Home Fact Check FACT CHECK: Verifying Kwankwaso’s claims at Chatham House
FACT CHECK: Verifying Kwankwaso’s claims at Chatham House

The Presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), on January 17, 2023, made multiple claims about his performance as a state governor before an audience at Chatham House.

One such claim is that he never borrowed either during his eight years as a governor in Kano state.

“And that is why for eight years I was governor, I’m so happy that for those eight years, we did not borrow one kobo, one naira, we did not borrow. All what I did in Kano was done with the state resources,” he said.

Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso was governor of Kano from 1999 to 2003, and from 2011 to 2015. 

Summary of claim and verdict

Did Kwankwaso borrow as governor of Kano?

CDD Election War Room did not find any data on Kano state debt profile from 1999 to 2003 when Kwankwaso was a governor for the first term.

However, data from the Debt Management Office tracked changes in the state’s debt profile during Kwankwaso’s second term in office. The data shows that the state’s debt profile saw a decrease in external debt from 2011 to 2015. 

Data showing states’ external debt stock as of December 31, 2011. Source: DMO


States and Federal Governments’ external debt stock as of December 31, 2015. 

The data above from DMO shows there was indeed a slight decline in the debt profile for Kano state, from 2011 to 2015. The state’s external debt declined from $59,777,794.58 in 2011 to $57,612,298.94.

This supports the claim that the state did not borrow from any foreign sources, and may have also tried to offset some of the debt in the period under review. 

However, the story is not the same when considering the state’s domestic debt profile.

Data from the Debt Management Office shows that there was a tremendous increase in the state’s domestic debt from 2011 to 2015 when Kwankwaso was governor. 

Domestic debt stock of states as of December 31, 2011. Source: Debt Management Office

As shown above, Kano’s domestic debt saw a tremendous increase from 2011 to 2015. The state’s domestic debt rose from N5.867 billion in 2011 to N65.007 billion. 

To be sure this was not borrowed by the administration that took office in May 2015, we checked the data for December 2014 and found the state’s domestic debt stood at N31.4 billion as of the end of 2014.

Before the fell out, Abdullahi Ganduje, Kwankwaso’s successor and his former deputy governor, confirmed that he inherited liabilities from the previous government in terms of debt.

Defending Kwankwaso at the handover ceremony, Ganduje said he is a part and parcel of the previous government and is aware of the debts, which he said: “is not a crime”.

 “In any case, living behind liabilities from one government to another is a normal thing. Those who are today shouting will do the same or even worst by the time they assumed office. My Governor Kwankwaso deserved to be highly praised for embarking upon the genuine transformational job in Kano state,” he said, reacting to the transition report which showed approximately N300 billion debt in the state.

Based on the Kano transition report in 2015, the bulk of the debt is from outstanding payments owed to companies and organizations, that worked for the Kwankwaso-led admin.


The claim that Kwankwaso never borrowed is false. While data showed no increase in external debt, there was a tremendous increase in the state’s domestic debt from 2011-2015.

Did Kwankwaso build two universities?

Another claim made by Kwankwaso is that he established two universities in Kano state within a four-year period. CDD checked this claim and found it to be misleading. 

One of these universities established by Kwankwaso is the state-owned Kano University of Science and Technology. The university is located along Gaya/Dutse Road, Wudil LGA of Kano state, and was originally founded as the ‘Kano University of Technology.’

The university commenced academic activities in the year 2001 and is a member of the Commonwealth Association of universities. 

The second is the Yusuf Maitama Sule University established in 2012. The university has a temporary campus at the center of the city of Kano and a main campus located along Muhammadu Buhari way, Kofar Ruwa road, Kano state. 

Summary of claim and verdict.


This claim is misleading. Kwankwaso’s government indeed built two Universities in Kano, but they were not built within a four-year period as he claims.

Is Malaria the foremost cause of death in Nigeria?

“Malaria is the foremost killer disease in Nigeria, accounting for over 25% of under 5 mortality rate, 30% childhood mortality and 11% maternal mortality,” he said.

Kwankwaso speaking at Chatham House

A report from the World Health Organization states that Nigeria is one of the four countries that account for more than half of all malaria deaths worldwide. Nigeria is responsible for 31.3% of global malaria deaths.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), neonatal disorders are the top cause of death in Nigeria. Malaria is the second leading cause of death in the country.

We found that Kwankwaso was quoting data from National Malaria Strategic Plan 2014-2020, which was published in 2014.

The plan indeed shows that “malaria-related deaths account for up to 11% of maternal mortality, 25% of infant mortality, and 20% of under-five mortality resulting in up to 300,000 childhood rates annually”. 


Malaria is indeed a leading cause of death in Nigeria, but the data quoted by Kwankwaso to advance this point is obsolete.

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