FACT CHECK: Did a media house suspend its reporter for publishing leaked call between Obi and Oyedepo?

5 Min Read


CLAIM: Some Twitter users are circulating a claim that the Peoples Gazette has purportedly suspended its reporter, Ayoola Babalola, for publishing the leaked audio call between the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, and the General Overseer of the Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel), Bishop David Oyedepo.

VERDICT: Misleading


Last Sunday, the Peoples Gazette published a report of an audio call conversation between Obi and Bishop Oyedepo.

According to the report, Obi contacted Bishop Oyedepo on the eve of the 2023 general election and requested him to encourage Christians not just in the South-West but also in central states such as Kwara, Kogi, and Niger to support him.

Obi, in the leaked conversation, tagged the election “a religious war”.

While Obi and many of his supporters have dismissed the audio recording as doctored and fake, Obi’s spokesperson, Kenneth Okonkwo confirmed the authenticity of the call in a tweet. He said there was nothing wrong in his principal’s demand for support from the Christian community.

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The leaked audio recording continues to generate backlash from especially antagonists of the former Anambra State governor, who now see him as a divisive person.

Some of his supporters , to back up their claim that the audio is fake, claimed that the reporter who published the audio had been sacked by People’s nyGazette for publishing the “fake audio”


Ripples Nigeria confirmed that indeed Mr Ayoola was suspended for one month without pay, but his suspension was not informed by the publication of the leaked audio call.

According to a report published by the newspaper, Mr Ayoola was suspended for breaching the company’s guidelines on social media usage. Although his suspension was announced few days after the publication of the controversial audio leak.

According to Peoples Gazette, its management made the decision after carefully reviewing the reporter’s responses to online trolls and concluded that he did not act with decorum and professionalism expected of the medium’s employees.

The report read in part: “Ayoola Babalola met with the HR, where he was directed to proceed on suspension for one month without pay,” the online newspaper stated in the memo.

“Mr Babalola is a vibrant and respected member of the organisation’s editorial team,” the statement noted, but stressed the reporter’s “conduct on social media, both from months past and as recently as last weekend, grossly violated the organisation’s guideline on personnel conduct.

“Still, while the organization sympathizes and stands strongly with Mr Babalola and all staff members who come frequently under social media onslaught, the manner with which colleagues handle online trolls is what distinguishes us as professionals.”


Ripples Nigeria found that the claim that Mr Babalola was suspended for publishing a leaked call is misleading. He was suspended for responding to online trolls in a manner deemed unprofessional by his organisation.

By Oluwatobi Odeyinka

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