Fact-checking Obi’s claims at ‘The Candidates’ presidential town hall series

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The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, on Monday, November 21, 2022 made several claims on the situation of the country and his plans for Nigerians if elected Nigeria’s president in the 2023 general elections.

He made the claims at the presidential town hall series titled ‘The Candidates,’ which was organised by Daria Media in partnership with News Central, and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), among others.

The town hall series features six presidential candidates and their running mates ahead of the February 2023 presidential election alongside their running mates, starting from November 17 till November 23.

The presidential candidates are: Bola Ahmed Tinubu (APC), Peter Gregory Obi (LP), Atiku Abubakar (PDP), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (NNPP), Omoyele Sowore (AAC) and Adewole Adebayo (SDP). However, Tinubu and Atiku later couldn’t attend the town hall series on assigned dates.

The Nigerian Fact-checkers Coalition (NFC) which includes The FactCheckHub, examined the veracity of these claims.

 

CLAIM  1

Peter Obi claimed that over 130 million live in poverty in Nigeria.

FINDINGS

According to a recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on multi-dimensional poverty, about  133 million people in the country, representing 63 per cent of the population, are living in different categories of poverty.

The report stated that 65 per cent of the poor (86 million people) live in the North, while 35 per cent (nearly 47 million) live in the South.

The National Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report is 0.257, indicating that poor people in Nigeria experience just over one-quarter of all possible deprivations.

The report stresses that poverty levels across states vary significantly, with the incidence of multi-dimensional poverty ranging from a low of 27 per cent in Ondo to a high of 91 per cent in Sokoto.

According to the report, over half of the population of Nigeria are multi-dimensionally poor and cook with dung, wood or charcoal, rather than with cleaner energy.

According to the report, high deprivations are also apparent nationally in sanitation, healthcare, food insecurity, and housing.

Accordingly, the incidence of monetary poverty is lower than the incidence of MPI across most states.

In Nigeria, 40.1 per cent of people had been deemed poor, according to the 2018/19 national monetary poverty line, but 63 per cent have now been regarded  multi-dimensionally poor according to the National MPI 2022.

VERDICT

Peter Obi’s claim that over 130 million people live in poverty in Nigeria is TRUE; as confirmed by the recent NBS report.

READ: How accurate is Obi’s claim on Nigeria’s public debt profile?

CLAIM 2

Peter Obi claimed that Israel’s export last year (2021) is $59.8 billion.

FINDINGS

According to Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry, the country accrued $143 billion in exports in 2021. 

The World Bank also estimates that Israel made $143.05 billion on exports of goods and services.

VERDICT

Obi’s claim that Israel’s export for 2021 is $59.8 billion is FALSE; findings show that the figure is higher.

 

CLAIM 3

Peter Obi claimed that Nigeria export was N18.9 trillion in 2021.

FINDINGS

Nigeria’s exports are goods grown, extracted or manufactured in Nigeria and are transported to another country for sale or trade. It is a crucial element of a country’s economy.

In Nigeria, it is divided into oil and non-oil exports. However, oil exports are the dominant portion of Nigeria’s export revenues.

India remains the top export destination for Nigeria with 16.4% (US$7.8 billion) of Nigeria’s total exports in 2021. Others were Spain, France, The Netherlands, Canada, USA, Italy and Indonesia.

A report by the National Bureau of Statistics titled “Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics (Q4 2021)” shows that Nigeria’s total exports amounted to 18.9 trillion Nigerian naira (NGN) in 2021 while total imports stood at N20.84 trillion.

VERDICT

Peter Obi’s claim that Nigeria’s total export in 2021 was N18.9 trillion is TRUE; as confirmed by the NBS data.

 

CLAIM 4

Peter Obi claimed that oil contributes less than 10 percent of Nigeria’s GDP.

FINDINGS 

According to the National Bureau of Statistics’ Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Q2 2022, the Oil sector contributed 6.33% to the total real GDP in Q2 2022,  down from the figures recorded in the corresponding period of 2021 and the preceding quarter, where it contributed 7.42% and 6.63% respectively.

VERDICT

Obi’s claim that oil contributes less than 10% of Nigeria’s GDP is TRUE.

ALSO READ: 2023 Elections: Nigerian fact-checkers unveil situation rooms in Lagos, Abuja

CLAIM 5

Peter Obi claimed that River Nile is over 1,000 kilometre longer than River Niger and River Benue combined.

FINDINGS 

According to Fortune Africa and Reuters, River Nile is the longest river in Africa and in the world with a length of 6,650 km (4,132mi); Niger River is the third longest river in Africa, extending about 4,200 km (2,611 mi); Benue River is about 673 miles (1,083 km) in length. So, adding the length of River Niger and Benue together and subtracting them from that of The Nile would result in 1,367 km.

VERDICT

Peter Obi’s claim that River Nile is over 1,000 km longer than River Niger and River Benue is TRUE.

 

CLAIM 6

Peter Obi claimed that Netherlands’ agricultural export last year was €103 billion (Euros) – that’s $120 billion.

FINDINGS

The estimated total of Netherlands agricultural exports in 2021 was €104.7 billion, data from the Wageningen Economic Research (WUR) and Statistics Netherlands, Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (CBS) revealed. Out of the figure provided, €75.7 billion domestically produced goods were exported in 2021 while €29.0 billion came from re-exported agricultural goods which originated from other countries.

Netherlands is rated the world’s second largest exporter of agricultural products after the US, according to the International Trade Administration, US Department of Commerce.

VERDICT

Obi’s claim that Netherlands’ agricultural export last year was €103 billion ($120 billion) is FALSE; findings show that the figure was a bit higher.

 

Nigerian Fact-checkers' Coalition

*This live-check was researched and written by members of the Nigerian Fact-checkers’ Coalition (NFC) and edited by Kemi Busari (Dubawa Nigeria), David Ajikobi (Africa Check Nigeria), Ajibola Amzat and Opeyemi Kehinde (FactCheckHub).

Nurudeen Akewushola is a fact-checker with FactCheckHub. He has authored several fact checks which have contributed to the fight against information disorder. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 via Twitter.

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