This article is part of our #FirstWord series to provide context on trending news
On Friday, 16th December 2018, 5 Vice Presidential candidates participated in a debate on core issues ahead of the 2019 Presidential elections in February.
Those that participated were Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN)'s Khadijah Abdullahi - Iya, Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN)'s Ganiyu Galadima, All Progressives Congress (APC)'s Yemi Osinbajo, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)'s Peter Obi, and the Young Progressives Party (YPP)'s Umma Getso.
The participants of the debate which aired on various TV stations in the country answered questions on security, the economy, foreign policy, and health.
In the course of the debate, a lot of figures were thrown around by different candidates, claims were also made. We helped verify some of them.
Peter Obi (PDP)
Claim 1: There are about 2 million vehicles in Nigeria.
Check: Incorrect. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria had over 11.5 million vehicles as at the first half of 2018.
Claim 2: Oil constitutes 80% of our foreign exchange earnings
Check: Incorrect. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics for the third quarter of 2018 suggest that oil & gas products accounted for over 95% of Nigeria's foreign exchange exports for physical goods. But this does not include exports of services like financial services, advertising, etc. Once these are included, oil's contribution to Nigeria's foreign exchange earnings would be much less than 80%. Also, Nigeria receives (not "earns") a decent portion of its dollars from diaspora remittances. Again, once this is added, oil would probably account for less than half of all dollar inflows into the country.
Claim 3: Nigeria has fallen on the global competitive index from 124 to 127.
Check: Incorrect. According to the 2018 World Economic Forum Report, Nigeria fell from 112th to 115th.
Claim 4: Nigeria has the highest number of out of school children in the World
Check: Correct. Nigeria has more than 10.5 million children outside of school, considered the largest number in the world.
Yemi Osinbajo (APC)
Claim 1: Lagos-Ibadan expressway was practically abandoned under the PDP administration for 16 years
Check: Incorrect. The Jonathan administration made some interventions in a bid to fix the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. For example, a ₦167 billion contract to reconstruct the road was awarded to Julius Berger Plc and Reynold Construction Company (RCC) in 2013. However, work on the road was notoriously inconsistent.
Claim 2: There is a tax threshold for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
Check: Correct. A lower rate of tax of 20% is applicable in Nigeria to small companies in agriculture, mining, and manufacturing in their first five years of business. The government also has a range of pioneer tax incentive schemes.
Claim 3: A bag of fertiliser in Nigeria now sells for ₦6,000 to ₦7,000
Check: Correct. Fertilisers run between the above amount.
Claim 4: Nigeria produces 90% of the rice it consumes
Check: Not proven. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the importation of rice in the country has dropped significantly with less than 25,000 tonnes brought into the country in 2018.
However, the rice exported to Benin Republic, where the bulk of Nigeria’s smuggled rice comes from, has increased to 1,214,568 metric tonnes in October 2018 from the 805,765 metric tonnes in 2015.
Ganiyu Galadima (ACPN)
Claim: None of Nigeria’s four refineries work
Check: Incorrect. According to the NNPC, 3 of Nigeria’s refineries work. To be fair, they are operating at a ridiculously low capacity.
Umma Getso (YPP)
Claim: Nigeria Airways was one of the largest in the World
Check: Exaggerated. Nigeria Airways was not one of the largest in the world.