Hold Jonathan, others responsible for rot in power sector, Obasanjo tells Nigerians

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has blamed the rot in the country’s power sector on on the administrations that succeeded him, including the present under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonthan.

Mr. Obasanjo, who spoke at the ‘First Green Legacy Moment with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Leadership and Human Security in Africa’ in Abeokuta., Ogun State, said the foundation for the little supply of electricity the country was currently enjoying was laid by his administration.

According to him, successive administrations after his rule as military head of state between 1976 and 1979 failed to do anything in the sector in terms of power generation and distribution till he returned to power in 1999 as elected president.

Before his exit in 2007, the former President said his administration’s estimate was that the country needed to generate an average of 2,000 megawatts (MW) annually to ensure stability in electricity supply.

He said after he handed over power to the late former President Umaru Yar’Adua, no significant achievement was recorded in the power sector till he died, adding that the situation has deteriorated since President Goodluck Jonathan took over in May, 2010

“Leaders in the country lack the political will to confront national challenges,” Mr. Obasanjo said,

He said any leader worth his salt should know that power is very important, and his understanding of what constitutes development was the driver of all developments, be it social, economic, and even political.

“When I was military head of state, I developed the Jebba Dam, I developed Shiroro, I started Egbin. Shagari came and completed Egbin and commissioned Jebba and Shiroro.

“Between Shagari in 1983, until I came back in 1999, there was no single dime invested in power generation. If anything, the ones that were there were allowed to go down.”

A country like Nigeria, he said, must be adding not less than 2,000 MW of electricity every year if it must move on the path of sustained national development.

“If you will remember, when I came back in 1999, my first Minister of Power was late Bola Ige. I won’t say Bola didn’t know what he was doing, and he said publicly that he would fix the power problems in six months.

“After one year, Bola Ige couldn’t fathom what was wrong with power. It was riddled with corruption. Then we had no money. People have forgotten that in 1999/2000, the price of crude oil was $9 per barrel. So, I wanted the oil companies, Mobil, Total and they wouldn’t go.

“When we started having money, we started the National Integrated Power Plant (NIPP). When we said the money we had should be invested in power, my successor didn’t understand; he stopped it.

“If for almost 20 years we did not achieve anything in power generation, then we may not be able to get it again,” Mr. Obasanjo said.

Citing South Africa as an example of how a country’s power sector should operate, the former President said with a population of about 55 million, the country is generating an average of 45,000 MW of electricty through various sources, while Nigeria with about 180 million people could not generate 4, 000 MW.

He said for the country to claim to be an industrialising economy, it must be generating much more than South Africa, say 100,000 MW.

Even if the country got to that point South Africa is today, Mr. Obasanjo wondered how many years it would take if only 2,000 MW of electricity generation was added to its generation capacity every year.

“For us to get to 100,000 MW, I leave the mathematics to you. It sounds very discouraging, but that is the reality,” he said


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  • dudu

    The former President with his “cloak of self righteousness” will not blame himself except others for his shortcomings and failures, how sad! Going down memory lane, Nigerians will recall that Obasanjo practically “backed” read Yoruba “kpon” Yar’Adua ati GEJ seyin, trans versing the geopolitical zones of this country in a bid to sell his candidates for Nigerians after completing his own tenure of 8 years; not done, OBJ repudiated the zoning arrangement in the PDP in order to ensure that GEJ emerge as its flagbearer in 2011, and now, we can see the indiscipline, disloyalty that followed….i digress. besides, methink after 8 years as President, after the 16 billion dollars spent on that sector, OBJ could have done the much needed needful by ensuring that the power sector became transformed just like the telecommunications sector then; perhaps, the applause and the blaze of glory that followed the GSM got into his head, and then the Nigerian factor crept in. Again I digress; where was I? Instead what do we have, after investigations were made, all the NIPP
    projects were white elephant projects with no gas to power the plants,
    no coordination whatsoever among the relevant Ministries and the infrastructures were left to decay and yet $16BN went down the drain and no body was persecuted.
    Somebody should tell Baba Iyabo, that he brought us into mess, he cannot exculpate himself from the woes being faced by our country now, Nigerians deserve better leadership.
    I enjoin all Nigerians irrespective of faith, and ethnic background, to vote the right leader in 2015 and make a revolutionary change through their votes in order to secure a better future for the unborn generations.

  • Modibbo Adamu

    Obasanjo you brought them into power then why blaming them



  • tsunami1earthquake

    OBJ claimed he built many power stations when he was the military head of state; no doubt. But OBJ is like the Arabs that invented the numeral ‘0’ in our present-day list of numerals but have not shifted from it. When OBJ came back to power in 1999 what did he do? He gave his then ministers of Power and Steel, the late Bola Ige and Danjuma Goje, the drafting order to solve the nation’s power problem in six (6) months. Did that happen; did that come to pass? Then the deadline was being beguilingly shifted and shifted; and nothing happened. I am not holding brief for Jonathan because that one is another case but OBJ must remember that those who live in glass houses must never throw stones.

  • Wähala

    Obasanjo should stay in his PhD-classroom and quit heating up the polity with unsolicited comments just months to the general election. However, while Gejitoes and the gullible will rush to condemn him by flying the $16bn squandered under the Ota Gorilla with the expansion of late Bola Ige, it is pertinent to point out that Baba didn’t steal the bank. In fact, Baba left 4000MWs of power behind. Dumbo promised to increase that to 16,000MWs in 4yrs if elected but today, we are at 2,500MWs after electing a shoeless electrician from the creeks. But that’s not all, Ebola Dumbo stole the bank, our PHCN company! His fraudulent “Transformation Agenda” transferred our power sector into the private pockets of his cronies and PDP-cabal goons who are nither prepared nor interested in anything but lining their sokoto with ill-gotten wealth by ripping-out the ahnus from Nigerians with mega-bills, not megawatts of power supply. Today, it costs more to see more darkness under Dr. Dumbo… and that’s not discounting the environmental and health risks of generator fumes ati noise pollution. Nigerians don’t even know that noise is “pollution”, that’s why they shout rather than talk to each other… it’s because their voices must rise above the generators’ endless buzzing. Olu Obasanjo should be the last fossil to condemn Nigeria’s “Generator Generation” because he is part of the failed leadership… ugly Gorilla who gave us an uglier Chimp! Next year, vote for change you can believe in… #AnyBodyButDumbo!

    • Mr. Abdin

      Obasanjo is a statesman who cannot be ignored that is why he is remain committed towards the development of Nigeria. It is very unfortunate what is happening in Nigeria.

      • Wähala

        Is he more of a stateman than Ekwueme, Gowon, Shonekan, IBB and Abdulsalam… ???
        He’s not the only ex-thug who ruined Nigeria but the only one in the news constantly running his ewedu mouth. Nobody who played a role in Nigeria’s present predicament has a moral backbone to chip-in when the casualties are debating national issues. If you like go roll your agbada before the Ota Monster, methinks he ought to shut-up and concentrate on his studies. From Bamanga Tukor to Anenih, Edwin Clark to Alex Ekwueme… why have Nigerian fossils refused to die and leave us alone? Why are they committed to Naija’s development now that they’re all sitting on their tombs? Abegi, biko… Go-siddon! I’m not in your mood!!

      • tundemash

        OBJ can’t wriggle himself out of the mess he helped created. It was him who bequeathed Nigeria with two sick men; one had no kidney and the other had no brain !

        The only sense he made in his statement is “If for almost 20 years we did not achieve anything in power generation, then we may not be able to get it again,”


  • Dr Okiemute

    Nigeria has become a huge psychiatric hospital where the critically ill have become resident Doctors. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t have been a problem…but when such patients begin to prescribe drugs for self and other inmates…then we must seek for help at any cost. No wonder, people seldom recover from madness? No be small thing o! Spiuuusssshhhh…..

    • Wähala

      When the critically ill prescribe medication for sane people, na’im be “Upside down get im meaning too” wey Fela sang about. Ghanaian Prof. Aittey once said Nigeria’s leaders need undergo psychiatric examinations. Methinks the man should be awarded the Nobel Price for medicine, he hit the nail hard on Baba Iyabo ati Jona Dumbo’s head…

      • Dr Okiemute

        Yes! You are right…but it is also true that most mad are ignorant of their madness while they believe they themselves are impeccable even in their comments here on Premium Times. Now, that in itself is madness too! …just like trying to remove the spec in a neighbor’s eye without first removing the log in ones own eye. It is a viral and morbid form of insanity…something on the scale of Ebola. Spiuuuuussssshhhhh….

  • wode

    Mr Obasanjo, unfortunately, you have to take responsibility for everything for the simple reason that you forced the duo of Yar’Adua and GEJ on us. There were definitely much better candidates at the time, like Donald Duke, El-Rufai, etc but for your selfish political interest, you anointed those you thought you would be able to remotely control and you appointed yourself as “live” BOT chairman for PDP. Unfortunately, it wasn’t going to be the way you designed it. That’s what took us to this level.

    Until our democracy grow to a point where power truly belongs to the people, and not that one god-father or certain cabals decide for us who our leader should be, everything, not only power, would continue to get rotten.

  • True Nigerian

    This country is a cesspit and unbearably annoying! Just look at what Obasanjo is saying. Is this the same man who spent well above $16b on power and yet generated more darkness after commissioning several ghost power projects around the country? Now, he has not even apologised to the people of this country for his crimes which he committed against this country by perpetrating a mindless fraud known as 2007 general election in which he simply raped this country to impose a two puppets to cover his crimes in office.

    This is why I will vote for the so-called bigot named Buhari. Obasanjo is a pastor and a Christian who says he is doing a PhD in theology in order to get closer to God. To think he can peddle falsehood and deceit in this way, shows you what a grave mistake we are making by thinking that horrendous leaders like Jonah should be retained in office simply because they go to church after each atrocity they commit against this country and its mostly impoverished populace.

  • Otunba Duro Piri


    How does General Ibrahim Babangida feel being told that his years in power (1985-1993) were years of the locusts –
    with no investments made in electricity generation in Nigeria? I ask this because General Babangida is alive to read
    his own history as told by General Olusegun Obasanjo. Normally, Babangida and should rebut it with contrary facts, if any. Otherwise, as it is, the jury is no longer out that General Babangida destroyed Nigeria as badly as General Sani Abacha

    Based on these statements tendered here by General Olusegun Obasanjo, it would be impossible for Babangida to keep quiet without impliedly admitting irresponsible guilt. Although it is also true that the accuser himself, General Obasanjo, has a corruption case to answer. He was recently exposed by the Oil Intelligence Community to have appropriated crude oil acres behind a fictive notion of “Local Contents” by hiding his vested interests behind the 10% he alloted to sham companies hurriedly incorporated overnight and awarded oil blocs the next day after those sham companies were incorporated.

    • Raymond (Journalist)

      “You may for political reasons say you are attacking the office of the president,
      but don’t insult President Jonathan. If you try to ridicule President Jonathan,
      i am not likely to be nice to you at all. If you throw a punch, i will connect you
      with an upper cut and maybe a kick to the groin.”

      ………..Reuben Abati

      (October, 12, 2013)

  • Olusola Alayande

    Maybe Obasanjo should begin by holding himself responsible for the $16 billion wasted on the power sector by his administration and what happened to it. He has an explanation to make to Nigerians regarding how he conducted the industry while he was president.

  • Morruf

    $32 Billion was misappropriated under OBJ in 8yrs under the guise of stabilizing power. Is it that he has forgotten or has chosen not to remember??

    • D1

      Where did you come up with this figure? Ur ass?

    • tundemash

      No need repeating that ….. OBJ himslef acknowledged that when he said “If for almost 20 years we did not achieve anything in power generation, then we may not be able to get it again,”


      • Concerned One

        however, we the people of S.W do not apply sentiments to our issues, especially when politicians are involved. I only hope those Ogogoro consumers will apply common sense, and condemn their Clown in Aso-Rock the same way.

  • emmanuel

    Obasanjo is a human error

  • favourtalk

    Baba just nailed it, though he failed in his time about the issue of power but he still have courage to say the truth and tell us how our president didn’t do anything on power for the country after trillions of naira budgetted for the sector. GEJ has failed and we need a change

    • emmanuel

      Trillions, are you brain dead? Biko tell us between 2010 to date how much was budgeted for power and how much was also released?

      E be like say the person when dey worry you don die.

      You people just mention figures because you want to make senseless statement

  • Mark Nsikan

    whos obj tu b talking?….oh puliz!!

  • Goodluck Ebele Jonathan

    This old man is a hypocrite! Stop blaming me for the damage u made!

  • Otile

    Since 1967 when Goodluck Jonathan invaded Eastern Nigeria to keep our dear country one Nigeria has gone to the dogs. Since that time it has been one mistake after another. When Hajiya Turai and the cabal prevented Vice President Obasanjo from taking office to give our hardworking President Yar’Adua time to recover, Jonathan did sat on his butt and did nothing. Jonathan made our then President Obasonjo sleep with his own daughter-in-law. What a clueless president!

    Today in Saudi Arabia gunmen killed five in eastern Shia region, Jonathan was unable to prevent the massacre. Come 2015 we must replace him with Imam Buhari who is a good Muslim. Imam will wipe out Boko Haram in our dear country.

    • D1

      Are you making any sense at all!

      • Otile

        It takes common sense to recognize sense, do you have any at all?

  • tukur

    baba on this issue you should bury your face, you spend more than a trillion naira on power and it did not improve. if you couldn’t improve power in eight years is better you remain quite not to criticize some one. God willing Buhari get to power. you will vomit that money

  • Frank Bassey

    If there is anyone to criticize GEJ on the rote in power sector, certainly it is not OBJ. This is deceptive, and hypocritical.

    • D1

      So Who should blame GEJ? At least, he is working with OBJ’s blueprint/plans on power and still doesn’t have a plan for the next level, and too stubborn to ask from the people that know how and have the political will to act.
      He is confused on what to do next, here we are still dancing DISCOS and all sorts!

  • Deedee

    Baba Obasanjo, you are a deceitful and shameless man. You think we have forgotten how the power sector was under your govt? Even with all your gra gra you were unable to confront the suckers in the sector and even in your government. Go and sit down jo.

    • chukwuma

      OBJ shud hide his face in shame!!! He spent 8 good yrs as president and power was nothing compared to the present situation. From 1999 to 2007, I can count how many times I saw light in my neighbourhood. But from 2009 till date I think and I knw I have enjoyed 2wks of un interrupted power. The last time I did enjoy somtin of such was in 1990

  • Solomon

    My People:

    What’s going on in Nigeria is not democracy but legalized robbery. It should be brought to a swift end by any means possible – including armed struggle – because stealing is not democracy, but a criminal activity. What is going on
    in Nigeria is stealing – not democracy.

    The laws of Nigeria forbid Nigerians from supporting crimes. Nigerians must rise and violently oppose official thefts.
    After 14 years of thorough-going and destructive official thefts, Nigerians should wise up and react viscerally to say:
    ‘Enough is enough!’

    • Tunsj

      Sad…but absolutely true.

  • Omo Akin

    Obasanjo is always trying to rewrite history at every opportunity. It is a fact that it was Babangida who completed and commissioned Shiroro and not Shagari. He said that he developed Egbin and Jebba; that is also not true. If he could not do anything in 1999-2000 because the price of oil was $9, that same argument should also excuse Babangida, Abacha and AbdulSalam because oil was between $7 and $9 then.
    The man conveniently omitted to tell us how many MWs he added between 2001 and 2007 when he left. If he was able to build so many power plants when he was Head of State for three and a half years, why was he not able to complete a single plant and commission it in seven years? This man is definitely one of the problems facing Nigeria. His two successors are his handpicked guys whom he foisted on Nigeria. If he had allowed Nigerians to choose their preferred leaders, probably we will not be in this situation. He is again all over the place with the red herring of Muslim-Muslim, Christian-Christian ticket. It is sentiments like this that robs the country the services of its best. If his handpicked successors failed woefully by his own admission, why should anyone listen to him about who should lead Nigeria. If he got it wrong when he “had both the knife and the yam”, he will be wrong at any other time.

    • humm

      You are so on point.

    • D1

      So, who developed Egbin and Jebba? And when did Babangida commissioned Shiroro? He just stated he started it and Shagari commissioned them. So, you tell us the REAL story with evidences please!
      You are just turning things over head just to sound correct, he laid the blueprint, of course, someone has to see it true, just as Shagari did the first time.
      His Successors came with their own game plan and here we still are despite billions! I agreed with you he is one of our problems by building power plants, Nigeria airways and railways but HE is just ONE PERSON.
      We can correct his mistakes from now on, abi I lie?

    • austine007

      Bros. OBJ was in power for 8-years not 7-years, In fact if not for God he wanted to make it 12-years… I mean 8 solid wasted years! OBJ is trying to make a defense for himself, I guess he has forgotten that a judge cannot judge his own case. AS for Nigerians we know OBJ failed in the power sector. Whatever he has said has failed to convince even the dullest brains that he OBJ did exceptionally well in the power sector. Even, little kids can testify that NEPA or PHCN (whatever name we want to call a dog to make resemble a lion) was a total failure during ?OBJ’s time.


    OBJ should break down how in his last few weeks in power he spent 16 billion on electric power,he must stop trying to mutilate verifiable recent history…..THAT’S NOT GONNA HAPPEN !!
    He imported a few turbines without any gas infrastructure and abandoned them at the wharfs.Is that how to plan power projects, why rush the turbine contract without providing pipelines for the gas which will power them. OBJ chose to count 2 before counting 1 because of those inflated contracts.
    ………AND HE LEFT THE POWER SECTOR CONFUSED……..AND HE LEFT US IN DARKNESS !!. it is unfortunate but in our African tradition ,old guys like that are not expected to lie before their children and grandchildren !!

    • tundemash

      And he also left us two sick men as leaders; one had no kidney and the other had no brain.

    • OBA

      Is government not a continuum what has happened after he left. You can see what he imported why can’t successive governments build on what he has done can’t we supply the plants like Abacha did with trucks.

  • tundemash

    OBJ can’t wriggle himself out of the mess he helped created. It was him who bequeathed Nigeria with two sick men; one had no kidney and the other had no brain !

    The only sense he made in his statement is “If for almost 20 years we did not achieve anything in power generation, then we may not be able to get it again,”


  • Tahir

    He spent $16b and Jona spent $9b, who bad pass.

    • GbemigaO

      Except that the ones we are using now are from his $16b. Where are the ones Jonathan spent money on. I mean the new ones !

  • King Carlos

    Jonathan’s government is so bad that Obasanjo of all people has the courage to flaunt his own achievements in public.

    • Garden-City Boy


  • emmanuel

    There ate too many brainless commentators here. Nigeria Gas master plan is part of the PIB.

    Let those who think they own Nigeria continue to seat on it. Most of the power plants may not be very effective until we get there.

    Abi una wan build more Dams in this century?

  • John Nwanegbo-Ben

    Obasanjo is never a saint,Nigerians honour him just for his age.Where are the promises he made on power? Where are the monies released on those projects that were not executed.At least our power supply is far better than the days of Obasanjo.In Obasanjo’s era we constantly experience fuel crisis at the end of each year and at the beginning of any year,right now such are things of the past.Those at the helm of affairs should control their tongues because nobody or administration on earth is perfect.Jesus advised “judge not that ye might not be judged”.If Obasanjo loses the grace he has now and is probed,we will immortalise Fela of blessed memory.The father of Nigeria today is our former head of state General Yakubu Gowon.He respects himself and does not talk carelessly hence honoured by God and man. I also admire Adulsalam he doesnt middle with columny.Why was Atiku enraged with Obasanjo if he was so good in his administration.God save the king.Jonathan should continue to know that silence is more eloquent than sound and more forceful than words.