Outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari insists that he has left Nigeria in a better condition than when he assumed office, despite evidence to the contrary. He expressed confidence in Nigeria’s progress under his leadership in his farewell address. However, various development and economic indicators show that the country has worsened since 2015 when Buhari took office.
For example, inflation rates have increased significantly since 2015, with the latest data revealing a rate of 22.22% in April 2023. Unemployment has also risen from 9.9% in 2015 to 33.3%, leaving around 23.2 million people without jobs. Poverty remains a pressing issue, as approximately 63% of Nigerians, or nearly 133 million people, are considered multidimensionally poor, according to the latest National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) survey. Furthermore, Nigeria’s GDP growth rate has slowed to 2.31% in the first quarter of 2023 compared to previous periods.
President Buhari’s administration has faced economic challenges, including two recessions and external factors like the decline in oil prices, Niger Delta militancy, COVID-19, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. While these events contributed to the economic difficulties, analysts argue that Buhari’s policy choices exacerbated the situation domestically.
Despite these challenges, the president implemented social intervention programs such as the Anchor Borrower Programmes to support smallholder farmers and promote self-sufficiency in rice production.
“Young men and women in urban centers were also supported to put their skills into productive use. Our administration also provided an enabling environment for the private sector to engage in businesses for which their investment return is guaranteed.”
“Mindful of the need to ensure adequate infrastructure to drive economic growth, we completed age-long projects and processes notably amongst which are the Petroleum Industry Act, completion of some power projects, completion of the second Niger bridge and various important roads linking cities and states,” Mr. Buhari said.
During his final week in office, the president inaugurated various infrastructure projects, including the highly anticipated Second Niger Bridge, the Ikom Bridge, the Loko-Oweto Bridge, the 200km Kaduna-Zaria-Kano section of the Abuja-Kano Highway, a Railway Wagon Assembly Plant, the new International Terminal Building of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano, and the new Headquarters of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). Three Federal Secretariat Complexes were also established in Anambra, Bayelsa, and Zamfara, among other initiatives.
As supported by available data, the Buhari administration has dedicated significant efforts to enhancing Nigeria’s agricultural sector and infrastructure. However, a fact-check conducted by this newspaper last year revealed that the president’s assertion of “leaving Nigeria better in 2023 than in 2015” is not entirely accurate.