11 August 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Former President Goodluck Jonathan has denied a report that he was among the past Nigerian leaders who wasted over N11 trillion on electricity.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, had on Wednesday 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 (FOIA) that Dr. Jonathan signed into law in May 2011.
According to the statement by Omokri, “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.”
He noted that, “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 road map 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.
“SERAP may do well to remember that on Monday the 30th of September 2013, at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Former President Jonathan successfully handed over the bulk of Nigeria’s Power Infrastructure to successful private sector bidders after they had made payments for the assets they acquired.
“At that event, he said ‘I congratulate our new owners who have taken over the engines and cables that are expected to drive not just the electricity industry but also the socio-economic well-being of the nation.
“In total, the Power Holding Company of Nigeria was split into six generation and 11 distribution firms, all sold separately, for about $2.5 billion for which the Jonathan administration received much deserved praise.”
According to him, “In fact, rather than wasting money, the Jonathan administration generated money for the federation from the sale of these assets which were seen to be transparent and followed global best practices.
“Between May 6th 2010 when he was first sworn in as President on May 29, 2015 when he handed over power, the budget for the ministry of power under Dr. Jonathan was not up to ₦400 billion in total for the simple reason that his administration had succeeded in transferring most of Nigeria’s power assets, liabilities and personnel from the public sector to the private sector.
“As such, it is evidently clear that any allegations that the Jonathan government wasted trillions is not a well thought out allegation at best and is a figment of the imagination of the makers at worse.
“I do hope those papers which published this false report against the person of former President Jonathan and the administration that he led will be honourable enough to set the records straight for posterity.”