I am ready for probe, Obasanjo replies Buhari

Ebun Francis|

Elder statesman and former Nigeria President, Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday said that he is ready to be probed over allegation that he squandered billions of dollars in non-existent power projects during his time as president between 1999and 2007.

Obasanjo was apparently responding to the comment by President Muhammadu Buhari that “a former president” had questions to answer over the project while receiving members of the Buhari support group at the presidential villa.

“You know the rail was killed and one of the former heads of state was bragging that he spent more than 15 billion American dollars on power. Where is the power?” Buhari had asked at the event.

But in a statement by Kehinde Akinyemi, Obasanjo’s spokesman, the former president alleged President Buhari spoke out of ignorance and asked him and his aides to read My Watch, his autobiography, where he had cleared allegations about the power project.

Obasanjo’s full statement

It has come to the attention of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo that a statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari, apparently without correct information and based on ignorance, suggested that $16 billion was wasted on power projects by “a former President”. We believe that the President was re-echoing the unsubstantiated allegation against Chief Obasanjo by his own predecessor but one.

While it is doubtful that a President with proper understanding of the issue would utter such, it should be pointed out that records from the National Assembly had exculpated President Obasanjo of any wrong-doing concerning the power sector and has proved the allegations as false.

For the records, Chief Obasanjo has addressed the issues of the power sector and the allegations against him on many occasions and platforms, including in his widely publicised book, My Watch in which he exhaustively stated the facts and reproduced various reports by both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which conducted a clinical investigation into the allegations against Chief Obasanjo, and the Ad-Hoc Committee on the Review of the Recommendations in the Report of the Committee on Power on the Investigation into how the Huge Sums Of Money was Spent on Power Generation, Transmission And Distribution between June 1999 and May 2007 without Commensurate Result.

We recommend that the President and his co-travellers should read Chapters 41, 42, 43 and 47 of My Watch for Chief Obasanjo’s insights and perspectives on the power sector and indeed what transpired when the allegation of $16 billion on power projects was previously made. If he cannot read the three-volume book, he should detail his aides to do so and summarise the chapters in a language that he will easily understand.

In the same statement credited to the President, it was alleged that there was some bragging by Chief Obasanjo over $16 billion spent on power. To inform the uninformed, the so-called $16 billion power expenditure was an allegation against Chief Obasanjo’s administration and not his claim. The President also queried where the power generated is. The answer is simple: The power is in the seven National Integrated Power Projects and eighteen gas turbines that Chief Obasanjo’s successor who originally made the allegation of $16 billion did not clear from the ports for over a year and the civil works done on the sites.

Chief Obasanjo challenges, and in fact encourages, anybody to set up another enquiry if in doubt and unsatisfied with the EFCC report and that of the Hon. Aminu Tambuwal-led ad-hoc committee.

Related stories

See also  Gunmen kill Miyetti Allah chairman in Kaduna