Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has asked President Buhari to probe him in reaction to the latter’s claim that a past administration spent more than $15bn on power projects, with no result to show.
President Buhari made the claim on Tuesday while addressing members of the Buhari Support Organisation, led by the Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali, who visited him at the State House.
Buhari had said, “One of the former Heads of State between that time was bragging that he spent more than 15 billion American dollars, on power,” the President said.
“Where is the power? Where is the power? And now we have to pay the debts.”
Buhari had not mentioned a name, but Obasanjo reacted nonetheless as he accused President Buhari of joining “the chorus of beer parlour gossips.”
The Obasanjo administration has been repeatedly accused of spending up to $16bn on power with little to show for it.
In the statement signed by Mr Akin Osuntokun, Director of Strategic Communications of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement, which he founded, Obasanjo accused President Buhari of playing politics with statistics.
He asked, “Is it not beneath the dignity of the exalted office he holds to join the chorus of beer parlour gossips?”
“How can a president who has all the information at his beck and call degenerate to this level?”
The statement read in part, “A presidential panel headed by the then VP Goodluck Jonathan set up by the Umaru Yar’Adua government put a lie to this after the same administration had sacked one Engr F. Somolu the then Secretary of NIPP who first drew attention to the lie: that $16 had been spent on power project.
“The Panel made up of so many actors including CBN officials then found out that only $3.7 billion was disbursed out of the $10 billion budgeted and the balance was kept in an escrow account at the CBN.
“The CBN confirmed this to the panel and it was published…It was then found out that Tanimu Yakubu then Economic Adviser to President Yar’Adua began the propaganda against former President Obasanjo and Engr. Somolu then with Yar’Adua wrote a secret memo inside the statehouse to correct the wrong notion about $10 billion.”
Obasanjo had been a strong support of Buhari during the President’s bid for the presidential seat in 2015 but their relationship soured and took a turn for the worse in January this year when Obasanjo released a long statement criticising the President and warning him against seeking re-election.