Vice Presidential candidate of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Peter Obi has insisted that the statistical data he reeled out during the Saturday 15 December Vice Presidential debate were accurate, as he obtained them from “competent sources”.
Mr Obi, an ivy-league trained economist and successful entrepreneur impressed Nigerians with his performance for the first time as a political figure on the national stage, and was adjudged the decisive winner of the debate by nearly all post-debate online polls against the sitting vice president and a law professor, Yemi Osinbajo. There were three other candidates at the debate; Umma Getso of YPP, Abdulganiyu Galadima of ACPN and Kahdijah Abdullahi-Iya of ANN.
Some Post-Debate Online Polls
— VOICE OF NIGERIA (@voiceofnigeria) December 14, 2018
Vote and retweet.
— Y! Online (@YNaija) December 14, 2018
— Kakaaki Social Media (@KakaakiSocial) December 14, 2018
Let’s do a poll. Who won the VP debate?
— Mazi Chima Amadi Ph.D (@AMADICHIMA) December 14, 2018
But Obi’s political detractors quickly tried to deflate his rising stature and momentum out of the debate by disputing several of the statistical data he presented to buttress his points with which he rubbished the economic performance of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
A satirical video appeared online which mocked Mr. Obi (who apparently is often fascinated by the “Chinese economic miracle”) by stitching together several comments he made previously as he tried to contrast Nigeria’s economic difficulties with Chinese economic prosperity. Some supporters of his opponents on social media called him different names, “The Son of China”, others “From China to China” or “Container economist” – an allusion to his import and export businesses.
— Oluicon (@digitalbrides) December 16, 2018
Unfazed, Mr. Obi insists his data at the debate to support the veracity of his statistical claims were correct and came from credible sources.
Obi’s Media Adviser, Mr. Valentine Obienyem, in a statement Tuesday 17 December, called on Nigerians to disregard those going about debunking, as incorrect, the data used by the former Governor of Anambra State to support his points during the 2018 Vice Presidential debate. Obienyem said that engaging in what he called “statistical fallacy” was a mark of persons without honour and insisted that Obi did not do so during the debate as, “the sources of all the facts and statistics he put forward could easily be verified.”
In the statement made available to journalists, Obienyem itemised all the points that Obi made during the debate and gave the source of Obi’s data, which he challenged those doubting their authenticity to verify. Part of the statement read: “During the debate,
- Obi said that Nigeria used over 50% of her revenue to service debt. This can be verified from DMO’s 2017 reports on Nigeria’s debt stock and total debt service.
- Obi said the country’s total debt stock was
N22.7 trillion, about USD80 billion. This can be verified from DMO’s June 2018 report on Nigeria’s debt stock.
- Obi said that Mexico’s GDP was over USD1 trillion and its GDP per capita was over USD8,000 This can be verified from World Bank report on: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.KD?locations=MX&view=chart).
- Obi said that South Africa’s stock market capitalization was USD900 billion. This can be verified from Stock Market Clock (https://www.stockmarketclock.com/exchanges/jse).
- Obi said that Nigerian bank loans is made up of 15% of GDP. This can be verified from the World Bank (source: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/FD.AST.PRVT.GD.ZS?locations=NG&view=chart).
- Obi said that Nigeria had the highest number of the Poor at 87 million – growing by six persons per minute. This can be verified from Brookings Institute publication, ‘The start of a new poverty narrative” published by Homi Kharas, Kristofer Hamel, and Martin Hofer on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 (source: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2018/06/19/the-start-of-a-new-poverty-narrative/).
- Obi said that Nigeria’s Human Development Index (HDI) ranking moved from 152 – 157. This can be verified from http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/2018_human_development_statistical_update.pdf ).
- Obi said that the Misery Index in Nigeria worsened. This can be verified from https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/hankes-annual-misery-index-worlds-saddest-happiest-countries).
- Obi said that the FG budgeted
N340 billion on health and paid over N1 trillion on PMS subsidy. Education budget was about N400 billion. This can be verified from https://punchng.com/subsidy-on-petrol-hits-n1-4tn-per-year-says-fg/.
- Obi said that the ease of doing business ranking was currently at 146. This can be verified from http://www.worldbank.org/content/dam/doingBusiness/media/Annual-Reports/English/DB2019-report_web-version.pdf).
- Obi said that China created 7.2 million jobs within first 6 months in 2018. This can be verified fromhttp://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201809/17/WS5b9f2aeda31033b4f46566bb.html).
Nigeria is looking forward to the big debate involving the presidential candidates themselves including incumbent President Buhari and main challenger Abubakar Atiku and three others on Saturday 19 January, 2018.