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Where was the power after $16b project?−Buhari in disguised attack against OBJ
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday launched a veiled attack against one of his predecessors, Olusegun Obasanjo, on the power project he executed when he was the President of the country between 1999 and 2007.
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 said, “a former president was bragging that he spent more than 16billion US dollars, not naira o, on power. Where was the power?”
“Where is the power,” he asked again, saying, ” and now we have to pay the debt. This year and last budget I took to the National Assembly was the highest on capital 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 grounds of poor performance.