Group has accused the Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, that he cannot absolve himself and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of blame for the problem besetting the Mambila hydro-electric power project, contrary to the impression he recently created on the campaign trail.
According to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, as former Vice President in 2003, Atiku was central to legal issues over the project that the Buhari administration has been battling to resolve.
“After a previous misstep of pledging to implement what President Muhammadu Buhari is already doing with the private sector, we were surprised to hear the PDP Presidential candidate making another monumental gaffe.
“This time, he claimed at a rally in Bauchi that no government has summoned the needed courage to execute the Mambila Power Project in the last 50 years, in a manner that we consider an insult to the sensibilities of the average Nigerian.
“And like many people have pointed out, Atiku’s claim is yet another proof that he is cut off from reality as a result of his intermittent sojourn in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), so he does not have a clue about what the Buhari administration had been doing to extricate the country from the various legal disputes the PDP plunged her into with its poor handling of the project almost 20 years ago.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the former Vice President was part of the administration that, in 2003, awarded a 6billion dollars to build, operate and transfer (BOT) contract for a 3050mw plant to Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited (SPTCL), a local content partner with no requisite background, which later sought an arbitration award of 2.3billion dollars after the deal was called off, ” the group said.
BMO added that the Buhari administration had since 2017 been engaged in a two-prong approach to get the Mambila plant off the ground.
“It is on record that soon after assuming office, President Buhari entered into a government-to-government arrangement with China to finance the project after signing a 5.8billion dollars engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with a consortium of three Chinese firms.
“At the same time, the administration was pushing to extricate Nigeria from a legal wrangle with Sunrise which caused the China Export-Import (EXIM) Bank to put on hold the 85 per cent funding it was to commit to the Mambila plant until the dispute was resolved.
“Now the government is on the verge of making a pay off to the firm for the termination of the earlier contract to build the plant to finally get the project going.
“So it is uncharitable for the former Vice-President to in one breath, claim that the project had been on the drawing board for over 50 years, and in another breath say no government had summoned the courage to execute it. This, against the backdrop of the hole his administration dug Nigeria into with its shoddy handling of what could have been a straight-forward deal without a middle man,” it said.
The group urged Nigerians to be “wary of more of such political antics from politicians out to pull the wool over their eyes as the 2023 Presidential election inches closer”. (NAN)