President Muhammadu Buhari has thrown caution to the win and seems ready to damn the consequences.
On Tuesday, he queried the decision to spend $16 billion on power infrastructure during the administration of former President, Olusegun Obasanjo.
Buhari was speaking at the Presidential Villa in Abuja while receiving the Buhari Support Organization led by the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Ahmed Ali.
Buhari did not mention Obasanjo’s name, but asked where was the power after a former president claimed to have spent $16bn on the project.
He remarked, “…and one of the former Heads of State was bragging that he spent more than 16 billion American dollars, not naira, on power. Where is the power? And now we have to pay the debt.”
Buhari told his guest that his government had invested heavily in infrastructure.
He also appealed to Nigerians to live in one accord, narrating his experiences before he won the 2015 election.
“Now, we have to pay debts. This year and last year’s budget had the highest in capital projects: more than 1.3 trillion naira. Let anybody come and confront me publicly in the national assembly,” he said.
The President also attacked members of the National Assembly, saying some of them have been in the National Assembly for 10 years without any record of notable achievements.
“What have they been doing? Some of them have been there for 10 years, what have they been doing?
“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 may be in Abuja or somewhere in America and Europe, they swear, some of them to God, that it doesn’t belong to them.
“But 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 that when I was in uniform, younger and rather ruthless, I got from the president downward locked up.
“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 had taken away. Who did anything about it?
“Then I decided to come again. I tried one, two, three four times. God agreed. And the third time I came and met a statesman outside the supreme court. My chief lawyer was Mike Ahamba, Roman Catholic and Igbo. He had witnessed in the box and asked the panel of judges that they should check on certain constituencies in certain states to bring us our register so that we can prove that the people that voted there were the people INEC submitted.
“They said ‘ah! We shall do it. They said no, you must write it. They wrote it. Whether to send to NEC or INEC refused them but when they came to give judgment, this issue was not raised. Another Igbo man, a Roman Catholic, he said that this is what happened. He was among the panel of the judges, he wrote a minority report in my favour. So, why this question of religion and ethnicity and so on. People are worshipping the dollars, the Sterlings not to even talk of the naira.
“He wrote a minority reports saying this is what we have decided. But the president of that court was my classmate for six years in secondary school; he is from my own state. So, please, we have nothing to regret. Absolutely nothing. Since we all believe that God works in our hearts not in our talking. God help us, God help our children and grandchildren. We will try as much as we can to work and bring this country back to its senses. God has given Nigeria everything; we are rich in human and material resources that let us keep praying to God that He should put people of conscience in charge at all levels.”