‘Ignorant’ Buhari should learn to read – Obasanjo

President Muhammadu Buhari and Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria

Former Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo has labelled President Muhammadu Buhari as ‘ignorant’ for claiming he wasted $16 billion on a failed power project.

Obasanjo said Buhari should learn to read but if he cannot, he should get an aide to do so for him.

He said the incumbent President’s statement earlier today were based on ignorance, as he was relying on the unsubstantiated allegations against him by the then leadership of House of Representatives over the project.

Speaking on behalf of Obasanjo, his aide, Kehinde Akinyemi said lack of proper understanding made the President to make such comment.

“It has come to the attention of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo that a statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari, apparently without correct information and based on ignorance, suggested that $16 billion was wasted on power projects by “a former President”.

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“We believe that the President was re-echoing the unsubstantiated allegation against Chief Obasanjo by his own predecessor but one, while it is doubtful that a President with proper understanding of the issue would utter such, it should be pointed out that records from the National Assembly had exculpated President Obasanjo of any wrong-doing concerning the power sector and has proved the allegations as false.

“For the records, Chief Obasanjo has addressed the issues of the power sector and the allegations against him on many occasions and platforms, including in his widely publicised book, ‘My Watch’ in which he exhaustively stated the facts and reproduced various reports by both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which conducted a clinical investigation into the allegations against Chief Obasanjo, and the Ad-Hoc Committee on the Review of the Recommendations in the Report of the Committee on Power on the Investigation into how the huge sums of money was spent on power generation, transmission And distribution between June 1999 and May 2007 without commensurate result.

“We recommend that the President and his co-travellers should read Chapters 41, 42, 43 and 47 of My Watch for Chief Obasanjo’s insights and perspectives on the power sector and indeed what transpired when the allegation of $16 billion on power projects was previously made. If he cannot read the three-volume book, he should detail his aides to do so and summarise the chapters in a language that he will easily understand,” he said.

According to Akinyemi, “In the same statement credited to the President, it was alleged that there was some bragging by Chief Obasanjo over $16 billion spent on power.

“To inform the uninformed, the so-called $16 billion power expenditure was an allegation against Chief Obasanjo’s administration and not his claim.

“The President also queried where the power generated is. The answer is simple: The power is in the seven National Integrated Power Projects and eighteen gas turbines that Chief Obasanjo’s successor who originally made the allegation of $16 billion did not clear from the ports for over a year and the civil works done on the sites.

Earlier today, Buhari said “One of the former Heads of State was bragging that he spent more than 15 billion dollars on power in Nigeria. Where is the power?” the President asked, without mentioning any name.

The President stated this when he received members of the Buhari Support Organisations (BSO) led by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Most of the electricity projects, President Buhari spoke about were awarded during the second term of the Obasanjo administration (2003 and 2007), and the result has only been creeping into the national grid, to the extent that 11 years after, Nigeria is yet to enjoy stable power supply.

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