Shehu Sani: What Obasanjo Told Me When We Were Sentenced To Life Imprisonment
Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo

The contract was supposedly for the construction of the Mambilla Hydropower Project in 2003

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said he did not authorise the awarding of a $6 billion contract to Sunrise Power and Transmission Ltd.

The contract was supposedly for the construction of the Mambilla Hydropower Project in 2003.

The contract is now a subject of arbitration as Sunrise Power dragged Nigeria the International Chamber of Commerce, ICC, Paris, France, over an alleged breach of contract by the federal government.

In the first arbitration, Sunrise is demanding a compensation of $2.3 billion, it claimed it had expended millions of dollars on financial and legal consultants before the contract was abandoned.

In the second one, the company is asking for a $400 million settlement being the terms of the agreement it entered with the federal government in 2020 to end the arbitration.

Nigeria is fighting the claims on the grounds that Agunloye, who suspiciously awarded the contract one week to the end of his tenure as power minister in 2003, acted illegally.

Obasanjo says Agunloye acted independently without his knowledge

In an interview with TheCable over the weekend, Obasanjo challenged the former Minister of Power and Steel, Mr Olu Agunloye, to tell Nigerians where he got the power to award from.

Obasanjo vehemently denied authorising Agunloye to commit Nigeria to the $6 billion “build, operate and transfer” contract.

The former President said: “When I was president, no minister had the power to approve more than N25 million without express presidential consent. It was impossible for Agunloye to commit my government to a $6 billion project without my permission and I did not give him any permission.” The former president challenged Agunloye to explain where he got the power and authority.

Obasanjo said: “If a commission of inquiry is set up today to investigate the matter, I am ready to testify. I do not even need to testify because all the records are there. I never approved it.

“When he presented his memo to the federal executive council (on May 21, 2003), I was surprised because he had previously discussed it with me and I had told him to jettison the idea, that I had other ideas on how the power sector would be restructured and funded.

“I told him as much at the council meeting and directed him to step down the memo. I find it surprising that Agunloye is now claiming he acted on behalf of Nigeria. If I knew he issued such a letter to Sunrise, I would have sacked him as minister during my second term. He would not have spent a day longer in office.”

Obasanjo also said Leno Adesanya, the promoter of Sunrise Power, ran away from Nigeria when he was president.

“I would have jailed him if he was in the country because of the things I knew about him. After I left office, he returned and I saw him. I told him that he was lucky I was no longer president. Otherwise, I would have jailed him,” Obasanjo told TheCable

It’s gathered that Agunloye and some officials of the Ministry of Justice have been quizzed over the Sunrise affair and may soon be charged to court.