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APC vs PDP: A Comparative Review of Performances in Government, By Salihu Moh. Lukman

Bi-Weekly Briefing Paper #1

February 21, 2022

Salihu Moh. Lukman

[email protected]

Freelance APC Campaigner


As 2023 elections approaches, the campaign messages coming from PDP leaders is that they are on a mission to rescue Nigeria. They claim that APC government has mismanaged the economy, divided Nigerians and created insecurity. Part of the arguments is that Nigeria is now the ‘poverty capital of the world’, alleging also that the so-called poor performance of APC led government of President Muhammadu Buhari contrasts with the ‘achievements’ recorded during the sixteen years of PDP between 1999 and 2015. They make references to rising debt profile of Nigeria and accuse the APC of mortgaging the future of the country. Many PDP leaders, especially those aspiring to emerge as Presidential candidates and their supporters, have even claimed that if PDP failed to win the 2023 election, Nigeria will collapse.

Somehow, as a party, APC leaders, and by extension members, are allowing PDP leaders to enjoy all these public outbursts without much challenge. Inability of APC leaders to proactively engage public debates around challenges of governance in the country has given PDP leaders some undeserved confidence to believe that 2023 elections can be won based on deceptive claims. Rather than evolve strategy to mobilise party leaders and members to actively participate in the public debate based on showcasing the achievements of APC led government using empirical records, some APC leaders are putting more energy and effort in terms of how they can manipulate party structures to impose their choices of candidates for 2023. It is important that committed APC leaders and members initiate review of comparative assessments of experiences of performances of governments under the PDP and APC.

The need to undertake comparative review of Nigeria’s experiences under both PDP and APC is important to ensure that both leaders of PDP and APC are challenged to adopt issue-based campaigns during the 2023 elections. Issue-based campaigns should be about correct and honest assessment of challenges facing Nigeria based on which campaigns of political parties and candidates proposes policy responses by governments they control when elected. Ability of political parties and their candidates to propose policy responses, which meets the expectations of Nigerian should be primarily the determining factor for electoral victory. When therefore APC leaders and members allow PDP leaders to continue to make all manner of inaccurate claims against the APC, it is injurious to the electoral profile of the party and its candidates in the 2023 elections.

Accordingly, it is very necessary to appeal to APC leaders to recognise that Nigeria, being a democracy, require that our party, APC, is proactive and take steps to set the tune of the campaigns for 2023 election. Setting the tune for the 2023 campaigns is mainly about correct and honest assessment of challenges and how the APC, being the governing party, is working to resolve the challenges. With all the records of bad governance under the sixteen years of PDP, on the one hand, and the initiatives being implemented by the APC led government of President Buhari, the question of comparative review of performances of both PDP and APC as drivers of the Federal Government shouldn’t be a matter of convenient claims by any politician, especially opposition politician, including PDP leaders.

Part of the questions, the campaigns for 2023 must respond to with experiential explanations include, how did PDP manage the Nigerian economy between 1999 and 2015? What were the justifications, if any, for the claim of its so-called successes? Specifically, what was the revenue profile of government? How much was government earning from oil and non-oil? How much was foreign exchange rate between 1999 and 2015? What was the expenditure profile of government – capital and recurrent? Since PDP leaders are alleging mismanagement of the economy by the APC led government since 2015, which they claimed is responsible for why Nigeria is the ‘poverty capital of the world’, what was the poverty profile of Nigeria between 1999 and 2015? With respect to issues of insecurity in the country, how efficient was PDP in the management of security challenges? What are the current realities under the APC led government of President Buhari?

This first Bi-Weekly Briefing Paper will attempt to respond to these issues based on presentation of evidence that are verifiable. The objective is two-fold. The first is to put Nigerian governance reality in proper perspective by recalling all the records under the various governments led by PDP between 1999 and 2015 and compare them with experiences under the APC since 2015. The second is to support Nigerian democracy to develop so that 2023 campaigns begin to shift in the direction of contest for ideas. As much as invariably the contest for ideas will eventually be reduced to contest of candidates represented by personalities, those involved must be political agents of political parties driven with vision of how Nigeria should respond to challenges and develop as a nation. Without any pretense, being a founding member of APC, committed to supporting APC leaders to facilitate politics of change in Nigeria, all briefing papers will be designed to serve as both resource materials to promote the APC and its candidates, as well as presenting the achievements of APC led government of President Buhari in very clear and unambiguous terms, and as a response to the inaccurate and convenient claims of PDP leaders.

Nigerian Economy under PDP and APC

In 2000, at the beginning of the PDP administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, total revenue of the Federal Government was N1,906.2 billion. Oil revenue was N1,591.7 billion, representing 83.8%, while non-oil revenue was N314.5 billion or 16.2%. In 2015, total revenue was N6,912.5 billion, out of which oil revenue accounted for N3,830.1 billion or 55.4% and non-oil N3,082.4 billion or 45.6%. In 1999, Naira to US Dollar exchange rate was N21.89 to $1.00. It sharply increased to N85.98 to $1.00 in 2000, an increase of 292%. By May 2015, when the PDP left government the exchange rate was N199 to $1.00. Crude oil price in the international market was around $27 per barrel in 2000. It went up to over $100 per barrel in 2013, with the peak being 2011 – 2013 when a barrel sold for as high as over $120.

With the price of crude oil at its peak in 2011, total revenue of Federal Government was N11,116.8 billion. Oil revenue component was N8,879.0 billion representing 79.9%, while non-oil component was N2,237.9 billion representing 20.1%. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, total revenue was respectively N10,654.7 billion, N9,759.8 billion and N10,068.9 billion. Oil and non-oil components were N8,026.0 billion and N2,628.8 billion in 2012, N6,809.2 billion and N2,950.6 billion in 2013 and N6,793.8 billion and N3,426.9 billion in 2014.

In 2016, at the beginning of the APC led government of President Buhari, total revenue was N5,616.4 billion, with oil contributing N2,693.9 billion or 48% and non-oil N2,922.5 billion or 52%. Crude oil price in the international market crashed to less than $50 per barrel. Although towards the end of 2016, prices of crude oil in the international market began to rise above $50 per barrel, the highest it went to was $72.44 per barrel in May 2021. Therefore, unlike the case under PDP, APC led government of President Buhari had to manage the national economy with less oil revenue. Notwithstanding, however, the government was able to record aggregate increase in the revenue profile of government. Accordingly, in 2017, 2018 and 2019, total revenue was respectively N7,445.0 billion, N9,551.8 billion, and N10,262.8 billion. The breakdown for oil and non-oil was respectively N4,109.8 billion and N3,335.2 billion for 2017, N5,545.8 billion and N4,006 billion for 2018, and N5,536.7 billion and N4,725.6 billion for 2019.

Just looking at the records, they show that total revenue of N98,132.9 billion was generated during the sixteen years of PDP. In the case of APC, by 2020, N42,178.7 billion was generated. Although looking at how the APC government of President Buhari was able to increase non-oil revenue, arguments about diversifying the economy can be made, but the most important question is how revenue was employed to execute government projects. Perhaps, assessment of capital and recurrent expenditures may provide some indications at this preliminary stage.

While capital expenditure increased from N239.5 billion, about 12% in 2000, to N818.4 billion in 2015, the ratio of capital expenditure to total revenue remained constant at about 12% throughout the sixteen years of PDP tenure. On the other hand, recurrent expenditure increased from N461.6 billion or 21% in 2000 to N3,831.9 billion in 2015 or 55% in 2015. Under APC, the ratio of capital expenditure to total revenue increased from N653.6 billion or about 12% in 2016 to N2,289.0 billion or about 17% in 2019. Recurrent expenditure was as high as N4,160.1 billion or 74% of total revenue in 2016, but reduced to about 68% of total revenue or N6,997.2 billion in 2019.

Beyond these figures, what were the specific achievements recorded both under PDP and APC? For the sixteen years under PDP, what were the projects executed? What are the projects being executed by the APC? Subsequent briefing papers will attempt to narrow these issues to sectoral assessments. However, based on revenue indices, non-oil revenue performance suggests increase from 20.1% of total revenue in 2000 to 34% in 2014 under PDP. Comparably, APC government raised non-oil revenue to 46% of total revenue by 2019. In addition, although prices of crude oil in the international market, remained around $50 per barrel, with the highest being $72 per barrel in May 2021, APC government was able to earn total revenue of N10,262.8 billion in 2019, which was slightly lower than N11,116.8 billion received by PDP government in 2011 when prices of crude oil in the international market sold for more than $120 per barrel.

If revenue performance is a measure of management or mismanagement of the economy, what is the evidence that APC led government has mismanaged the Nigerian economy? If APC government earned less oil revenue, but successfully mobilised non-oil revenue to record stable increases of revenue of government since assumption of office in 2015, how does that translate to mismanagement? On the other hand, if with favourable oil prices in the international market, selling twice the rate during the tenure of APC, PDP governments only recorded revenue of about the same being reported by APC, how does PDP become a better manager of the national economy?

Perhaps, it may be important to recall claims and counterclaims of missing oil revenues alleged by the former CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to the tune of $49.8 billion lost from NNPC accounts arising from the sales of crude oil between January 2012 – July 2013. Series of audits and reconciliation meetings involving NNPC, CBN and Ministry of Finance, narrowed the missing amount to $20 billion while the former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala reported $10.8 billion as the amount missing. On February 20, 2014, former President Goodluck Jonathan suspended Mallam Sanusi from office over allegations of financial misconduct. After the suspension of Mallam Sanusi as CBN Governor, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) confirmed that about $20 billion was missing. This clearly suggest gap in the records of revenue receipt from sales of crude oil under PDP, which may have been responsible for the relatively lower oil revenue performance under PDP as compared to the case under APC when prices of crude oil in the international market is only about half of what it was during PDP.

Nigeria’s Rising Debt Profile and Challenges of National Development

During the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s (1999 – 2007), external debt was reduced to $2.11 billion at the end of 2007. However, domestic debt increased from N798 billion to N2.17 trillion within the same period. According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), the breakdown of Nigeria’s debt stock shows that $20.5 billion (about 73%) was owed to Paris Club in 1999. By 2004, the external debt stock had risen to $35.94 billion. Negotiation eventually paid off in 2005 when Paris Club granted relief of $18 billion. By the end of 2006, the Obasanjo administration had cleared off the Paris Club’s debt. However, the country still owed $2.11 billion external debt and domestic debt was N2.17 trillion.

Under late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua (2007 – 2010), Nigeria’s external debt increased from $2.11 billion to $3.5 billion and domestic debt rose to N5.62 trillion. Similarly, between 2010 – 2015, during the tenure of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s foreign debt rose to $7.3 billion and domestic debt was N7.9 trillion. By June 2021, under President Buhari’s administration, Nigeria’s external debt had risen to $28.57 billion and domestic debt was N16.02 trillion. This means that both with respect to external and domestic debt, under President Buhari, Nigeria borrowed more. Although it is legitimate to worry about Nigeria’s rising external debt profile, it may be helpful to go beyond the moral debate of implications to future generations. Arguments about non sustainability based on morality will not highlight many of the core economic realities influencing government’s decision to borrow.

Economically debt sustainability is estimated with reference to debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio. GDP being the monetary value of goods and services produced in the country within a given year. So far, the debate about Nigeria’s debt is based on the absolute value of the amount Nigeria owe. Variables of both GDP and revenue are ignored in the debate. Without any doubt, some of the concerns expressed in the debate are legitimate, especially in relation to problems of exchange rate, which has further increased Nigeria’s debt burden. But in terms of looking at other critical variables such as revenue profile and even performance of the economy, the debate is excessively politicised. This is partly responsible for why, some argued that, compared to all previous PDP administrations between 1999 and 2015, the performance of the APC led administration of President Buhari is reckless. How correct is this assertion? In terms of both debt/GDP and debt/revenue ratios, what is the reality?

Computed at current basic prices, under former President Obasanjo, between 1999 and 2007, Nigeria’s GDP increased from N5,426.47 billion to N34,318.67. By 2010, under late President Yar’Adua, Nigeria’s GDP increased to N62,989.40 billion. In 2015, under former President Goodluck Jonathan, GDP increased to N94,144.96 billion. At the end of 2020, under the current administration of President Buhari, Nigeria’s GDP has increased to N152,324.07 billion. Just looking at both the debt profiles of respective governments since 1999 as well as GDP values, debt/GDP ratio has decreased from about 22% in 1999 to about 12% at the end of former President Jonathan’s administration. By the end of 2020, under President Buhari, debt to GDP ratio has gone up to around 21%, but still less than the 22% in 1999.

Low debt to GDP ratio indicates that the economy produces and sells goods sufficient to pay back the debt. Therefore, based on Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio figures, arguments of previous PDP administration performing better than the current Buhari administration may appear attractive. The point however should be emphasised that although some literature suggests that debt to GDP ratio of below 60% is sustainable, the issue of assessment of performance of governments revenue in relation to debt provides a better measure of sustainability.

Nigeria’s total revenue in 1999 was N949.2 billion. In 2007, under late President Yar’Adua, it rose to N5,727.5 billion, in 2010, N7,303.7 billion, and in 2015, under former President Goodluck, N6,912.5 billion and in 2020, under President Buhari, N9,303.2 billion. This means that debt to revenue ratio was respectively 3.6%, 1.3%, 1.75% and 1.75%. It also means that even with the rising debt profile of the Buhari administration, the ability of Nigeria to pay back its debts is not lower than it was under former President Jonathan. Even with the worsening exchange rate reality, which on its own has further increased the Naira value of Nigeria’s debt portfolio given that under former President Jonathan, Naira was exchanging for close to N200 to the US Dollar. Currently, exchange rate is over N500 to $1.00. Note that the computation of both debt to GDP and debt to revenue ratios is based on the current exchange rate of over N500 to $1.00.

Part of what is largely responsible for the lower debt to revenue ratio is the reality that under the current administration of President Buhari, Federal Government is making good progress in diversifying revenue sources. For instance, although Oil Revenue only increased from N3,830.1 billion in 2015 to N5,536.7 billion in 2019, an increase of 45%, Non-Oil Revenue increased from N3,082.4 billion to N4,725.6 billion, an increase of 53%. For the combined sixteen years of former President Obasanjo, late President Yar’Adua and former President Goodluck, between 1999 and 2015, Oil Revenue increased from N724.4 billion to N3,830.1 billion, representing an increase of over 400%.

Recall the analysis of revenue and expenditure profile of governments both under PDP and APC highlighted above. The overall implication to government budget is that budget deficit between 1999 and 2015 increased to -1557.8 from -285.1 under sixteen years of PDP, which increased to -4820.6 in 2019 under APC. The elementary logic is that higher budget deficits contribute to pushing governments to borrow. Applying the same logic, expectedly lower debts should encourage governments to have more favourable balanced budgets.

Although following debt cancellation of more than $30 billion in 2004, under former President Obasanjo, there was reduction in budget deficit consistently, between 2003 and 2008, from -202.7, -172.6, -161.4, -100.8, -117.2 and -47.4, respectively for 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. However, considering lower capital to recurrent expenditure ratio, it is quite debatable whether any favorable change was achieved arising from Nigeria’s debt cancellation during the PDP tenure of former President Obasanjo. For instance, one of the expectations would have been that following the debt cancellation of 2004, government should have more revenue to put in its capital budget given that it has freed itself from issues of debt services and other associated costs.

May be, the increases in capital expenditure to N351.3 billion, N519.5 billion, N552.4 billion and N759.3 billion respectively for 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 was enough to justify the debt cancellation. Or perhaps the correspondingly similar small increases in recurrent expenditure of the Federal Government during the same period to N1,110.8 billion, N1,321.3, N1,390.2 and N1,589.3 respectively, justifies the debt cancellation during the tenure of former President Obasanjo.

Everything considered, all the indices of Nigeria’s fiscal management between 1999 and 2020, indicates more prudence under the six years of President Buhari than during the eight years of former President Obasanjo, notwithstanding the claims of cancelling Nigeria’s debts. By the time the analysis is expanded to cover specific issues of projects executed, under the current administration of President Buhari, Nigerians would need the help of PDP leaders and their supporters to highlight what specifically PDP governments achieved in terms of projects execution between 1999 and 2015.

Unlike the PDP, APC and President Buhari can point to ambitious National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) and many infrastructural projects. Significantly, more resources were devoted to construction of road and transport infrastructure under the APC led government of President Buhari than under any other administration since 1999, and the results are roads, bridges, highways, rail lines and stations, and air and seaport upgrades. In the Agricultural sector, specific initiatives of the APC led government of President Buhari include National Food Security Council (NFSC), Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP), National Livestock Transformation Plan, The Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), and Creation of an Enabling Environment. Details of all these will be provided in subsequent briefing papers.

High Poverty Rates and False Claim by PDP

The high incidence of poverty in the country is another sore point, which PDP leaders are alleging that is a confirmation of the poor performance by APC government. What are the facts? As far back as January 2007, Prof. Charles Soludo, as Governor of Central Bank, drew attention to the worrisome conclusion that ‘Very high level of poverty is essentially a Northern phenomenon.’In apresentation to Stakeholders on the Economy, Prof. Soludo highlighted that average poverty incidence in Northern Nigeria was as high as 70.1% as compared to 34.9% for the three southern regions.

The 2010 National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report of Harmonised National Living Standard Survey (HNLSS) released on February 13, 2012, indicated that poverty in Nigeria increased from 54.4% in 2004 to 69% or 112,518,507 in 2010. And ahead of her August 29, 2018 visit to Nigeria, former British Prime Minister Theresa May declared that 87 million Nigerians live on less than $1.90 a day, which according to her makes Nigeria ‘home to more very poor people than any other nation in the world.’

In 2012 when the NBS report was released, highlighting increase in poverty to 69%, the PDP government of former President Goodluck Jonathan rejected the NBS 2012 report on the grounds that $1.00 per day measure used by NBS overstated the nation’s poverty profile. In its place, the government argued for the use of purchasing power parity measure of $1.15 per day, based on which the headcount measure was said to be lower than the 69% or 112,518,507. It was in recognition of the need not to play politics with poverty that as a party, APC acknowledges that poverty incidence in Nigeria is more than 100 million. The manifesto of the party explicitly underlines this reality based on which the APC government of President Buhari committed itself to lifting more than 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.

The problem of high incidence of poverty in Nigeria has been a reality for decades, which no Nigerian can deny. Year after year, both governmental and non-governmental groups, including multilateral institutions, continue to highlight the ugly reality of Nigeria’s high poverty levels.In February 2021, the World Bank released its annual report on Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020: Reversal of Fortune, which indicated that 2,969,158 Nigerians are living in extreme poverty and a total of 94,470,535 million are below the poverty line of $1.90 or about N700 per day. It also highlighted sadly that Nigeria has the largest population of poor people, accounting for 20 per cent of people living in poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, with a further projection that the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the economy will increase the number of people living below the poverty line to more than 100 million by 2022.

Therefore, APC and the government of President Buhari acknowledges that more than 100 million Nigerians are poor. If poverty rate in Nigeria was higher than 54% between 2007 and 2010, what were the initiatives taken by PDP led governments? If initiatives taken by PDP governments, were effective, why was there increase in poverty rates to 69% or 112,518,507 in 2012 as reported by the NBS? There is the need to engage the disturbing issue of high levels of poverty in Nigeria beyond the narrow prism of politics. The most important question is the policy proposals being proposed by political parties and their candidates to reduce poverty levels in the country. Specifically, beyond the false allegation that APC led government of President Buhari is responsible for higher levels of poverty in the country, how does PDP plan to bring down poverty levels if Nigerians decide to vote for them?

Outside the simplistic strategy of promoting political choices, it is equally important that PDP leaders wake up to the reality that current high levels of poverty predated APC governments. If Nigerians trust PDP with their votes, what new initiatives will PDP led government introduce that is different? Noting that since 2010, partly on account of incidences of poverty, peaceful life has eluded Nigerians, especially in the North, the question of initiatives to reduce poverty in the country should not be reduced to empty promises. So long as Nigerians live in conditions of extreme poverty, crime rates, including banditry, kidnapping and abduction of innocent school children will remain high. The factory that produces bandits, kidnappers, abductors and insurgents is the very condition that holds more than 100 million Nigerians below the poverty line.

The good thing is that APC and its leaders are not in denial about this reality. Since May 2019, President Buhari declared the commitment of APC government to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty. On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, President Buhari requested the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) led by Prof. Doyin Salami to present a plan for a poverty reduction strategy in the country. From the reports after the meeting between President Buhari and PEAC members, the defining principle of the proposed strategy recognises that ‘Poverty is not only the lack of cash. It is defined by lack of access to shelter, health, education and jobs which must all be addressed.’

Part of the shocking information in the plan, which jolted President Buhari was that only two per cent of Nigeria’s vast agricultural land resources are being utilised. Although Prof. Salami was reported to have informed President Buhari that the plan has so far gained overwhelming approval of stakeholders across the country, it is important to draw attention to the question of commitment of Nigerians, especially political leaders, irrespective of partisan affiliation, in implementing initiatives for poverty reduction in the country.

The main challenge of poverty reduction in Nigeria is to ensure that commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty translate to very high capacity to mobilise large scale investments to achieve set national targets under the new National Development Plan 2021 – 2025. Under the new National Development Plan, both sectoral annual targets as well as commitments by state governments and other non-governmental and private sector players are projected. Clear focus on shelter, health, education and jobs have been provided. Details of sectoral realities and national development targets provided under the new National Development Plan 2021 – 2025 will be reviewed in subsequent briefing papers.

It is, however, important to recall that since 2015, the government of President Buhari has been implementing National Social Investment Programme (NSIP). What was the experiences under the PDP? YouWIN and NAPEP were some of the policy initiatives of PDP governments to reduce poverty in Nigeria. If initiatives under PDP were effective, why did poverty incidence in the country increased? Instead of politicising issues of poverty, the challenge is to ensure credible method of targeting the poor and vulnerable for the reduction of poverty, effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, among others. These are being initiated under the NSIP, which is predicated on the need for more sustained and inclusive economic growth, reduced poverty rates and closing the wide income inequality gap between the rich and the poor, a lot of welfare investments are being implemented in the country under the NSIP initiative.

Founded on the four pillars of N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), Home Grown School Feeding and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), through the NSIP, millions of poor Nigerians are benefiting from these initiatives. For instance, as at January 2021, GEEP had disbursed N36.9 billion in interest-free loans of between N50,000 to N350,000 to more than 2.3 million Nigerians. Under the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, 9.9 million primary 1 – 3 pupils in 54,952 public primary schools in 35 states have benefited. Additional 107,000 cooks have been engaged. In the case of Conditional Cash Transfer, more than 3 million poor and vulnerable households have been registered on the National Social Register, out of which more than one million families are paid N5,000 monthly.

It is to the credit of the Buhari administration that investment in agriculture, especially around initiatives to provide support to farmers, is a major priority. Early in the life of the administration, in 2015, the Anchor Borrowers Programme funded by CBN was launched with N200 billion on November 17, 2015. By January 2022, more than 3.1 million small farmers producing 21 different commodities and cultivating over 1.4 million hectares of farmland have been funded. Grains pyramids such as rice and maize are being celebrated across the country. Beyond politics, there is the need to engage the debate based on the strategy to build on successes achieved so far.

Challenges of Insecurity

The issues of insecurity in the country remained a major challenge. Some PDP leaders and their supporters have accused APC of failure to end the war against Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East. With incidences of banditry in the North-West and North-Central producing more cases of kidnappings and abductions of citizens, including schoolchildren, capacity of Nigerian security agencies to prevent and arrest criminal activities of rebellious groups in all parts of the country are legitimate concerns of all Nigerians. There is also the challenge of preventing or managing conflicts arising from activities of herdsmen, which have provoked all manner of conflicts between Fulani herdsmen and other citizens, especially farmers, across every part of the country. Criminal activities associated with herdsmen also increased incidences of banditry, kidnappings and abductions of citizens.

The narrative promoted by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and their supporters, is that challenges of insecurity facing the country is a confirmation that President Buhari and APC have failed Nigerians. Citing campaign promises of APC in 2015, undertaking to end insecurity, fight corruption and build the economy, problems of insecurity in the country is being used to mobilise Nigerians against the APC and President Buhari. Part of the politics is also aimed at mobilising support to defeat APC in the 2023 elections. Divisive politics of ethnicity and religion are important elements of the campaigns.

Consequently, there appears to be some disconnect between politics and the need to unite Nigerians to work together to address the nation’s security challenges. Opposition politicians and their supporters are unreceptive to efforts to mobilise Nigerians to forge strong national unity towards ending insecurity in the country. It is therefore a good mark of leadership, notwithstanding the desperate grandstanding politics for 2023 by PDP and their supporters, for President Buhari to acknowledge that Nigeria is passing through a period of momentous challenges. No doubt President Buhari is not in denial about Nigeria’s security challenges. Acknowledging the challenges is indicative of the commitment of President Buhari and by extension APC leaders to end the problem of insecurity facing the country.

Since 2015, under the leadership of President Buhari, APC controlled Federal Government has rolled out several initiatives to deliver on their campaign promises targeted at strengthening Nigeria’s public service institutions. Significant progress has been achieved. A major gap being exploited by the opposition against APC and the Federal Government is that official communication both from APC and the Federal Government is passive and reactive. Efforts to engage Nigerians to secure citizens’ ownership of policy initiatives are quite low. Consequently, political opposition in the country is succeeding in taking good advantage of this reality to unfairly portray both APC and President Buhari in bad light.

Partly because of the domineering influence of the negative publicity by opposition politicians against APC, unfortunate activities of armed bandits, insurgents and criminal elements in the country are mischievously being presented as confirmation of failure of APC led Federal Government. False narrative against APC and President Buhari are being promoted, suggesting that criminal activities of bandits only started when APC took control of the Federal Government in 2015. In addition, APC is being alleged to have failed in ending Boko Haram insurgency.

Any objective analyst would recall that as at 2015, activities of Boko Haram insurgents, apart from controlling most parts of the North-East, had spread to parts of North-West and North-Central, notably Kano, Kaduna, FCT, Niger, Kogi and Nasarawa. In both North-West and North-Central regions, problems of cattle rustling were rampant before 2015. Kidnapping was also there in many parts of the South-South and South-East. To worsen matters, there was the 2014 corruption case of $2.1 billion meant for arms procurement, which was diverted by PDP led administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

In addition to the $2.1 billion arms procurement corruption case, an interim report of a government investigative panel on November 17, 2015, reported that between 2007 and 2015, there had been ‘extra-budgetary interventions’ for arms procurement totaling NGN (Nigerian naira) 643.8 billion with the ‘foreign currency component’ of USD 2.2 billion. Total value of ‘extra-budgetary interventions’ estimated at between $4.5 billion and $7.2 billion. According to the report of the investigation, “The committee also observed that of 513 contracts awarded at USD 8,356,525,184.32; 2,189,265,724,404.55 naira and EUR 54,000.00; Fifty Three (53) were failed contracts amounting to USD 2,378,939,066.27 and 13,729,342,329.87 naira respectively.”

The report further highlighted that around USD 2.5 billion worth of ‘failed contracts’ that is, contracts for which no goods or services were delivered occurred between 2007 and 2015. The total value of contracts awarded which amount to at least USD 19 billion is clearly far higher than the extra-budgetary interventions. Hence, it would appear that the figures for failed contracts relate to all contracts, from both budgetary and extra-budgetary sources, and include regular contracts for goods and services as well as for arms.

Further, Col. (Rtd) Dasuki was alleged to have awarded ‘fictitious and phantom contracts’ valued at $1.7 billion for the procurement of four Alpha jets and twelve helicopters, as well as bombs and ammunition, which were never delivered. It was also revealed that these contracts went to two unnamed companies despite their previous record of non-performance. Col. (Rtd) Dasuki was also alleged to have directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to transfer $132 million and EUR 9 million to the accounts of a Nigerian company, Societé d’Equipements Internationaux (SEI), without any contracts to back them up.

The total amount of public funds stolen during the tenure of PDP, including funds meant for arms procurement to strengthen the capacity of Nigerian armed forces to protect lives and property of Nigerians remains uncertain. In early May 2016, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) reported that the $2.1 billion arms procurement corruption case related to just one transaction, and that the total amount of funds involved is $15 billion. If this is correct, it is almost as much as the total official defense budgets between 2007 and 2015 and half of Nigeria’s foreign currency reserves.

That PDP leaders even have the impudence to accuse APC of any failure demonstrate the disconnect in Nigerian politics. Any comparative assessment of APC and PDP management of Nigeria’s security challenges, which failed to recognise these realities of cruel theft of resources meant to procure arms in order to convert insecurity in the country simply suggest lack of any commitment to recognise challenges and work towards addressing them.

Unlike the PDP, APC under the leadership of President Buhari is confronting these age-old challenges. The Nigerian Military is witnessing the biggest investments in weaponry and equipment in decades. Hundreds of new platforms are being acquired for the Army, Air Force and Navy. The Nigeria Air Force has received 23 new aircraft since 2015, with at least a dozen more being expected, and the Navy has most recently acquired its first new Landing Ship Tank (LST) since 1979. The Administration has also launched a Nigeria Police Trust Fund. The new Police Act signed by President Buhari in 2020 incorporates the concept of Community Policing.

Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure project, to protect Nigeria’s vast waterways up to the Gulf of Guinea has been flag-off by President Buhari. In the last five years, a number of technology solutions are being deployed and implemented to support the Police, Immigration and other security agencies. Examples include the new Nigeria Police National Command and Control Centre (NPF-C4i); the new Nigeria Police Crime and Incident Database (NPC & IDB) Centre; the West Africa Police Information System (WAPIS), developed by INTERPOL; and the Migration and Data Analysis System (MIDAS), developed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The Federal Government is working closely with the States and Local Governments, and the Legislature and Judiciary to initiate more reforms that can improve the capacity of security agencies to secure the country and be resolute in its determination to rid Nigeria of crime and criminality. It may take some time for Nigerians to see the full results of these interventions, but President Buhari has assured Nigerians that he will be handing over a safe and secure Nigeria to his successor in May 2023, unlike what he took over from the PDP.


Looking at all the evidence of the economy, poverty and challenges of insecurity, PDP is only able to speak out and make all the wild goose allegations of failure against the APC led government of President Buhari because APC leaders decided to mute themselves at a time when they should be mobilising Nigerians to review progress and challenges of delivering on campaign promises made since 2015. Instead of taking steps to mobilise Nigerians to review progress and challenges as part of preparations for 2023   s, APC leaders and members are being held captive by His Excellency Mai Mala Buni led Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC). Instead of working to organise a National Convention where a new leadership is expected to emerge, the CECPC has constituted itself into a Frankenstein monster working to destroy the party.

Every committed party leader and member must rise to the challenge of compelling His Excellency Mai Mala Buni and his team of undertakers to hands off the party by ensuring that the February 26, 2022 National Convention is successful. Party leaders and members need to put behind all the uncertainty created by His Excellency Mai Mala Buni around the National Convention so that the business of preparation for 2023 electoral contest can earnestly begin in APC. As a party, APC need to put itself in the roadmap for the 2023 electoral contest to be able to properly showcase all the achievements of President Buhari’s led APC government.

President Buhari has proven that it is possible to have a strong correlation between politics and national development. With lower oil revenue, APC led government of President Buhari is able to match revenue earning under PDP. He has also demonstrated that with marginal increase in capital budget, much more projects can be executed beyond what PDP claimed to have achieved. In any case, the so-called argument for achievements under PDP’s sixteen years would need to be proven beyond empty loud noise aimed at hoodwinking Nigerians.

Whenever PDP leaders complained of too much borrowing by the APC led Federal Government of President Buhari it must be borne out of shame about the mismanagement of opportunity during their tenure when with so much oil revenue, instead of initiating projects for national developments, they opted for looting spree of the national treasury. Part of the shame is also the culpability around the opportunity which the 2004 Paris Club debt cancellation presented, which would have translated into significant capital budget. Instead, PDP government simply continued the same business as usual management of the economy.

Management of challenges of poverty and insecurity in the country was reduced to rhetoric and in many instances denials by PDP governments between 1999 and 2015. The result is the crisis of insecurity in the country, which is consuming human lives and property. Certainly, notwithstanding initiatives being taken by the APC led government of President Buhari, it is important that political leaders engage the debate of resolving challenges of insecurity based on stronger commitment to unite Nigerians. This will require that debate about resolving challenges of insecurity in the country must be depoliticised. It is only when national responses to insecurity are depoliticised that political leaders irrespective of partisan affiliation can subscribe to some minimum standards.

These are some of the issues that should guide the campaign for 2023. It is in the collective interest of APC leaders to unite and ensure that APC campaign for 2023 is oriented to build on the achievements of President Buhari’s successes and redress the shortcomings of initiatives since 2015. Under no circumstance should APC leaders allow a situation whereby PDP leaders, with all their reprehensible records during their sixteen years in government, set the tune for the 2023 electoral contests. Once that is the case, it means that APC leaders have derelict from their political responsibilities. May Allah (SWT) guide our nation, our people and our leaders to the path of greatness. Amin!

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