Where was the power you spent $16b on? Buhari questions Obasanjo

Where was the power you spent $16b on? Buhari questions Obasanjo

Chris Steven, Abuja

Indication emerged on Tuesday that President Muhammadu Buhari may launch an investigation into the power project executed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo when he was the President between 1999 and 2007.

President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja launched a veiled attack against Obasanjo, on the power project he executed to the tune of $16billion, saying that there was nothing to show for it.

Buhari who was speaking at the Presidential Villa, Abuja while receiving the Buhari Support Organisation led by Hameed Ali, Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service, said Obasanjo has questions to answer over the spending of $16 billion on power projects during his administration.

Interacting with members of the organization, the President did not mention Obasanjo’s name, but he asked “where was the power after a former president claimed to have spent $16 billion on the project?”

The power project was done during the Obasanjo administration (1999-2006). It has been described as a mismanagement of public funds by observers and civic groups.

The House of Representatives in 2008 described the $16 billion spent on power by the Obasanjo government as colossal waste.

The House said the expenditure was a case of “poor budget planning and a lack of proper oversight by relevant bodies.”

In August 2017, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate allegations of corruption in the Nigerian electricity sector during the tenure of three former presidents including Obasanjo.

The organization had in 2016 also urged the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria at the time, Walter Onnoghen, to immediately appoint an independent counsel to investigate the allegations of corruption in the spending of the $16 billion by the Obasanjo government.

Obasanjo played key role in the emergence of President Buhari in the 2015 general elections, but he has vowed to work against his re-election in 2019 on the ground of poor performance.