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Power probe: Hurdles before Obasanjo’s appearance at panel

Posted by By FEMI BABAFEMI and JAMES OJO, Abuja. on 2008/05/12 | Views: 888 |

Power probe: Hurdles before Obasanjo’s appearance at panel


Just as in Samuel Beckett’s epic drama, Waiting for Godot, Nigerians may have to wait endlessly for the expected appearance of former President Olusegun Obasanjo before the House of Representatives Committee probing the $16 billion allegedly spent on the power sector by his administration, given the level of hurdles already before the panel.

Just as in Samuel Beckett’s epic drama, Waiting for Godot, Nigerians may have to wait endlessly for the expected appearance of former President Olusegun Obasanjo before the House of Representatives Committee probing the $16 billion allegedly spent on the power sector by his administration, given the level of hurdles already before the panel.

Both Obasanjo and his former deputy, Atiku Abubakar, had been invited by the Ndudi Elumelu-led committee to appear before the panel today and Wednesday respectively. While Atiku had expressed his preparedness to face the panel, Obasanjo is yet to indicate any interest to appear, giving the excuse that he is yet to get any letter of invitation from the committee.

Daily Sun learnt that the first hurdle before the committee is the flaw in the procedure of inviting the former president. It was gathered that the letter of invitation to Obasanjo should have been written by the Clerk of the House instead of the committee chairman because of the status of the personality being summoned.
Another hurdle the committee may have to contend with is how to get the letter of invitation served on Obasanjo due to the difficulty in accessing the former leader.

To make matters worse for the panel, Obasanjo had last week denied receiving any invitation from the lawmakers. His case is a sharp contrast to that of his deputy, Atiku, who was out of the country when his own invitation was dispatched to his contact address but still ensured that his aides replied the panel promptly on his behalf.

To further frustrate the committee, Daily Sun learnt that Obasanjo’s loyalists still in government and in the House, especially Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers from the South West, have begun to mobilize against the panel’s decision to invite the former president by generating friction between the leadership of the House and the committee members.
What further emboldened the South West members to rise against appearance of Obasanjo at the panel was the reaction of the leadership of the House that the committee did not seek clearance before inviting the former president to appear before it.

Deputy Speaker, Bayero Nafada, who had been holding forth for Speaker Dimeji Bankole in the past two weeks, said that he was not aware of the invitation of the former president and the vice president to appear before the probe committee.
But a member of the power committee disagreed with the position of the deputy speaker, saying that it was a face saving device as there was no action taken by the committee since its inauguration that the leadership was not privy to.

“How can we do such a thing without informing the leadership of the House? We are talking about inviting a former president of the country, is it possible as a committee to extend such an invitation without getting clearance, is it possible?
“We can’t understand the statement of the deputy speaker, denying us. I don’t think it is good for the House at this stage to be singing discordant tunes, with the revelations so far,” a member of the committee said on condition of anonymity.
Lending his voice against the appearance of the former president was Hon Duro Faseyi, chairman, House Committee on Environment, who faulted the invitation to Obasanjo to appear today.
Hon. Faseyi, who represents Ekiti North 11 Federal Constituency, said in a statement on Sunday that the Power committee, by inviting former President Obasanjo, had gone beyond the mandate given to it by the House.

“It is an act of disrespect for someone of Obasanjo’s status to be summoned, as the committee has done. He has served this country meritoriously more than any other past leader in the country.
“Is Obasanjo a contractor? Was he the one that awarded the contracts for the various power projects under investigation? He is not a contractor. There are some people who were saddled with that responsibility. Those are the people that should be summoned, not Obasanjo,” Faseyi declared.
He said that it was on the basis of that that the leadership of the House distanced itself from the invitation, saying that the committee acted on its own.

Faseyi advised the energy committee to avoid being sentimental in the course of carrying out the investigation and maintained that the former president remained the best leader in the country so far, considering his various achievements while in office.
He likened Obasanjo to the messiah sent by God to save the country from disintegration in 1999, as virtually everything was at the verge of collapse when he assumed office as president.
The legislator vowed that he and others who believed so much in Obasanjo would never allow him to be rubbished for whatever reason.

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Comments (9)

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Kim Worley(Greeley, Colorado, US)says...

I heard this in a song and had no idea what it meant. Googled it and this came up. Very Cool. ????????????????

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Obinna(Newark Nj)says...

I want to know more meaning and significant of this name obidike in igboland

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Olusola Okhiria Nee Sodunke(Newport, Newport, UK)says...

This is a great piece of history, which is dear to our hearts as people and very much appreciated.

Many thanks to the people who worked hard in the past and those who are still making efforts to keep the institution.

The labour is obviouly worth it. We are proud of you all.

A lot still to be done, with the motivation of the champions of this course, others will follow as well to maintain the institution

May God continue to keep the edifice for development of future generations to the glory of God and the benefits of our fatherland.

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Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

ULIMASI means' GOD,THANK YOU' not THANK GOD.