Elumelu Report: Obasanjo finally let off the hook

In a show of shame, Speaker Dimeji Bankole on wednesday disbanded The House of Representatives standing Committee on Power, headed by Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, which investigated the alleged expenditure of $16 billion on the power sector by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

However Nigerians will not forget that about 1.3 trillion Naira (about 9 billion U.S dollars) and six years later, power generation in Nigeria remained at about 3,000 megawatt in 2006; about 50% of what it was earlier in the year, and far less than what it should be for a nation the size of Nigeria- some have estimated that the nation needs at least 120,000MV of power.

And still $16 billion and 8 years later, there is still no light in Nigeria. What happened to this money and who are the culprits? 

The dissolution of the committee came shortly after the consideration and adoption of the recommendations of the Hon. Aminu Tambuwal ad-hoc committee on the review of the recommendations of the power probe report, as presented by the Elumelu committee.

Bankole, who disbanded the committee immediately the House reverted to plenary, noted that the new committee to be formed has a lot of work to do, considering that the power sector had been allocated huge sums in order to provide power for the country. had reported on May 16, 2009, that the Tambuwal Seven-man review committee was specifically formed to kill the Elumelu power probe recommendations and moreover, the present Governor of Cross River state, Mr Liyel Imoke has got a blank cheque to kill the report! 

We have been vindicated! Bankole has caved in? But at what price to him and to the nation? 

While announcing the dissolution of the committee, the speaker thanked Elumelu and members of the committee for their efforts, while stating the commitment of the House to oversight the power sector effectively.

Bankole noted that the actual amount spent on the power sector was slightly over 12 billion dollars.However, the dissolution of the committee may have been brought about by supposed pressure mounted on the speaker after the arrest of the former committee chairman over a N5.3 billion rural electrification scam.

Elumelu, alongside other lawmakers, as well as management staff of the Rural Eletrification Agency (REA), are currently being prosecuted at an Abuja High Court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. This development triggered a wave of indignation from many House members, who saw the involvement of the former committee chairman as a big slight on the integrity of the House.

The Elumelu committee report was mired in controversy as some members asserted that the chairman was biased in the writing of his report. The committee at a point was accused of collecting bribes from some of the companies being investigated. Confusion and controversy trailed the consideration of the report, compelling the House to constitute the Tambuwal review committee to take a second look at the report.

While considering the recommendations of the Tambuwal review committee at the committee of the whole House, presided over by deputy speaker, Hon. Bayero Usman Nafada, the members were unanimous in adopting all the recommendations.Elumelu, who was present at the session, kept mum and refused to comment on the development as he watched helplessly how his report was rubbished.

Apart from calling on Yar’Adua to declare a state of emergency in the power sector, the Tambuwal committee, which contained 88 recommendations, just like the original report also recommended thus: “The services of the company headed by Engr. Chinedu Ibekwe, the consultant to the House Committee on Power, should be terminated forthwith for the embarrassment caused the House by employing the medium of power committee report to settle personal scores.”

Although the Tambuwal committee retained 88 recommendations, they were watered down as against the tough ones made by Elumelu.

Former President Obasanjo and other top functionaries in his administration who were recommended for sanctions by the Elumelu committee were, however, let off the hook.

Read also Olusegun Obasanjo versus Ndudi Elumelu