Conclusion: Based on the facts gathered by PRNigeria, the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is yet to be in Saudi Arabia for lesser Hajj as claimed. Meanwhile, the widely circulated image of Mr. Tinubu observing Umrah was taken in January 2023 when he was in Mecca for a lesser Hajj.
PRNigeria, therefore, concludes that the claim that the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is performing Umrah in Saudi Arabia (March 28-29, 2023) is FALSE AND MISLEADING.
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