President Muhammadu Buhari paid over N20 million for his two children, Yusuf and Zahra, who were studying in the United Kingdom universities in 2015, about the time when he declared to Nigerians that he could not afford the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) expression of interest and nomination form.
Findings by SaharaReporters confirmed this, showing how Buhari rode to power on the propaganda that he was an average Nigerian – who could not afford the APC’s N27 million and lived a moderate life.
Having previously run for three presidential elections and failed, Buhari showed his desperate desire to lead Nigeria by contesting again in 2015.
In 2015, he wooed Nigerians with many promises of what his administration would achieve in the areas of employment, security, agriculture among others.
Buhari had also lamented the high cost of the All Progressives Congress party's expression of interest and nomination forms which cost N27.5 million as of then.
He explained that though he could not influence the cost, he had to secure a loan from his bankers in Abuja and Kaduna to raise the money.
A report of October 2014 quoted him as saying, “N27 million is a big sum; thankfully I have a personal relationship with the manager of my bank in Kaduna and early this morning, I put an early call (and) I told him that very soon the forms are coming, So, whether I am on red, or green or even black, please honour it, otherwise, I may lose the nomination.
“I was about to go to Kaduna this morning and I told the Chairman (John Odigie-Oyegun) but he said in that case, you better pick your form and keep a straight face. That means there is no excuse.”
Buhari's position had attracted the sympathy of the Bauchi State Chapter of the Buhari Campaign Organisation which pledged to buy a nomination form for him, to contest the 2015 presidential election on the platform of the APC.
However, checks by SaharaReporters revealed that Buhari's two children were schooling in the United Kingdom at the time he claimed he had to take a loan for the party’s nomination form.
His only son, Yusuf Buhari, along with her sister, Zahra Buhari, was at the time enrolled in the University of Surrey for master's degree programmes in Economics and Medical Microbiology respectively.
Checks on tuition fees paid by international students running a master's degree programme at the institution as of 2020/2021 amounted to £15,800 to £20,500 equivalent to about N4. 5 million and N6 million based on the N288 to £1, which was the exchange rate around the time.
While Zahra's course of study is currently not available at the institution’s portal, which makes it difficult to project how much she might have paid as fees, the tuition fee for Economics (master’s) for the 2020/2021 academic year amounted to £18,600 (N5. 4 million) for international students.
According to an American professor, John Paden, “All of President Buhari’s children have had extensive education. Several have studied at university and postgraduate levels, including abroad.”
Other children of the president also attended universities outside the country though there is but a short profile of their academic profiles which had excluded the dates they attended the schools for unknown reasons.
Fatima Buhari, who was born on March 7, 1975, got a postgraduate degree from Business Academy, Stratford, United Kingdom.
Following is Nana-Hadiza Buhari who was born on June 23, 1981. She studied at the Essence International School then later moved to Cobham Hall, Kent, United Kingdom where students in Years 7, 8, and 9 pay school fees as high as £10,279 for boarders and £6,804 for day students.
Nana-Hadiza also studied at the University of Buckingham.
Safinatu Buhari, born on October 13, 1983, also had her education at Essence International School and Cobham Hall, Kent, United Kingdom. She furthered her studies at the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom, and at Arden University, United Kingdom.
Halima who was born on October 8, 1990, schooled at the International School, Kaduna, the British School of Lome, and Bellerby’s College, Brighton, United Kingdom. She also attended the University of Leicester, United Kingdom before bagging a degree from Nigeria Law School, Lagos.
With fees running into millions of naira paid to the United Kingdom over the years, both prior to his 2015 campaign and after, the Nigerian President could possibly afford the N27.5 million party nomination and expression of interest forms without drawing public sympathy.