IN 2015, the President promised to revamp the economy, curb corruption and improve security in Nigeria.
He reiterated the promises, when he sought reelection in 2019.
He specifically highlighted security, especially dealing with the menace of the terrorist organisation, Boko Haram, that had been a torment to the country.
He also promised to improve the economy through a number of schemes and policies.
In addition, he pledged to fight corruption, with emphasis on checking graft at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and the oil sector.
Security problem continues to fester
The promise to crush Boko Haram appeared to be successful in the earlier years, but has since resurfaced.
Data from the National Security Tracker (NST) between May 20, 2015 and May 23, 2021 shows a significant decline in Boko Haram casualties from 1,122 deaths in 2015 to 780 in 2021. Within the period, the group had killed a total of 10,451.
And from 112 victims in 2015, the number of kidnap victims rose to 2,276 in 2021. The kidnapping cases have risen to 8,452.
In 2021, the insecurity spread to the southern Nigeria that was previously peaceful, now there is an increase in attacks on security formations, especially the assets of the Nigerian Police Force.
Though civilians deaths has decreased from 3,026 in 2015 to 1,437 in 2021, number of attacks rose from 405 to 1,016.
Buhari’s campaign though prioritise economy, key indices show that the Nigerian economy is still weak.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP), measured quarterly and annually, dropped from 2.79 percent in 2015 to -1.92 percent in 2020.
Borrowings during Buhari administration have soared with a total debt stock rising from N12.6 trillion to N32.9 trillion, an increase of 161.16 percent from December 2015 to December 2020, according to Debt Management Office (DMO).
Nigeria’s total domestic debt rose from N8.84 trillion in December 2015 to N16.02 trillion in December 2020, representing a percentage increase of about 81.32 percent.
In contrast, Nigeria’s foreign debt increased to $33.35 billion as of December 31, 2021, from $10.72 billion as of December 31, 2015, representing an increase of about 211.12 percent within the last six years.
At the current national debt stock of over N32 .92 trillion, further analysis by The ICIR shows that the over 200 million population currently owes about N156,203 ($410) per inhabitant in terms of per capita debt.
This is where 41 percent of its population (86.8 million) cannot afford two dollars (N762) in a day because they live below that threshold, according to the World Poverty Clock.
A curated data of unemployment rates across the world shows that the Africa’s biggest economy is home to the second-highest unemployment rate (33.3 percent) in the world after the Marshall Islands with an unemployment rate of 36 percent.
The National Bureau of Statistics in its most recent labour force statistics pegged Nigerians unemployed rate at 33 .3 percent
The inflation rate had dropped from 18.17 percent to 18.12 percent in the past month, but the Naira still suffers. Analysts have attributed the increase in prices of goods and commodities to the closure of land borders between August 2019 and October 2020 and also coupled with the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down the world’s economy.
“The closure of land borders in the country in August 2019 was a major driving force for the upward trend of the inflation rates of the country,” says NBS.
The exchange rate had risen from N197 to one US dollar in 2015 to N381 respectively in 2020. A worsening of the currency’s continued devaluation from 9.55 percent to 15.75 percent, data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reveals.
Out of 190 countries ranked by the World Bank for having a better business atmosphere, as of 2020, Nigeria sat at 131, ranking 170 out of 189 countries in 2015.
This is still poor as it means investors, especially (foreign) multinationals, will logically have to consider a long list of countries before Nigeria.
The ICIR had reported on an instance of the challenge of doing business in Nigeria and how some government policies had made the business atmosphere somewhat uncomfortable.
The effect of sitting at the lower levels in the World bank’s ease of doing business list is a reduction in the money from capital importation into Nigeria.
Nigeria’s capital importation money indicates the value realised from investments that are made in the country. In 2015, we had $9.64 billion, and after witnessing some high and low points, it rested at $9.68 billion in 2020.
It was at a record low in the first quarter of 2016, with $710.97 million realised. The sum of $23.99 billion realised in 2019 was the highest point recorded in the Buhari administration.
Solving Nigeria’s corruption
As of 2015, Nigeria ranked 136 among the 180 countries watched by Transparency International (TI), an anti-corruption association.
Corruption Perception Index, a publication of TI, uses a scale of 100 to measure how corrupt countries are annually. Nigeria came behind at number 26 in 2015, tagging Nigeria among the most corrupt countries in the world.
Even though the Buhari administration promised to put up a fight, the index as of 2020 put Nigeria at number 25 on the scale and ranked her 149, a step back from what it was.
Samson Samuels and Isah Abdul-Azeez made additional contributions.