By Akanimo Sampson
With the cost of campaigning for the Presidency of Nigeria currently put at N20 billion, around 55 million US dollar, it is doubtful if the other runners apart from President Muhammadu Buhari of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President, have such a financial muscle. It is equally doubtful if they could access funds to mount a viable challenge
Officially, campaigns for the 2019 elections began on November 18. President Buhari kickstarted his re-election campaign with an official launch of documents tagged as the ‘Next Level’, which listed his achievements during his first term involving, among other things, corruption, infrastructure, and security. It also offered projections for what he planned to do if given a second term, which includes:
• A promise to create 15 million jobs;
• A total overhaul of the education sector by ‘remodelling 10,000 schools, every year and retraining teachers to impact science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics using coding, animation and robotics to reinterpret our curriculum’;
• The pursuit of policies to diversify the economy;
• Improving the accessibility of farming equipment, such as tractors, to farmers; and
• The development of six industrial parks and 109 special production and processing centres (SPPCs) across each senatorial district.
Buhari is in the race after a tumultuous 2017 health issue that has sparked the claim that the APC presidential candidate is a cloned Buhari and not the same person who ran in 2015. His main challenger however, is Atiku, who announced his plans after the incumbent, focusing his attentions towards the economy, boosting investment into the oil sector and federal restructuring.
Among Atiku’s promises, are:
• To grow the national economy to a GDP of US$900 billion by 2025;
• Using private public partnerships (PPPs) to accelerate infrastructure investment;
• Boosting investment into the oil and gas sector; and
• Cutting subsidies and improving domestic refining capacity to around two million b/d.
But there are a total of 79 candidates in the race for the presidency of the supposed giant of Africa that cannot pay a mere N30,000 national minimum wage when South Africa is already shoulder ahead with more than N100,000 minimum wage a month.
Analysts say after coming to power on a wave of national and international conspiracy in a first, and unexpected, opposition presidential election victory in March 2015, Buhari spent much of the next few months disappointing Nigerians and investors by failing to name a cabinet, and earning the nickname Baba Go Slow.
He was said to be busy appointing civil service permanent secretaries and chiefs of parastatals, and thus removing an important source of political patronage from future ministers and other officials – a move in line with his selected anti-corruption campaign. He named a cabinet in November 2015, and aimed to avoid nominating one to satisfy the competing political, factional, and regional interests and instead choose individuals with proven track records in the private sector and demonstrable skills in policy making, administration, and management.
The Buhari Team appeared to satisfy these requirements, but President Buhari has struggled with the more political side of ruling whereby he needs to juggle the egos of, and reward, the various members of his coalition political party.
Consequently, the end of 2016 saw moves by the Executive to try and reconcile with some groups within the APC then, particularly Senate President Bukola Saraki. That was in a bid to counter the rumours that some of the big-hitters – namely the Western Nigeria’s political godfather Bola Tinubu and Atiku then were looking to break away to create a rival mega party.
Insiders say Buhari believed that both Tinubu and Atiku were on their way out of the party, but the government was trying to reduce the impact their defections will have. While the government has struggled to show any plans for pulling Nigeria out of its economic troubles, and the party is failing to show a united front, Buhari had benefited from the factional fighting within the main opposition party, the PDP.
While the APC administration ended the year increasingly unpopular with voters, the PDP has been tearing itself apart with two rival factions arguing over which is the rightful leader of the party. As a result the opposition was unable to take advantage of the difficulties and disagreements in the APC, which could have helped it overcome its first elections defeat in 2015.
They are still not taking some advantages. And yet the election is a matter of weeks away. While the APC is still suffering from internal bleeding, the PDP does not appeared to have rallied all within them for the Project Atiku 2019. All hands are expected to be on deck in the habitat of Ndigbo just as no figure should be left behind in the North-East. Has Sule Lamido and his crowd accommodated and Kano well taken care of?
The chaos in the Niger Delta area does not have to be a headache of the governors alone. From what has been playing out in Rivers State and now Akwa Ibom, it’s obvious there is an unholy alliance of sorts between the governing party and the security forces to capture the oil states. Rather than wrestle power in the oil region by security approach, the El-Rufai panel report on restructuring provided Buhari with a fast-moving train to coast home to victory in the Niger Delta, but they played a myopic politics with the document.
Rather than the gunboat electioneering, it will be more profitable to the citizenry to see chieftains of the APC busy themselves explaining how they will create 15 million jobs, just as those of the PDP bombard the electorate with the mechanics of how they intend to grow the economy to a GDP of $900. By the way, for those who may have forgotten, a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the total value of everything produced by all the people and companies in the country. It does not matter if they are citizens or foreign-owned companies. If they are located within the country’s boundaries, the government counts their production as GDP.
In the mean time, Trading Economics, a website that provides its users with accurate information for 196 countries including historical data for more than 20 million economic indicators, exchange rates, stock market indexes, government bond yields and commodity prices says the economy of Nigeria grew 1.5 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018, slowing from a 1.9 percent expansion in the prior period.
According to the website, ‘’it was the weakest growth rate since the third quarter of last year, as oil output shrank while non-oil sector continued to rise. On a quarterly basis, the economy advanced 2.9 percent, after contracting 13.4 percent in the previous quarter.
‘’The oil sector shrank 4.0 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018, following a 14.8 percent expansion in the prior period. The country produced 1.84 million barrels of crude oil per day, down from 1.87 mbpd in the same period a year ago. As a result, the oil sector accounted for 8.6 percent of the GDP compared to 9.0 percent a year earlier.
‘’The non-oil sector increased 2.0 percent, after expanding 0.8 percent in the previous period.
‘’Output advanced further for information and telecommunication (11.8 percent compared to 1.6 percent in Q1); transportation and storage (21.8 percent compared to 14.5 percent); food and accomodation services (2.4 percent compared to 0.3 percent); electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (7.6 percent compared to 4.9 percent); arts, entertainment and recreation (3.5 percent compared to 0.3 percent) and water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation (12.0 percent compared to 11.6 percent).
‘’Also, production rebounded for construction (7.7 percent compared to -1.5 percent) and social services (0.4 percent compared to -0.4 percent). In addition, output declined less for real estate activities (-3.9 percent compared to -9.4 percent) and internal trade (-2.1 percent compared to -2.6 percent).’’
Despite the vociferous claim by government, the site says output growth slowed for agriculture (1.2 percent compared to 3.0 percent); manufacturing (0.7 percent compared to 3.4 percent) and financial and insurance (1.3 percent compared to 13.3 percent). Additionally, production fell for mining and quarrrying (-3.8 percent compared to 14.9 percent) and education (-0.7 percent compared to 0.5 percent) and dropped faster for public administration (-5.2 percent compared to -1.7 percent).
Antagonistic politics aside, Nigeria is still the biggest economy in Africa with the largest sector being services. This sector accounts for some 50 percent of total GDP. One of the fastest growing segments in services are Information and Communications, which together account for around 10 percent of the total output. Agriculture, which in the past was the biggest sector, now weights around 23 percent.
The petroleum sector which is more of a ‘’curse’’ to oil-bearing communities of the Niger Delta, is said to constitute 11 percent of total GDP, though still the main export of the country. Industry and Construction account for the remaining 16 percent of GDP. The site was last updated this November 2018. in Nigeria was worth 375.77 billion US dollars in 2017. The GDP value of Nigeria represents 0.61 percent of the world economy. GDP in Nigeria averaged 97.52 USD Billion from 1960 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 568.50 USD Billion in 2014 and a record low of 4.20 USD Billion in 1960.
In Nigeria, GDP was worth 375.77 billion US dollars in 2017. The Value represents 0.61 percent of the world economy. GDP in Nigeria averaged $97.52 billion from 1960 until 2017, reaching an all time high of $568.50 billion in 2014 and a record low of $4.20 billion in 1960.