FACT CHECK: Verifying Osinbajo, Obi at TV debate

FACT CHECK: Verifying Osinbajo, Obi at TV debate
December 14
20:59 2018

To keep politicians accountable at the vice-presidential and presidential debate, TheCable was live-checking the supposed facts and figures being bandied by those seeking the highest offices 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).

Peter Obi of the PDP, and APC’s Yemi Osinbajo are debating alongside Ganiyu Galadima of ACPN, Khadijah Abdullahi-Iya of ANN and Umma Abdullahi-Getso of YPP.

OBI: There are about two million vehicles in Nigeria.


CHECKED: False. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria has a total vehicle population of about 11,547,236 as at the third quarter of 2017.

OSINBAJO: Lagos-Ibadan expressway was “practically” abandoned for 16 years under PDP.

CHECKED: False. The Goodluck Jonathan administration made many interventions on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, awarding a multi-billion naira contract to Julius Berger and RCC. The administration fixed the Ibadan to Ogere section of the road.


OSINBAJO: A bag of fertiliser now sells for N6,000 to N7,000.

CHECKED: Largely correct. Price of fertiliser has experienced a drastic drop following the Nigeria-Morocco fertiliser deal. Current prices are between N5,500 and N6,500. As at 2016, a bag of fertiliser sold above N10,000.

OBI: Nigeria has fallen on the global competitive index from 124 to 127.

CHECKED: False. According to the latest (2018) World Economic Forum report, Nigeria rose on the index by 10 places. Obi’s claim was true in 2016.


OSINBAJO: There is a tax threshold for SMEs, SMEs get to a level before they pay taxes.

CHECKED: True. There is a lower tax rate of 20% applicable to small companies in manufacturing, agriculture and mining within their first five years of business. The problem with the law is that the turnover threshold to qualify is only N1 million which is not in tune with current realities.

OBI: Nigeria’s foreign direct investment for 2015 was $21bn, while it fell to $12bn in 2017.

CHECKED: False. According to NBS capital importation reports, Nigeria’s total imported capital stood at $9.6 billion in 2015, and  $12.3 billion in 2017. Perhaps Obi meant 2014, when Nigeria’s total capital imported stood at $20.7 billion.


OBI: African trade today is less than 9 percent.

CHECKED: False. According to Afriexim Bank, Intra-Africa trade is around 15 percent. In 2016, intra-African exports made up 18 percent of total exports according to Brookings Institution. According to UNDP, Africa’s share of global trade is currently 2 percent.

OSINBAJO: Nigeria went down by 64 places under PDP, but has risen by 24 places under APC.

CHECKED: Partly false. Nigeria went down from 120 to 170 between 2008 and 2015, under PDP rule. Under the APC, ease of doing business has risen from 170 in 2015 to 146 in 2018, according to the World Bank Ease of Doing Business report.


OBI: Oil gives you 80% of foreign exchange earnings.

CHECKED: Point valid, figures near accurate. As at 2017 NBS figures showed that Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings from oil the oil sector stood above 90%.

GALADIMA: We have four refineries in Nigeria, and none is working.

CHECKED: The refineries according to NNPC reports are working at sub-optimal levels. Not totally dysfunctional.

UMMA GESTO: Nigerian Airways was one of the largest in the world.

CHECKED: False. Nigerian Airways was one of the largest in Africa.

OBI: The federal government spends only N5 on the health of each Nigerian citizen per day.

CHECKED: True. Based on budgetary and population calculations done by TheCable, the federal government allocates N4.7 to every Nigerian’s health per day.

OBI: Apple Inc’s market cap is bigger than the economies of Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt.

CHECKED: Apple’s market cap today is $788.57 billion. The economies of these three countries are bigger than Apple. When Apple was $1 trillion a few months ago, it was bigger in dollar terms.

OSINBAJO: Nigeria producing 90% of the rice we consume.

CHECKED: Dicey. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, the country’s rice import has dropped drastically with a surge in local production. The CBN estimates that Nigeria has legally imported less than 25,000 tonnes of rice in 2018 — validating Osinbajo’s claims. 

Africa Rice Centre says Nigeria produces 75% of its rice consumption, adding that rice smuggling is a big problem in Nigeria. Nobody tracks the amount of rice smuggled into the country. 

According to the Thailand Rice Exporters Association, the rice exported to Nigeria between January and October 2018 was 6,121 tonnes, representing a drastic drop when compared to 2016 when all-year import stood at 58,260 metric tonnes.

But the rice exported to Benin Republic, where most of Nigeria’s smuggled rice comes from, has increased from 805,765 metric tonnes in 2015 to 1,214,568 metric tonnes as at October 2018.

However, the United States Department of Agriculture says Nigeria’s imports rose in 2018 and Nigeria is projected to produce 4.79 million metric tonnes in 2019 and import as much as 2.4 million metric tonnes in 2019.


  1. Izu
    Izu December 14, 21:46

    To import goods from China is cheap than clearing it in apapa you can’t spend 2000000 in importation and spend about 1500000 in clearing your goods

    Reply to this comment
  2. Sacramento
    Sacramento December 15, 06:58

    We can’t remain perpetual importers. We must grow our economy by limiting such rent seeking practices. That’s how China and others developed!!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Msk
    Msk December 15, 08:53

    I wwnt to categorically admonish all Nigerian politicians who are jostlig for power in the forthcoming electoins, to equip themselves with accurate facts and figures before appearing for the debates because your competence and efficiency will be determined from there. This will give Nigerian a hope of consciousness for your party and vote you in.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Mr Bee
    Mr Bee December 15, 10:16

    If One says you don’t shut your shop and be chasing criminals,can we decide to leave criminals to loot our shops dry?

    If we ask how Nigerian economy will effectively runned, is it China’s economic indices read in the books & website that are at total variance with the the Nigeria’s current practical realities?

    Reply to this comment
    • Ostro
      Ostro December 16, 11:43

      It’s unwise to decide that you will not plant yam and corn in your farm because of the fear that bush rats will est them. If your only economic policy is to catch looters without other economic activities going on, your economy will collapse and your people will starve.

      Reply to this comment
      • Kayode
        Kayode December 17, 01:03

        I don’t agree that this government is not doing anything on the economy. The fact is that the government have diversified the economy but of which the result might take little time to yield.

        Reply to this comment
        • Obi
          Obi December 23, 11:12

          One Big chicken for you for explanation.Nigerians refuse to understand just bcos we are used to one source economy.OIL..This is best Govt ever.But looters Family and fiends PDP are not Happy.

          Reply to this comment
      • Oba
        Oba December 23, 11:24

        Serious challenges should be given serious attention.Corruption is our biggest problem…If you have a thief in shop u can nerve grow.Obi was trying to trivialized corruption just like PDP.. Ask OBI what happened to currupt people in China.

        Reply to this comment
  5. Adinoyi
    Adinoyi December 15, 12:02

    This is excellent The Cable.
    Surely a way to go to curtail the lies of those who failed us in the past.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Tariqq
    Tariqq December 15, 12:07

    The debate is far below average because most of them didn’t get their facts right before coming to that debate. They were just quoting large figures to make one another look incompetent to win the heart of Nigerians who rarely know this things. Please they should put the nation at heart before their ambitions abeg

    Reply to this comment
  7. King
    King December 15, 22:26

    My questions : Who are the criminals? Who is chasing them? Where is the shop?

    Reply to this comment

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