LIVE FACT CHECK: Verifying candidates at presidential debate

Finally, we are at the threshold of history, witnessing the 2019 flagship presidential debate!

The debate, which is hosted by Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) is currently ongoing at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

To keep the debaters accountable, TheCable, Nigeria’s independent online newspaper, is live-checking the supposed facts and figures being bandied by the politicians, who are aspiring to the highest elective office in the land.

The participating parties are; Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Young Progressives Party (YPP).


Muhammadu Buhari, the incumbent president and candidate of the APC, is abstaining from the debate — as he has done with all presidential debates since 2011.

Atiku Abubakar Atiku of the PDP, and the chief challenger in the February 16 elections, left the debate hall, following Buhari’s absence.

Fela Durotoye of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN); Kingsley Moghalu of the Young Peoples Party (YPP); and Oby Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), are all present at the debate.


OBY: Some 44% of our children are stunted because they are malnourished.

CHECKED:  According to the UN country programme document of September 2017, Nigeria has the second highest burden of stunted children, with a national prevalence of 32 percent.

The Journal of tropical diseases, 2018, however, estimates that 1.7 million are acutely malnourished, while about 11 million under 5 children are stunted.

MOGHALU: Education takes seven percent of the budget, 85 percent goes to recurrent expenditure.


CHECKED: 7.04% of the 8.6 trillion 2018 budget was allocated to education. The total sum allocated to the sector was N605.8 billion, with N435.1 billion for recurrent expenditure, N61.73 billion for capital expenditure and N109.06 billion for the Universal Basic Education Commission.

The allocation is lower than the 7.4 percent the government gave the education sector in the of N7.4 trillion 2017 budget.

The breakdown of the N550 billion allocated in 2017 was N398 billion for recurrent expenditure, N56 billion for capital expenditure and N95 billion to UBEC. Moghalu is largely correct.

DUROTOYE: 60 percent of Nigerians employed in agriculture.


CHECKED: Employment in agriculture was reported at 36.55 percent in 2017, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators.

MOGHALU: The northeast is the poverty capital of Nigeria.


CHECKED: According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP’s) multidimensional poverty index, northwest Nigeria is actually the poorest region of the country — not the northeast.

The report also indicated that five of the poorest 10 states in Nigeria are from the northwest.


DUROTOYE: 108 million Nigerians are homeless.

CHECKED: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in 2007, stated that 24.4 million Nigerians are homeless. Since then, millions of Nigerians have been displaced, following Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east.


The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), however, estimates that the housing deficit is estimated at between 17 to 20 million housing units, while the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, estimates that 108 million Nigerians were homeless in 2017.

MOGHALU: Almost 99% of heads of security agencies come from one part of the country and one religion

CHECKED: False, 85 percent of the 13 security chiefs are from the north. Of the 13, one is from the south-west, another from the south-south, five from the northeast, three from the north west and three from the north central.

OBY: 29.7 percent of the young people unemployed.

CHECKED: According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report for Q3 2018, the unemployment rate for young people (15-35years) declined to 29.7% from 30.50 percent in Q2 2018.

MOGHALU: There are 175 policemen to 100,000 Nigerians.

CHECKED: Based on simple mathematics, Moghalu means there is one policeman to about 571 Nigerians. But according to the former inspector general of police, Ibrahim Idris, there were 334,000 policemen in Nigeria, as at November 2018.

With a population of 198 million, that’s at a ratio of one policeman to 592 Nigerians. Hence, Moghalu is almost accurate.

MOGHALU: Federal government spends N1 trillion on petroleum subsidy.

CHECKED: In April 2018, Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, said the federal government spends  N1.4 trillion annually on petrol subsidy.

The federal government had in August 2016 said it saved N1.4 trillion by not paying oil subsidy in 2016. In 2018, NLNG dividends in excess of $1 billion (N305 billion) was used to settle oil subsidies.

For 2019, the federal government has allocated $1 billion for fuel subsidies — this translates to N305 billion.

MOGHALU: FG budgeted N11bn for Aso rock clinic in the last 3 years and it is higher than the budget for all the teaching hospitals in the country.

CHECKED: A total of N4.1bn was budgeted for state house medical centre in 2016, 2017 and 2018. N3 billion for 2016, N331 million for 2017, and N823.4m for 2018. Moghalu’s claim is false.

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