Fact Check

FACT CHECK: Did el-Rufai ask Tinubu to withdraw presidential ambition over old age?

Ahmad Sahabi

A social media post has claimed that Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, urged Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential flagbearer of the ruling party to withdraw his presidential ambition due to old age.

Dele Momodu, publisher of Ovation Magazine, and director of strategic communications for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign posted a video of el-Rufai speaking in Hausa on his Instagram page on November  19, 2022.

“El-Rufai on Tinubu. “When you get to a certain age, you should thank God and leave others to continue. Since they said it must be Tinubu, we are watching. His energy is failing from what I saw of him when we were together the day before yesterday,” reads the caption of the post.


The Instagram post gathered 525 comments and 4, 669 likes. It was viewed 72,200 times.

Also, Reno Omokri, former special adviser to ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, posted a shorter version of the same footage on Twitter with the caption, “English version of el-Rufai video telling Tinubu he is not fit to be president!”.


Reno’s Twitter post gathered 9,873 views.


With the aid of InVID video verification tool, the video footage was traced to a 56 minutes Facebook Live broadcast held by el-Rufai on July 27, 2022, where the governor responded to questions from journalists.

In the media chat which was conducted in Hausa language, the governor was asked to clarify rumours suggesting that he would contest for Kaduna central senatorial seat.

He responded by saying that he wasn’t interested in any position and therefore would not contest for the Kaduna central senatorial seat.

He said he is 62 years old and becoming weak, therefore, he would rather pave way for other young people.

“The tip of the pen is already dry. There is a candidate for that position, it is Muhammad Sani Dattijo,” el-Rufai said.

“He is my person, I put him there, he has agreed to do it and I believe he’ll even do a better job than what Sen. Uba Sani has done in the Senate. I didn’t come out to do politics my whole life. Before politics, I was a businessman,” he added.


El-Rufai didn’t say Tinubu is too old to run

TheCable translated the entire Facebook live media chat and realised that el-Rufai was referring to himself, expressing his feelings on his personal retirement plans.

“Before the primaries, I told Tinubu clearly, because he told me he wants me to help him and I said to him, we will surely help you but know that I don’t want anything because I’m tired.

“I thank God for everything. I told him the work I’ve done is enough, but he said it’s not enough that I’m not tired, and we will talk about it again. So, I told him, we should continue dragging, but I won’t do it, I don’t want any position,” he said.

“Any work you want me to do, there are young people that have worked together with me, who are knowledgeable, hardworking who I can recommend and are fit to do the job.

“There are youths in the Kaduna state government, commissioners who if you give them a job to do, they will deliver as if I was the one who did it. So, why should I be taking young people’s jobs when I’m getting old?

“I’m 62 this year and I’ll soon be 63. Even our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) left this world at the age of 63.

“If you reach that age, you should be grateful to God and leave because you are becoming weak. This is what I think, but some people don’t agree with it, even Asiwaju doesn’t agree.  We are arguing with him, even the day before yesterday, we argued over the matter with him and we will continue to discuss the matter.”

Meanwhile, on October 15 2022, during the Kaduna investment summit, Tinubu pleaded openly with el-Rufai “not to run away for additional degrees after his tenure” as a governor of Kaduna.

“We recognise the twists and turns of democracy, the hills and valleys of economic changes, but we have in Nigeria the can-do, the will-do, the ability to surmount problems and set the country back on the path of prosperity.

“Nigeria needs thinkers and doers. I’m openly begging Nasir el-Rufai not to run away for additional degree.”


The claim that el-Rufai said Tinubu is too old for his presidential ambition is misleading.  The governor of Kaduna in the media chat was referring to his personal retirement plans and not Tinubu’s presidential ambition.

This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.
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