The cold war between President Muhammadu Buhari and a former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo took a different turn on Tuesday after Buhari called the former out to explain how he spent the $16bn that was projected on power during his administration.
Though Buhari did not mention a name, it was obvious that he directed his accusation to Obasanjo who responded immediately, calling the President’s ignorant.
Obasanjo drew the dagger when he first called Nigerians to step up and make sure Buhari does not win for the second term. He threw stones at the President calling him incompetent.
Buhari, in what seems to be the latest response to the former President, opened the can of worm on Tuesday while addressing members of his Support Organization led by the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Custom Service, Col. Hammed Ali
Buhari claimed that a former President was bragging how he spent $16bn on power that remains a major problem in the country . He also reiterated his earlier call that former leaders from 1999 to 2014 refused to save, instead they misappropriated the funds.
The President said nothing tangible has been achieved since he left office as the Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund.
Buhari said“You know more than I do on the condition of our roads. Some of them were not repaired since the PTF days.
“No matter what opinion you have about (late Gen. Sani) Abacha, I agreed to work with him and the PTF. We constructed road from here (Abuja) to Port Harcourt, to Onitsha, to Benin and so on.
“This was in addition to other things in education, medical care and so on. You know the rail was killed and one of the former Heads of State between that time was bragging that he spent $16bn, not naira, on power. Where is the power? Where is the power? And now we have to pay the debts. “This year and last year’s budgets that I took to the National Assembly were the highest in capital projects: more than $1.3 tn.”
The President dared members of the National Assembly who have spent more than 10 years to confront him publicly, wondering their roles in the nation’s building over the years
“Let anybody come and confront me publicly in the National Assembly. What have they been doing? Some of them have been there for 10 years. What have they been doing?” he dares.
In 2008, the House of Representatives described the power project by Obasanjo as a total waste of national resources, and in 2016, The Social-Economic Rights and Accountability Project called for an investigation into the power expenditure.
Buhari repositioned his previous statement that the previous leaders mismanaged the national resources and refused to save when the country was earning in excess.
He said, “I have to repeat what I want the public to know here.
“I said and I challenge anybody to check from Europe, Asia and America; between 1999 and 2014, Nigeria was getting 2.1 million barrels per day and was selling at an average cost of $100 per barrel.
“It went up to $143. So, Nigeria was earning 2.1 million times 100 times 16 years seven days a week.
“When we came, it collapsed to between $37 and $38 and it was oscillating between $40 and $54 sometimes.
“I went to the Governor of Central Bank, thank goodness I did not sack him, and he is still there. I went with my cap in my hand and say oya (give me money). He said there were no savings, only debt.”