The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, received news about the allegations of mismanagement and ‘outright pilfering’ of $16b (Sixteen billion Dollars) through power projects during ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure with a measure of caution while calling for the setting up of a probe panel to officially ascertain how much was actually spent, on what and where, and bring culprits to book, if any.
Mr Debo Adeniran, CACOL Executive Chairman, recalled how the nation was taken aback when under the erstwhile president’s successor in office, President Umar Yar’ Adua, it was alleged that Obasanjo’s government had spent about $16b on electricity without anything substantial on ground after his tenure. But a probe panel set up by the then National Assembly exculpated ex-President Obasanjo of any wrongdoing while insisting that the figure was unduly exaggerated. This much has been reiterated by the spokesman to Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr KehindeAkinyemi, who revealed that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo never claimed to have spent the bandied sum of $16b on power projects and that aside from the allegation, what was spent could be seen in the seven National Integrated Power Projects and 18 (eighteen) gas turbines. Mr Akin Oshuntokun, spokesman for the Obasanjo-led Coalition for Nigeria, CNM, also echoed a similar view by pointing out that based on several investigations that had been carried out on the matter and reports compiled, it was clear Obasanjo only spent $6.3bn (Six Billion, Three Hundred Million Dollars) on the power sector throughout his eight-year tenure.
The CACOL Coordinator went further, “Our checks revealed that during 1999-2007 when Obasanjo held sway, the Federal Government built six gas power plants now supplying electricity to the national grid. They include Afam II (276mw), Papalanto (330mw), all completed by May, 2007, a fifth plant at Alaoju, Delta State (545mw), was under construction while a sixth plant was being constructed at Ikot-Abasi, Akwa Ibom state (145mw). It was a state government partnership with FGN.
‘Also during the same period, six states initiated power projects under the NIPP Program with FGN support at Sapele, Egbema, Ehobor, Gbaram, Calabar and Omoku; rehabilitated existing power plants at Kainji, Egbin and Shiroro, which were all performing far below capacity due to accumulated neglect. In all of this, our position remains that, as an organization that prides itself as a coalition for exposing, shaming, and consigning corruption to the dustbin of history while encouraging openness in leadership without minding whose ox is gored, we hereby recommend setting up of an impartial and competent probe panel to finally lay to rest, this ghost of how much Obasanjo’s administration actually spent on power projects during its 8-year tenure and expose any shady deals therein while bringing culprits to book. This practical approach must also be patiently applied in other identified areas of corruption.