By Dennis Erezi
Presidential candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria, Fela Durotoye, has been found culpable of an incorrect claim during the recent presidential debate.
During the debate held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja on Saturday, January 19, the presidential candidates reeled out their plans for Nigeria if they emerge president after the February 16 presidential election.
While speaking on his plans to improve unemployment in Nigeria, Durotoye claimed that about 60% of employed Nigerians were involved in agriculture.
“60 per cent of the Nigerian employed are in agriculture,” Fela Durotoye said.
Durotoye said his administration will focus on three areas of Agriculture, housing and road construction to lift the Nigerian economy.
However, a check by The Guardian shows that the claim of “60% Nigerians employed in agriculture” is untrue.
According to a data on employment by World Bank, Nigerians employed in agriculture are little above 30%. This contradicts Fela Durotoye’s claim.
As of September 2017, the World Bank only 37% of Nigerians were employed in the agriculture sector.
In December 2017, Nigeria’s unemployment rate worsened from 16.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 to 18.8 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
The NBS said the number of people within the labour force who were unemployed increased from 13.6 million in the second quarter of the year to 15.9 million in the third quarter the same year, with more than two million people unemployed within September to December.
Currently, Nigeria’s unemployment rate stands at 23.1 per cent, up from the previous rate of 18.8 per cent released in the third quarter of 2017, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics said in December 2018.
Partime employment/underemployment slowed to 20.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2018 from 21.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2017.
Although there was a marginal increase in the number of people employed from to 69.09 million in Q3 2017 to 69.54 million in Q3 2018, the total number of people unemployed upped from 17.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 20.9 million in the third quarter of 2018.
Organisers of the debate, Nigerian Election Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) shortlisted presidential candidates of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) Oby Ezekwesili, Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) Fela Durotoye, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar; and Young Progressives Party (YPP) Kingsley Moghalu for the debate.
President Buhari and PDP’s Atiku Abubakar were absent at the debate.