Nigeria’s economy expanded by 3.6% in 2021 after contracting by 1.8% in 2020, supported on the supply side by a 4.4% increase in non-oil sector activity versus an 8.3% decline in oil sector activity. Non-oil growth was driven by agriculture (2.1%) and services (5.6%).
Public and private consumption helped to increase GDP on the demand side. 2021 saw a 1.0% increase in per capita income. Due to a little increase in receipts and borrowing, the fiscal deficit decreased from 5.4% of GDP in 2020 to 4.8% of GDP in 2021. In 2021, there was $95.8 billion in public debt or around 22.5% of GDP (AfDB).

2021 saw annual average inflation rise to 17.0% from 13.2% the year before, above the central bank’s objective of 6-9%. Food price increases at the beginning of the year and currency rate pass-through were the main causes of inflation. In 2021, the central bank retained the policy rate at 11.5% to promote the revival of the economy. In 2021, the current account deficit decreased from 4% of GDP to 2.9% of GDP, helped by an increase in oil revenues. High unemployment and poverty have persisted, mostly remaining constant at 40% and 33.3%, respectively, in 2020. (AfDB).

Due to persistently low oil output and increased insecurity, growth will slow, averaging 3.2% from 2022 to 23. Inflation is anticipated to continue high in 2022 at 16.9% and to remain above pre-pandemic levels in 2023, driven mostly by rising food, diesel, and gas costs as well as ongoing supply disruptions made worse by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. While oil exports are anticipated to modestly rise, capital inflows are expected to rebound. However, the expected beneficial impact of the oil price shock on exports may be somewhat offset by the poor output effect caused by decreasing oil production, which is fueled by inadequate infrastructure and increased insecurity (AfDB).

The marginal current account surplus of 0.1% of GDP that is anticipated for 2022 might become a 0.2% deficit in 2023. An increase in tax collection will contribute to reducing the budget deficit to 4.5% of GDP on average. On new borrowing, the public debt is expected to increase to 40% of GDP by 2024. Rising insecurity and policy uncertainty supported by the reversal of the previously scheduled withdrawal of subsidies on premium motor spirits a year before the 2023 elections might worsen the outlook’s challenges (AfDB).

Elections for the federal and state governments will take place on February 25 and March 11, 2023, according to President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria’s signing of the Electoral Bill into law on February 25 last year. In the background of the elections are complicated political, economic, and security issues. The results of the elections will have a significant impact on Nigeria as well as the entire region, which is currently experiencing political unrest due to several recent coups in West Africa (Tayo, 2022).

A revenue issue has resulted from changes in oil output and pricing as well as the payment of oil subsidies. To cover other public expenses, the government has turned to more domestic and foreign borrowing, allocating around 90% of revenue to debt payments. The sustainability of Nigeria’s debt is a problem given this ongoing borrowing. Concerningly high rates of unemployment (35%) and inflation (15.6%) imply that Nigerians must simultaneously contend with fewer incomes and rising costs (Tayo, 2022).

All Nigerian politicians must work to make the elections in 2023 a fresh opportunity to set goals and expectations. They must be willing to accept responsibility for their pledges. On all significant policy matters, let the candidates speak for themselves rather than through a spokesman, whom they will subsequently claim is not authorized to commit or decide on their behalf. Now is the moment to guarantee that candidates honor their campaign promises and commitments and that no candidate will ever again take Nigerians for granted by withholding the finer specifics of their more generalized pledges (Peterside, 2023).

Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the New Nigeria Peoples Party’s (NNPP) presidential candidate, declared that his party is doing all possible to help Nigeria overcome its many issues. In advance of the general election in 2023, he claims that the party has the strongest platform. He claimed that the finest manifesto for emancipating the nation has been given by his party. The NNPP would take a “totally new approach to industrial growth in the nation, which will be one of selective industrialization, linking industrial development resources, including money, personnel, technology, raw materials, and markets,” according to the party’s platform. To represent Nigeria’s resources and priorities, the party would implement a national plan that will outline well-articulated stages of industrial growth for the country.

Peter Obi, a candidate for the Labour Party, declared he would spread out the nation’s debt payments over a longer period. Then, he declared at Chatham House in London, “we will say no more borrowing for consumption.” “We will publicly borrow money for investments.” According to Obi, the majority of the nation’s borrowing has been used for “consumption” as opposed to manufacturing. Under departing President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s overall debt stock nearly doubled to around 44 trillion naira ($95 billion) as of September. Despite accounting for less than 30% of the country’s GDP, debt servicing accounts for more than 80% of its income (Osae-Brown, 2023).

A 48-page paper titled “Our Pact with Nigeria” was published by Obi. Based on his 7 governance goals, the manifesto provides intentional and inclusive leadership for national renewal: securing Nigeria, putting a stop to terrorism and insurgency, and unifying our beloved country; growth that is concentrated on production for export and food security; restructuring of policy via effective institutional and legal changes to combat corruption and establish the rule of law as well as an inclusive and efficient government; transforming Nigeria’s economy from one reliant on oil to one that is Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR); expanding physical infrastructure via effective public-private partnership (PPP) reforms, with an emphasis on crucial areas like power, multimodal transportation, gas pipeline, etc.; including youth in human capital development that raises worker and family standards of living; a solid foreign strategy that gives Nigeria new strategic significance.

If elected in the general election of 2023, Bola Tinubu, the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate for president, promised to place a priority on national security, the economy, agriculture, electricity, oil and gas, transportation, and education. Additionally, Tinubu provided policy alternatives for the federalism/decentralization of power, foreign policy, women’s empowerment, digital economy, healthcare, and women’s empowerment. He also pledged to make significant investments in young entrepreneurship, sports entertainment, and culture to create more employment and opportunity for millions of Nigerian youths. The “Renewed Hope 2023 – Action Plan for a Better Nigeria” outlines these major areas (Kwen, 2022).

Former vice president of Nigeria and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar’s five-point platform makes pledges to mend the nation’s shattered unity and revive its ravaged economy. In addition to addressing the ongoing instability to ensure the safety and security of people and property, the policy statement produced before the general election in 2023 called for restructuring the political system to promote harmony and stability and to provide high-quality education (Aliemen, 2022).

Its objective is to “give the right political leadership to undertake a vigorous development agenda and promote the fulfillment of our vision,” with a vision to “create a unified Nigeria where all people may live a happy, healthy and productive life.” The policy document also outlined Atiku’s proposals to bring Nigeria’s economy back to the pre-2015 level, when it was the strongest in Africa with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $546.7 billion as opposed to the current GDP of $440 billion (Aliemen, 2022).

According to him, “Nigeria’s unity has never been more in jeopardy than it is now,” and “an increasing number of Nigerian citizens openly challenge their allegiance to Nigeria’s corporate existence through violent agitations and misguided demands for ethnic-regional autonomy because of widespread feelings of marginalization and neglect.” One of the main goals of the policy is to strengthen and improve the educational system and give students the tools they need to compete in the emerging, science- and technology-driven global order. In case he breaches the terms of his social contract with Nigerians, Atiku urged citizens to “hold him accountable.”

According to preliminary findings, there was significant youth involvement during the early stages of the campaign. As a result, this is a clarion call and a call to duty for all powerful Nigerians to evaluate the campaign’s promises in light of the likelihood that they will be affordable, sustainable, and useful—especially when opportunity costs are taken into account. Let’s sincerely hope that the 2023 general elections will usher in a new era of electioneering campaigns that are dominated by issue-based debates, while campaign promises are questioned and situated within the current economic situations and realities, locally and internationally, in the hope that the best candidates win the elections to free Nigerians.


  • Ani, K. J., & Ojakorotu, V. (2021). Elections and electoral violence in Nigeria. Springer Nature.
  • Beckett, P. A. (2019). Elections and democracy in Nigeria. Elections in Independent Africa, 87-119.
  • Bonilla, T. (2022). The importance of campaign promises. Cambridge University Press. Calderon, C., Kabundi, A., Kubota, M., Korman, V., Goyal, A., Eliste, P., & Forget, V. D.
  • (2022). Africa’s pulse, No. 26, October 2022. World Bank Publications.
  • Dobber, T., & Vreese, C. D. (2022). Beyond manifestos: Exploring how political campaigns use online advertisements to communicate policy information and pledges. Big Data & Society, 9(1), 205395172210954.
  • IGIEBOR, G. O. (2023). Political alienation and the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria: A study of the 2019 general elections. WILBERFORCE JOURNAL OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCES, 8(1), 52-87.
  • Kalu, F., & Boniface, I. I. (2023). Empirical analysis of the effect of public debt on the economic growth of Nigeria.
  • Macmillan, P. (2023). The statesman’s yearbook 2023: The politics, cultures and economies of the world. Springer Nature.
  • Ph.D, L. E. (2020). Political accountability and voter turnout in Nigeria. GRIN Verlag.
  • e1654764466405.jpg
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons