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2023 election: Tinubu’s 10 major blunders in public since January

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THE All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Bola Tinubu has continued his campaign for the February 25, 2023 election, making recurring gaffes that have left many doubting his mental fitness to lead Africa’s most populous nation.

Since he formally declared his interest in the presidency on January 10, the former Lagos state governor has spoken incoherently and erroneously several times in public while his aides labour to quell the aftermath. 

Here are ten gaffes the APC presidential candidate made this year.


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1: Expired PVCs

Addressing market women who visited him in Abuja in January, Tinubu told his guests that the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) they kept with them had expired. “In case they do not announce to you on time, the PVC you have has expired.”

But the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) countered him and confirmed he misinformed Nigerians.

Tinubu apologised through a statement by his media aide, Tunde Rahman.

“Immediately upon being apprised of this, Tinubu apologised for the incorrect statement and felt sorry for any confusion it may have caused.” 

2: Recruitment of 50 million soldiers

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In March, Tinubu said at a colloquium celebrating his 69th birthday in Kano state that the Federal Government should recruit 50 million soldiers to boost the nation’s security forces.

According to Tinubu, the recruits “will eat cassava, agbada, corn (agbado is corn in Yoruba language), in the morning, yam in the afternoon…”

His aide, Tunde Rahman, again admitted his principal had committed a blunder and apologised.

“Asiwaju seeks the expansion of security personnel by 50,000 for the armed forces, not the 50 million that was mentioned in error. It was an accidental verbal mistake of which we all commit from time to time, especially when reciting a series of large numerical figures.

“He did not mean 50 million youths, which is almost a quarter of our total population.”

3: Tweeting on Whatsapp

Tinubu said in April that social media users could tweet on Whatsapp.

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He said: “Do you know how many of you are tweeting on WhatsApp right now?”. The ICIR reports that Whatsapp is a free instant messaging app, while Twitter is a microblogging social networking service platform where users can tweet.

4: El Rufai turned a rotten situation into a bad one

Also, on October 15, the presidential hopeful claimed that Kaduna State Governor Nasir El Rufai turned a rotten situation into a bad one.

“Some people need to understand idioms,” Tinubu said, adding that “when I said he turned a rotten situation into a bad one, it is an achievement.”

Tinubu made the remark at the seventh Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit (KADInvest).

Despite the effort of his campaign spokesperson, Bayo Onanuga, to correct what many Nigerians saw as a huge blunder, Tinubu insisted he was right when he appeared before the Arewa Joint Committee at the Arewa House, Kaduna, two days later.

5: “God bless PD…APC”

Tinubu made his most notable faux pas in Jos, Plateau State, on November 15 when officially flagging off his campaign.

He inadvertently blessed the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) before realising and correcting his mistake. He said, “God bless PD…APC,” to the shock of many of his party faithful. 

6: Wrongly calling Plateau State Governor Solomon Dalong

The APC presidential flagbearer made another goof at the campaign rally in Jos, Plateau state, when he referred to the Director-General of his campaign council, Solomon Lalong, as Solomon Dalong. The latter was a former Minister of Youth and Sports Development. He hails from the state.

7: “Bala Blu, Blu, Bulalaba”

On Thursday, November 17, at a town hall meeting in Imo state, Tinubu struggled to mutter a word that appeared like “hullabaloo”. He said, “Bala Blu, Blu, Bulaba.”

8: Niger Delta state instead of Delta state

Similarly, on November 25, during his campaign in Oporoza, Gbaramatu Kingdom, the APC candidate said Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege would be the next governor of “Niger Delta.” He meant “Delta State.” Nigeria’s Niger Delta comprises six states: Delta, Edo, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa and Cross River.

9: APV instead of PVC

On Saturday, November 26, while addressing his supporters in Lagos State, Tinubu urged his supporters to get their “APV” instead of PVC.

PVC is a short form of permanent voter card.

There have been claims that Tinubu is sick because of how he talks and his hands shake when addressing people.

10. Prevent Church rat from eating poisoned holy communion

Tinubu compared Nigeria’s adherence to global climate change advice to a rat eating a poisoned holy communion when responding to a question on how he would tackle climate change if elected president.

He said climate change “is a question of how do you prevent a church rat from eating a poisoned holy communion?”

He made the remarks when fielding questions from the Arewa Stakeholders in Kaduna on October 17.

This statement has raised quite a reaction. Depending on who you ask or who is speaking, on the one hand,  some consider it a gaffe saying he made use of religious symbol in a negative light without taking into cognisance Nigeria’s tense religious atmosphere, while on the hand, some do not consider it as one.

The ICIR had published some reports on Parkinson’s Disease, which is the sickness associated with shaky hands and legs.

The report was followed by ‘What if Tinubu has Parkinson’s Disease?’

The ICIR also reported how Tinubu was silent on allegations of Parkinson’s disease affliction.

The ICIR reported that Tinubu asked the business community in Kano state on October 22 if he looked sick, as many assume.

Meanwhile, Nigerians hope to have a healthy president in 2023 because the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, spent almost 200 days attending to health issues abroad during his first tenure.

Tinubu vies for the presidency alongside Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), among others. 

Author profile

Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's the ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022. Contact him via email @ mfatunmole@icirnigeria.org.

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