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Fani Kayode gives insights on Obasanjo and acclaimed $16bn spent on power

Former Minister of Aviation and public affairs analyst, Chief Femi Fani Kayode has broken his silence on the trending alarm raised by former President, Chief Olesegun Obasanjo that government quarters is working on setting him up for trail, saying “Obasanjo never spent $16bn on the power sector. The $16bn figure was a fictitious one and it was maliciously fabricated by one Tanimu Yakubu, who was the late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s aide”.

“Yakubu, together with his boss, Yar’Adua, were hell bent on discrediting Obasanjo and tarnishing his record in public office.  Another Yar’Adua’s aide by the name of Engineer (Foluseke) Shomolu, who was his adviser on Power Reform, attempted to counter Yakubu by writing a memo to Yar’Adua, warning him that Yakubu was telling lies and he sent the relevant supporting documents to prove it.

“Sadly, Yar’Adua did not only ignore him, he also fired him for speaking the truth. They probed Obasanjo on the power issue and it failed. The then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, who was very close to Yar’Adua, set up a House of Representatives’ Committee, which was chaired by my friend, Ndudi Elumelu. But after Liyel Imoke, who was Obasanjo’s Minister of Power, appeared before them and proved that nothing untoward was done and that only $3.4bn was spent on power and not $16bn as Yar’Adua had claimed, the whole thing fell apart and they could proceed no further.

According to him, “Imoke also explained to the committee that Obasanjo increased the generation of power from 1, 000 megawatts per day in 1999 when he came in to 4, 500 megawatts per day in 2007 when he left office.  He provided evidence of the numerous integrated power projects that Obasanjo had established and how Yar’Adua was attempting to destroy and frustrate them.

“Finally, he exposed the fact that part of the $3.4bn was spent on buying 18 massive gas turbines which had arrived at our ports two days after Yar’Adua was sworn in as President and which he refused to clear and left at the ports to rot. This was all in an attempt to spite Obasanjo and ‘prove’ to the world that he had done nothing in the power sector.

Continuing, Fani Kayode averred that “The irony is that after Yar’Adua came to power in 2007, power generation fell from 4, 500 megawatts per day to 2, 500 megawatts per day and it never went above that throughout his tenure in office. It was only after President Jonathan came to power that things started to improve again in the power sector and we were generating about 4, 000 megawatts per day by the time he left office in 2015”.

“The $16bn allegation was probed by the Jonathan-led administration as well. He set up a commission of inquiry, which was chaired by Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State and comprised of one governor per zone across party lines from the six zones of the country and officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Ministry of Finance and other relevant stakeholders and agencies.

“After a long and extensive inquiry, Obasanjo was cleared. There was another probe after that by another committee of the House of Representatives led by Aminu Tambuwal. Again, Obasanjo was exonerated and cleared. Finally, the whole matter was investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commisssion, which at that time was under the leadership of Ibrahim Lamorde. Again, Obasanjo was cleared.

The lawyer and politician, who is currently battling the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Commercial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over charges relating to abuse of public funds made it further clear that “It is a testimony to Buhari’s pettiness, deceit, ignorance, malevolence and deficit of good sense that he should still be alleging that Obasanjo spent $16bn on power and has the sheer impudence to ask ‘where is the power?’ The only reason he is now saying this and asking such questions is because Obasanjo is opposed to his second term bid. That proves to you just how vindictive and petty Buhari can be.

“Sadly, he has set a standard that he himself is incapable of keeping. For example, he has spent $3bn on looking for crude oil in the Chad River Basin over the last three years yet no oil has been found. Just as he was asking Obasanjo ‘where is the power’, I am constrained to ask Buhari ‘where is the oil?’