Records: Key metrics prove Buhari failed as President of Nigeria.

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President Muhammadu Buhari

With Buhari’s eight-year presidency, Nigeria has faced various obstacles, including extra inflation and unemployment than when he took over. 

Today marks the final day of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure as Nigeria’s president. Having taken office as a democratic president on May 29, 2015, he will be handing over leadership to his successor, Bola Tinubu, tomorrow.

In the 2015 election, President Buhari accomplished an unprecedented feat by convincing Nigerians to entrust power to the opposition party at the national level. In return, the Nigerian people had high expectations for him and his party, the APC, to navigate the country through challenging economic and political circumstances.

On the morning of January 6, 2015, President Buhari expressed his sole desire to demonstrate that Nigeria could truly thrive. He vowed to make Nigerians proud of their country during their lifetimes. President Buhari also pledged to tackle corruption, address insecurity, and revive the struggling economy.

On Monday, May 29, eight years will have passed since President Buhari assumed office, having defeated former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 and securing re-election in 2019. His presidency witnessed Nigeria grappling with numerous challenges, with inflation and unemployment surpassing the levels inherited from his predecessor. Some Nigerians believe that President Buhari’s administration fell short of the expectations it set while seeking office. To assess his performance over the past eight years, we have examined data on key indicators.


Prior to President Buhari’s assumption of office in 2015, Nigeria’s inflation rates remained in single digits, although analysts at the time considered them relatively high. For example, official data indicates that throughout 2014, the inflation rate fluctuated between a low of 7.7 percent and a peak of 8.5 percent.

However, following Mr. Buhari’s leadership, there has been a significant rise in inflation rates. Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reveals that during his tenure, Nigeria witnessed the highest inflation rate in 16 years, primarily driven by increased prices and a decline in purchasing power. Inflation averaged around 9 percent when President Buhari assumed power and has since experienced a notable surge.

In 2016, Nigeria experienced a significant increase in inflation, reaching 15.68 percent. This figure further rose to 16.52 percent in 2017. Subsequently, there was a slight decline with inflation dropping to 12.09 percent in 2018 and further down to 11.40 percent in 2019. However, in 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation surged to 12.2 percent and concluded in 2021 at 16.95 percent.

Disturbingly, in 2022, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported a substantial climb in the inflation rate, reaching 21.34 percent. The situation worsened in April of the same year, with Nigeria’s inflation rate peaking at 22.22 percent due to the rise in food prices.

Rates of poverty and unemployment

Upon assuming office in 2015, President Buhari witnessed an increase in Nigeria’s unemployment rate. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the rate rose from 8.2 percent in the second quarter to 9.9 percent in the third quarter of that year.

Unfortunately, unemployment, poverty, and economic disempowerment have persisted as significant challenges in Nigerian society since then. Disturbingly, between May 2015 and May 2021, Nigeria’s unemployment rate more than tripled, highlighting the enduring struggle to address this issue effectively.

According to the latest data available on the NBS dashboard, Nigeria’s unemployment rate stands at a staggering 33.3 percent. This translates to approximately 23.2 million individuals, marking the highest rate in at least 13 years and the second-highest globally.

In parallel, the most recent poverty survey conducted by the NBS revealed that 63 percent of Nigeria’s population, equivalent to nearly 133 million people, experience multidimensional poverty. Prior to 2015, the figure stood at 53 percent, indicating a significant increase in poverty levels.

These statistics paint a concerning picture of the current socio-economic landscape in Nigeria, underscoring the urgent need for effective measures and strategies to tackle unemployment and poverty, ensuring the well-being and prosperity of the Nigerian population.


During President Buhari’s tenure, Nigeria’s debt profile has experienced a significant increase, with budgetary proposals revolving around debt accumulation.

According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), Nigeria’s debt stood at N12.12 trillion in June 2015, shortly after President Buhari assumed office.

As per DMO data, Nigeria’s total public debt reached N41.6 trillion as of December 31, 2022. This encompasses the debt stock of the federal and state governments, as well as the Federal Capital Territory.

It was reported that the Buhari administration borrowed three times the combined amount borrowed by previous governments since 1999.

The government has defended the substantial borrowing, emphasizing that a substantial portion of the funds was allocated to infrastructure development, particularly road, bridge, and railway projects crucial for national progress. However, the repayment of these loans has presented a major challenge for the government, as annual income barely covers the debt servicing obligations.

Buhari’s Administration’s Debt Data


During the period between 2015 and 2020, Nigeria experienced a significant economic challenge. Notably, it was a time when the country’s population grew faster than its economy, marking an unprecedented and prolonged occurrence in Nigeria’s 62-year history. This circumstance serves as an indictment of Mr. Buhari’s leadership, as he was at the helm of the country during that period.

The GDP per capita, which measures the income per person and takes into account the country’s population size, is considered a more comprehensive indicator of a country’s economic well-being than the total production of goods and services.

According to data from the World Bank, Nigeria experienced a decline in GDP per capita in consecutive years. In 2015, it declined by 0.02 percent, followed by a further decrease of 4.16 percent in 2016 and 1.78 percent in 2017. The decline continued with a decrease of 0.68 percent in 2018, 0.38 percent in 2019, and a significant contraction of 4.57 percent in 2020. These declines have put considerable pressure on Nigerians, whose average incomes are approximately $2000, which is less than half of the $5000 average income of South Africans.

These figures reflect a challenging economic reality for Nigeria, underscoring the need for concerted efforts to address the factors contributing to the decline in GDP per capita and improve the living standards of its population.

The annual GDP growth rate in Nigeria experienced a decline from 6.22 percent in 2014 to 3.10 percent in 2022, indicating a significant slowdown in economic expansion over that period.

Furthermore, Nigeria faced the unfortunate occurrence of two recessions during President Buhari’s leadership. The first recession occurred in 2016, marked by a contraction of 2.06 percent in the economy between April and June. The second recession unfolded in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on economies globally, including Nigeria.

These recessions highlight the economic challenges faced under President Buhari’s stewardship, necessitating concerted efforts to enhance resilience and promote sustainable economic growth in the face of external shocks and domestic factors.

Naira to dollar

In November 2015, just six months after President Buhari assumed office, the Nigerian naira was valued at N197 against the dollar. However, since then, the currency has experienced continuous devaluation, including two devaluation exercises in 2020 alone.

As of this year, 2023, the naira has been trading in the range of N445 to N463 for a dollar on the relatively flexible spot market window. However, on the black market, which is commonly used by most Nigerians and foreigners, dealers exchange the naira at N730 and even higher rates.

This depreciation of the naira reflects the challenges faced by the Nigerian currency over the years, emphasizing the need for effective policies and measures to stabilize the currency and maintain its value.

Human development

On the Global Human Development Index (HDI) published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Nigeria also fell nine positions between 2014 and 2019.

In 2014, the nation was rated 152 out of 187 nations. Nigeria was ranked 163 out of 191 nations in the globe in 2022, according to the report.

Nigeria received low scores across all three fundamental dimensions of human development: longevity, knowledge, and standard of living.

In terms of longevity, the country faced challenges in providing its population with a long and healthy life, with factors such as healthcare accessibility, disease prevention, and life expectancy contributing to this aspect.

Knowledge, another crucial dimension, reflected the country’s struggles in ensuring access to quality education, promoting literacy rates, and fostering a knowledgeable society.

Additionally, Nigeria faced difficulties in establishing a decent standard of living for its citizens, encompassing factors such as income levels, employment opportunities, access to basic amenities, and overall socio-economic well-being.

Children out-of-school

When President Buhari assumed office in 2015, data from the United Nations International Children’s Fund revealed that approximately 10.5 million Nigerian children were out of school.

Unfortunately, the situation has worsened over time, primarily due to the deteriorating security conditions in the country. According to the latest global data on out-of-school children from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as of September 2022, Nigeria had an estimated 20 million out-of-school children.

Although the Nigerian government has raised concerns about the UNESCO figure, many analysts attribute the increase in the number of out-of-school children to insecurity, particularly in the North-west region. The affected areas have witnessed the closure of numerous schools, further exacerbating the already concerning situation.

Addressing the issue of out-of-school children is crucial for Nigeria’s development, as education plays a pivotal role in empowering individuals and fostering national progress. Efforts should be directed towards improving security, reopening schools in affected areas, and implementing policies that promote access to quality education for all Nigerian children, ensuring their right to education is upheld.


Under President Buhari’s leadership, Nigeria has made significant strides in improving the ease of doing business. According to the latest World Bank annual ratings, Africa’s largest economy is currently ranked 131 out of 190 economies worldwide.

Prior to Mr. Buhari assuming power, Nigeria’s ranking was at 170 in 2015. However, through concerted efforts, the country witnessed a positive trend in subsequent years, with the ranking improving to 169 in 2016 and further to 141 in 2017.

The Ease of Doing Business ratings evaluate countries based on various factors, including the regulatory environment’s friendliness and simplicity for businesses and the government’s commitment to protecting property rights, among other crucial variables. These rankings reflect Nigeria’s ongoing efforts to create a more conducive business environment, promoting investment and economic growth.

Enhancing the ease of doing business is essential for attracting both domestic and foreign investments, stimulating entrepreneurship, and fostering economic development. Sustaining these improvements and implementing further reforms will contribute to Nigeria’s continued progress in creating a business-friendly environment that supports the growth and prosperity of enterprises across various sectors.


Under the administration of President Buhari’s predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, the perceived level of corruption in Nigeria averaged 25.8 percent. This score fluctuated between 24 and 27 percent over the course of five years. A lower score indicates a higher perception of corruption among the country’s residents.

As of 2022, during President Buhari’s tenure, the average perception of corruption stood at 25 percent. Throughout the eight years since assuming office, Nigeria’s score has varied between 24 and 28 percent, according to Transparency International (TI).

Nigeria’s ranking on the global corruption index has been less than satisfactory. Between 2016 and 2020, the country slipped by 18 positions, falling from 136 in 2016 to 154 in 2021. The rankings range from one to 180, with a higher number indicating a worse perception of corruption.

Nigeria is categorized among countries that face significant corruption issues and have reached their lowest levels in the past decade. The global average score has remained unchanged for ten consecutive years, standing at 43 out of a possible 100 points. Despite making multiple commitments, Nigeria’s score remains below 30 points.

Addressing corruption is crucial for fostering a transparent and accountable governance system, promoting economic growth, and restoring public trust. Continued efforts are needed to strengthen anti-corruption measures, enhance transparency, and promote good governance practices in Nigeria to improve its ranking and reputation in the global fight against corruption.

Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 58,000 maternal deaths were reported in Nigeria in 2015. The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) had declined from 1350 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 814 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015.

By 2022, the latest report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) titled “Situation of Women and Children in Nigeria” indicates that the country recorded 576 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

These figures suggest that although maternal mortality rates in Nigeria remain high, there has been a decline, including during President Buhari’s administration.

Maternal mortality is a significant public health concern in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) like Nigeria, and it serves as a strong indicator of a country’s standard of living and quality of maternity care. Efforts to further reduce maternal deaths and improve maternal health should remain a priority, focusing on improving access to quality healthcare, skilled birth attendance, emergency obstetric care, and addressing other factors contributing to maternal mortality.



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