By Oke Peter
The immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has tackled the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, over the latter’s struggles with the power sector.
Jonathan, who spoke in Abuja while receiving PDP chairmanship aspirant, Professor Tunde Adeniran, also added that APC has been telling lies on a professional level.
Jonathan said, “The PDP administration for 16 years did well and will continue to do well but this administration has done nothing. They deployed propaganda and lies at a professional level.”
“Particularly, in the power sector, we did well to revive it. A state governor attacked our government, saying that any serious government should be able to fix the power challenge within six months. Today, APC has been in power for how many years now? Fortunately, the then governor is in the APC government as a Minister.”
The statement on fixing power within six months is one popularly attributed to Fashola, it is also one he has denied making.
Speaking recently on an NTA program, Fashola said, “I have heard that I said that electricity problem will be solved in six months. I have never made the statement. Anybody who has a video of where I said this should please make it public. The point I made was when I was handing over the Lekki IPP because we had about 10 megawatts of power there.”
Recall that the former president himself has been embroiled in a controversy over the mismanagement of billions of naira on power sector reforms.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) had last month disclosed how over N11 trillion meant for the provision of electricity supply was allegedly squandered by the administrations of former Presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Jonathan.
SERAP, in the said report, claimed that corruption in the electricity sector started during the administration of Obasanjo in 1999.
Jonathan, while reacting through his former aide on new media, Reno Omokri, described the report as false and baseless.
He said the story was false and the fruit of the laziness of the researchers who could have taken advantage of the Freedom of Information Act that Dr. Jonathan signed into law in May, 2011.
His statement reads: “My attention has been drawn to the story ‘Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, Jonathan wasted N11tn on electricity –SERAP’ published most prominently in The Punch newspapers on August 10, 2017 and less prominently in other papers.
“While I cannot speak for others, I can certainly say that as touching former President Goodluck Jonathan, the story is false and is the fruit of the laziness of the researchers who could have taken advantage of the Freedom of Information Act that Dr. Jonathan signed into law in May, 2011 to get records and data from relevant government ministries, departments and agencies that would have given them a fuller picture instead of the narrow view they have.
“Former President Jonathan could not have wasted ₦11 trillion or any other amounts of money for the simple reason that he was the Nigerian President who privatized the Power Sector beginning on August 26, 2010 when he launched the roadmap to power sector reforms and culminating on October 16, 2012 when the winning bids were announced for the sale of power generating and distributing companies.”