ElectionsFact Check

Fact-checking ten claims made by Peter Obi at Chatham House

Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate, delivered a presentation on Monday, January 16, 2023, at Chatham House in the United Kingdom (UK), speaking on how he intends to govern Nigeria if elected as president in next month’s election.

Themed “Nigeria’s 2023 elections: A vision for policy change and institutional reforms,” Mr Obi spoke and answered questions on issues ranging from poverty, education, economy, energy, oil and gas, insecurity, and restructuring. 

The former governor of Anambra State is a third-party candidate and top choice in at least three opinion polls.

This fact-check examines ten claims made by Mr Obi in his speech at the Chatham House London.

Claim 1

Claim: Labour Party presidential candidate claimed that apart from Venezuela, Nigeria is the only OPEC nation not meeting its Quota.

Verification: Latest data obtained from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) shows that from September to December 2022, none of the OPEC member countries met its production quota. The OPEC member countries are Algeria, Angola, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Venezuela.

Verdict: False.

Source: OPEC production data and monthly oil market report.

Claim 2 

Claim: Nigeria’s average life expectancy is about 50-something years, and the global average is 72 years. 

Verification: World Bank’s latest (2020) data on life expectancy show that Nigeria’s average life expectancy is 55 years, and the global average is 72.9 years. Similarly, the United Nations World Population Prospects (UN WPP) report shows that life expectancy is 72 years.

Verdict: True.

Source: World Bank, UN WPP.

Claim 3

CLAIM: 63 per cent of Nigerians are poor.

Verification: Last November, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the National Bureau of Statistics, published the results of the 2022 “Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) Survey,” saying 63 per cent of Nigerians (133 million people) are multidimensionally poor.

Verdict: True.

Source: National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Claim 4

Claim: Nigeria has about 60 per cent of youth unemployment.

Verification: The latest data on the NBS dashboard shows that Nigeria has 42.5 per cent youth unemployment.

Verdict: False.

Source: National Bureau of Statistics

Claim 5

Claim: Peter Obi claimed he was awarded the Best governor in Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).

Verification: Reports show that in August 2014, Mr Obi won the award for Mainstreaming the MDGs into Anambra State Development Agenda, 2006-2014. The award was presented to him at a Presidential Summit in Transcorp Nicon Hotel, Abuja. 

Verdict: True

Source: Daily Independent and Vanguard

Claim 6

Claim: There are 20 million out-of-school children in Northern Nigeria.

Verification: The total number of out-of-school children in Nigeria is estimated at 20 million, according to the latest global data on out-of-school children published in September 2022 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Therefore, Mr Obi’s claim that northern Nigeria accounts for 20 million out-of-school children is false. 

Verdict: False

Source: UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM) and Premium Times report.

Claim 7 

Claim: Seven local governments of Niger State are under the control of Bandits.


Last year, the Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, revealed that seven out of the 25 local governments in the state are frequently under attack by bandits and terrorists. Multiple newspapers also reported that seven local governments of Niger state are under constant attack by bandits.

Verdict: True

Source: Thisday and The Punch newspaper.

Claim 8

Claim: Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in 2015 was $2,550.

Verification: World Bank’s data review shows that Nigeria’s GDP per capita in 2015 stood at  $2,679, contradicting Mr Obi’s claim.

Verdict: False.

Source: World Bank

Claim 9

Claim: Nigeria’s total health budget was below N2.5 trillion from 2015 – 2021.

Verification: A review of Nigeria’s health budget from 2015 – 2021 shows that the federal government allocated N2.50 trillion to the health sector.

Verdict: Inaccurate.

Source: Budget office of the Federation, Premium Times and The Punch newspaper

Claim 10

Claim: “As of 2015, Nigeria’s total debt stock is about N15 trillion. But today (January 2023), with CBN ways and means, we owe over N75 trillion,” Mr Obi claimed.

Verification: Nigeria’s public debt in December 2015 stood at N12.6 trillion, according to official data from Nigeria’s Debt Management Office. By September 2022, the Nigerian government’s domestic and foreign debts rose to N44 trillion. On the other hand, the CBN’s loans to the federal government stood at N23.8 trillion cumulatively. Therefore, Nigeria’s total debt combined with CBN’s loans is N67.8 trillion, not over N75 trillion, as claimed by Mr Obi.

Verdict: False.

Source: Debt Management Office and Premium Times.

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