Nigeria: Obasanjo spent over $300 million on failed third term bid-New book
London, September 14, 2018 (AltAfrica)-NA new book has claimed that a former Nigerian president olusegun Obasanjo spent over $300 million to prosecute a failed third term agenda while in office
The book, “Too Good To Die: Third Term And The Myth Of The In Dispensable Man In Africa”, written by Chidi Odinkalu and Ayisha Osori claimed “None of this money was lawfully appropriated. They could only have been generated by theft, diversion or misappropriation of public resources.
Mr Odinkalu, a lawyer and civil rights advocate, is senior team manager for the Africa Program of the Open Society Justice Initiative and former Chairman of the Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission.
The book, the first known document on the controversial third term agenda denied by Obasanjo also names some of the aides and associates who pushed the agenda, states how a massive war chest was built for it and reveals some of the sources and individuals who provided the resources
According to the authors, although Nuhu Ribadu, who at the time was Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), estimated the campaign gulped $300 million, evidence suggested the cost was much higher.
“When all the cost elements, including the public relations campaigns, additional incentives, the work of the JCCR (Joint Committee on Constitutional Review of the National Assembly) and constitutional conference, as well as inevitable incentives to the security services, are added to the inducements proposed for legislators, it seems almost certain that the budget for the third term was in excess of $500 million or half a billion dollars,” the authors state.
The book provides an insight into how the money was raised.
“None of this money was lawfully appropriated. They could only have been generated by theft, diversion or misappropriation of public resources.
“Among many sources that were raided, the Obasanjo administration patented and pioneered a habit of unusual withdrawals from Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account, a rainy day, sovereign savings scheme funded by the extra earnings from Nigeria’s petroleum exports.
“2006, the year in which President Obasanjo hoped to achieve an elongation of his tenure by constitutional amendments, was by some unusual coincidence also the year in which Nigeria achieved the highest inflow into the ECA. In that year, the fund had an inflow of $29.614 billion from oil export earnings.
“In the same year, however, the administration also inexplicably authorized withdrawals from the ECA totaling the sum of $29.799 billion, resulting in a net negative balance of $184.404 million. In one year from 2005 to 2006, coinciding with precisely the most active period of the third Third Term Agenda, President Obasanjo authorised unusual payments totalling12.176 billion Naira, reportedly to fund the Niger Delta Power Plants and the National Independent Power Project (NIPP).
“Until then, this volume of payments out of the ECA was unprecedented. There is scant evidence that these sums were in fact administered for the declared purpose.
“Some of the disbursements from the ECA may plausibly have gone towards public purposes like the management of Nigeria’s debt settlements. It is not inconceivable though that at least some part of the ECA’s net negative balance went to fund activities connected with President Obasanjo’s Third Term Agenda.”
Following the collapse of the agenda, President Obasanjo went after some of those he held responsible. One of these was Atiku Abubakar, his vice president, whom a panel he set up and the EFCC indicted of fiddling with funds at the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF).