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FACT CHECK: Did CIA predict Nigeria would collapse in 2015 as Jega said?

BY Dyepkazah Shibayan


Attahiru Jega, a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), made headlines on Wednesday when he made some claims.

Jega was speaking at Tell magazine’s 20 years of democracy conference in Abuja.

The professor spoke on how there is a “trust deficit” in the electoral system and ways to bridge that gap.

But he also said that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had predicted that there would not be a Nigeria after the 2015 general election.


According to him, if Nigeria does not take care – undertake reforms in electoral process – the said prediction will come to pass.

“The CIA thought that 2015 was the do or die period for Nigeria, that there would not be a Nigeria in the way you know after the 2015 general elections – that has come to pass, but I think if we do not take care, a lot of these predictions will come to pass that is why we need to do quite a lot, much more than we have ever done in order to protect the integrity of the electoral process before 2023,” Jega said.

TheCable ran checks to verify the assertions made by the former INEC chairman.



TheCable carried out an extensive research and discovered that there are no documents to back up the claim that the CIA made such prediction.

But there was a 2005 report by the US National Intelligence Council (NIC) entitled: “Mapping Sub-Saharan Africa’s Future.”

Although the study painted a gloomy picture of what will happen if Nigeria collapses, it said “local factors will determine Africa’s fate [Nigeria inclusive].”


This, however, did not foretell of an outright disintegration of the country. This study is one of those regular intellectual exercises conducted in the academic community. It is part of “scenario painting” but the urban legend that CIA predicted Nigeria would collapse has endured since the report was released in 2005.


Since it has already been established that the CIA did not make such prediction, there is no basis for the assertion that it was tied to the 2015 polls.

But the NIC report in its conclusion spoke of Africa’s supposed future in 15 years. The council’s report was released in 2005 and 15 years from that time will be the year 2020.

Assuming the 2005 NIC report predicted Nigeria’s disintegration, Nigerians should only be worried about 2020.

But interestingly, 2020 is not a general election year in the country. Many have argued that electioneering periods are times when Nigeria is shaken to its foundations – as witnessed in 2015.


Former President Goodluck Jonathan accepting defeat and congratulating President Muhammadu Muhammadu Buhari was a move many say averted anarchy.


The claims by the former INEC chairman that the CIA predicted Nigeria’s disintegration and that it was tied to the 2015 polls are not true. There is absolutely nothing to back them up.

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