By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – IN an apparent reference to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday said that a former head of state had been bragging on how he spent $16 billion on power project in the country but could not account how the money was spent.
President Buhari who also accused the said former head of state which he failed to mention his name, killed the rail project in the country.
Speaking when he received Buhari Support Organisation, BSO, led by the Comptroller of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali, rtd, the President noted that between 1999 to 2014, when the oil price soared to about $135 and oil production of 2.1 million barrels per day, there was nothing to show for it.
He had restrained himself and his aides several times in the past from responding to various accusations of non-performance and clannishness levelled against him by Obasanjo.
According to the president, the debt incurred from the $16 billion spent by Obasanjo on power without any output was now being paid by his administration adding that in Nigeria’s history, his government had made the highest capital allocations in the 2017 and2018 budgets.
Buhari also alleged that even though the nation recorded huge profits from the sale of crude oil when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was administering the country, nothing was left in the treasury when he ascended the seat of power 16 years after.
He also took up members of the National Assembly, accusing them of doing nothing even though some of them have spent over a decade in the federal legislature.
Buhari however, spoke good about the former Head of State, late Gen. Sani Abacha, who was accused of stashing billions of Nigerian money in foreign banks, saying he agreed to work with him irrespective of people’s perception about the late dictator because during his military regime, a lot of roads and medical facilities were revamped.
He described the current period in the nation’s history as terrible as he canvassed the need to revamp the country altogether, recalling how he was ruthless as a military head of state, arresting and throwing people in prison, a punishment he said was also meted to him.
President Buhari urged Nigerians to remain vigilant and ensure that only ‘‘people of conscience are in-charge of governance at all levels’’, as the nation prepares for general elections in 2019.
According to him, “I have to repeat what I want the public to know here. Some of you may not have heard it. Either there is no power in you place or even in the television. I said and I challenge anybody to chick from Europe, Asia and America.
“You know the rail was killed and one of the former heads of state between that time was bragging that he spent more than $15 billion dollars not naira on power. Where is the power?
“Where is the power? And now, we have to pay the debt. This year and last year’s budgets that I took to the National Assembly were the highest in capital projects – more than N1.3 trillion.
“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? So, really, this country, luckily for me, I said it about eight years ago that we have no other country than Nigeria.
“We should remain here and salvage it together no matter what you have outside. Now, we get some of the people with houses here and maybe in Abuja or somewhere in America and Europe. They swear, some of them to God, that it doesn’t belong to them. But from their accounts, through the banks, through their companies, it is their own. But they say it’s not their own.
“This is a terrible time and the people are saying what are we doing? why can’t you lock them up? And again, I went on by telling them what I said when I was in uniform, younger and rather ruthless. I got from the president downward, I locked them up in Kirikiri. I said ‘you’re guilty except you prove yourselves innocent.
“I myself was locked up and those who misappropriated public funds were given back what they have taken away. Who did anything about it? Then I decided to come and put agbada. I tried one, two, three four times. God agreed. And the third time I came and met a statesman outside the Supreme Court.