Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has responded to the suggestion by President Muhammadu Buhari that the administration he (Obasanjo) led between 1999 and 2007 wasted $16billion on power projects without anything to show for it.
Mr. Buhari had while receiving a delegation of Buhari Support Organisation (BSO) at the Presidential Villa Tuesday criticised previous Nigerian administrations for “lack of imagination.”
In what appeared a direct reference to Mr. Obasanjo, the president said “one of the former Heads of State between that time was bragging that he spent more than 15 billion American dollars, not Naira, on power. Where is the power? Where is the power? And now we have to pay the debts.”
The former President, who backed Mr. Buhari’s election in 2015, but who has since turned one of the fiercest critics of the administration, has now shot back through a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi.
This was contained in a statement credited to Obasanjo’s media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, released in Abeokuta on Tuesday evening.
Obasanjo had said in the statement that this was not the first time such question would be asked as the immediate past administration before Buhari had done the same thing.
He said all the inquiries and probes carried out had vindicated him and cleared him of any corrupt acts concerning the $16bn spent on power during his administration.
He said Buhari was merely re-echoing unsubstantiated allegation by the previous administration based on ignorance.
Obasanjo also directed those who want to know how the $16bn on power was spent to his three-volume book ‘My Watch’ for a comprehensive analysis.
However, he said if they were not satisfied with his acquittal by the various probes by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and National Assembly Ad-hoc Committee on the Review of the Recommendations in the Report of the Committee on Power on the project, he was ready for yet another round of a probe.
The statement read, “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, 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-travelers 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.”