Many Nigerians at the moment are looking resentfully at Obasanjo’s record in office through the refractive lens of recent expositions in addition to earlier accusations which were naively taken by majority of the populace as political smear campaigns against the former president.
Recent revelations have shown that the real import of Obasanjo’s political volatility lies not in who he was able to destroy politically or promote, but in the volatility which characterised his long imperial reign over Nigeria especially as pertains to fiscal irresponsibility or rather rascality.
Recent revelations (and more to come) on the extent of corruption perpetrated by Obasanjo and his group genuinely explained why the former president wanted a third term in office and probably life presidency at all cost.
The information that are being revealed to the public would have remained secret for only-God-know –how-long if the main actor had succeeded in perpetrating himself in office for life.
To say that the negative impact made by Obasanjo will obviously affect the incumbent president’s prospects whether he likes it or not is an understatement. And to win back the trust and confidence of the Nigerian people, Yar’Adua needs to wake up his ideas and fast too.
This is because the tactics and pledges that strengthened the people’s resolve to give him a chance, even when he had none, are beginning to flop, or even backfire.
It was not surprising therefore for President Yar’Adua to publicly regret that while Obasanjo’s administration spent over “$10 billion between 2000 and 2007” on the power sector, there was nothing concrete on ground in terms of infrastructure or enhance performance by the sector to show for the huge investment.
From all indications, Yar’Adua himself must be very irritated at such an unprecedented wastage of public funds by an administration that boasted worldwide of its resolve to follow due process, probity, financial discipline and zero tolerance for corruption in all its contract dealings. It may also be possible that he is trying to remove the pressure of alleged inactivity by opting to shift the blame on the mess he inherited from Gen Obasanjo?
As if the President’s exposé was not damaging enough, the National Secretary of the Action Congress (AC), Dr. Usman Bugaje, came out with a weightier allegation that even Yar’Adua himself was being economical with the truth when he hinted that over $10 billion was invested in the power sector between 2000 and 2007.
He alleged that the actual monies spent on the crisis-ridden sector, which had yielded no results, was higher than Nigerians could merely speculate.
According to the AC scribe, “President Yar’Adua’s claimed that just over $10 billion was spent on the power sector between 2000 and 2007 is not correct. The actual figure should be higher than that. For instance, by May 2006, over N1.09 trillion had been spent on the sector, this excluding about n1.3 trillion spent on the sector from the Excess Crude Account. How can the figure still remain at $10 billion?”
The disturbing counter response by highly respected Nigerian politicians immediately raised several crucial questions: Could it be that President Yar’Adua was not properly briefed, or there were no records of actual figures expended by the last administration on the crippled power sector?
Could Yar’Adua actually be hiding the true pathetic case of fraud or rather unclear applications of monies in the sector? Could it be that he was deceived by his aides/officers who also were very active in the alleged misapplication of resources in the crippled power sector?
Genuine answers to these questions may help unravel other blurred transactions of the Obasanjo-led administration.
One remarkable aspect of the President’s outburst was the atmosphere he chose to blow out. He decided to express his displeasure when the key officer (now on a new assignment at the World Bank) Mrs Obiageli Ezekwesili, who supervised and screened all monetary disbursements to projects under the Obasanjo administration, visited him. This was actually interesting.
President Yar’Adua would agree beyond any reasonable doubt that there are very cogent reasons to find out how the immediate past administration carried out the business of spending our collective resources with a view to unraveling the misgivings especially in the now crippled power sector and the omega NNPC.
There is no need to play politics with the issue of accountability and frugality in spending public monies because it would not make any sense for President Yar’Adua to simply cry out for the colossal waste of resources without engineering an amelioration measure to prevent a repeat of such unpatriotic act in the future.
Moreso, almost everybody who participated in the Obasanjo power sector and other money siphoning programmes that characterized the administration, are still very active in the Yar’Adua’s Aso Rock business including most of the would-be key players in the proposed power sector intervention initiative.
This same Obasanjo, in what looked like a contest of ex generals/head of states, according to recent expositions operated a plethora of secret escrow accounts even beating the hitherto unprecedented records of Gen Babangida of the Gulf war oil windfall fame.
The existence of over 16 secret accounts obviously supported the accusation of poor or rather irresponsible fiscal regime that existed throughout Obasanjo’s reign at Aso Rock and this same government claimed to be the most frugal and corruption-proof administration to ever rule this country.
The National Assembly or the EFCC should find out: Who own the accounts and who operated them? What were the accounts meant for? The National Assembly should go beyond mere exposition to actually ascertain details of the secret accounts.
Who signed or received monies from the accounts - individuals, corporate organizations, political parties, government agencies etc.? This may help exonerate (or otherwise) the immediate past president and his cronies.
Also Nigerians have been told how the immediate past president awarded last minute oil contracts worth over N752 billion. This was only revealed recently following a litigation by one of the candidates who felt cheated. Approvals for the contracts were said to have been hurriedly given by Chief Obasanjo, about a week to his exit from office.
The contracts, as alleged were: A-6793 for $753, 287, 449; A-6794 for $1; 753, 787, 687; A-6795 for $1, 790, 901, 102; and A-6797 for $969, 267, 000 were awarded to Cameron, Saipem, Technip and Seadrill respectively.
The entire last minute signing away scam of our monies was busted by one of the contract- the contract for the Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Land Lease and Operation of Deep Water Shore Base in Lagos valued at $537,000,000. it exposed following a petition by Dr. Onaolapo Soleye, who is Chairman of Oilfields Integrated Logistics Support Services Limited (OILSS), the preferred bidder for the shore base contract.
All the oil contracts, as alleged, were tabled before the board of the NNPC and passed through Obiageli Ezekwesil’s Due Process as stipulated by laid down Regulations, but the Board did not, “for some reasons,” approve the contracts.
However, Obasanjo was said to have taken exception to the development and directed the then Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Ufot Ekaette, to dissolve the NNPC board.
The Board was dissolved on May 21, 2007, eight days to Obasanjo’s exit from office.
The next day, he ordered Kupolokun, the then Group Managing Director of NNPC to constitute an ad-hoc management committee to approve the contracts. This was done as directed by the former president.
The annoying aspect of these revelations is that as the former president was plundering our collective resources, his family members- immediate, proxy, and extended were also having field days with Nigeria ’s money.
The huge amount of resources blown by the Obasanjo government in the power sector, roads, refineries, Petroleum Equalisation Fund and so on makes it imperative for the incumbent administration to carry out a comprehensive probe.
The inquest may not actually be to witch- hunt Obasanjo or other persons but to help the new president sieve the culprits from the army he inherited from Gen Obasanjo because majority of the people around Yar’Adua today were members of the same gang that helped the immediate past president bled Nigeria to its bones
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OMOTAYO, J. A. Lagos, NIGERIA January 27, 2008
From all indications, it would appear that Mr. Oladipo is following Mr. Obasanjo too blindly. How could he explain that money was spent for projects that were programmed for completion long ago, but are still uncompleted? Yet no one company has been indited. The turn around maintenace at the refineries was supposed to have been concluded by 2002 latest. The refineries are still in deplorable state even till date.
If Mr. OBasanjo's emergency power plants would take over four years to complete when darkness was looming over the nation, then I wonder what the meaning of the word EMERGENCY should be. I think that Mr. Oladipo should not confuse the ordinary Nigerians the more with his illogical arguments.
God bless Nigeria
Oladipo lagos, nigeria January 25, 2008
The day we start to authenticate issues raised in the newspapers by people who, when they were in government did nothing for this country when they were in government, that day we will be able to move forward. History will vindicate Obasanjo.
Has anybody ever bothered to note that all these issues are raised and for wont of validity, discarded. Let people go around and see for themselves the power plants in place. We should also note that this important segment of the economy was neglected for 20 good years. Let anybody who had ruled in Nigeria between 1979 - 1999 come out and say what input they had in the power sector. Soleye was the Chairman of the NNPC Board when the said Contracts were being processed, does anybody want to tell me that he is shouting now bbecause his interests were not protected. Why didnt he talk when Obasanjo was there.
The elites have done so much damage to this country and alot of people should be called to answer for what they did to the country. When Obasanjo left govt in 1979, there were only 7 power plants. He built 4 of the seven. In 1999,twenty years later, guess what, only seven power plants were still available at various stages of disrepair. Now we have about 14 power plants in various stages of completion. Lets go and ask the ddiesel and generator sellers why electricity is epileptic. Lets leave the man alone and concentrate on moving the country ahead.
D-Day Sugar land, Tx, USA January 24, 2008
If the Yoruba cannot come out to condemn Obasanjo for constituting a disgrace to the Yoruba Nation and distance themselves from this evil champion of modern theft and organized murder then something is wrong.
I cannot see the Yorubas keep quite and do not say a thing about what this man has brought to himself, Yoruba nation and Nigeria as a whole. In my neck of the wood when some one commits abdominal acts such a person is usually taken to alley-way for questioning and there are still modern alley-ways today if you get the drift. Yoruba should go back to the drawing board as sort out themselves. Nigeria has not faired well under one of their own and they owe Nigeria.
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