Amplifying the political achievements of a preferred political figure has always been a norm on the microblogging social media platform Twitter, which most times has led to sentimental conflicts.
In his tweet, Mr Aja asserted that Mr Obasanjo cleared foreign debts, built ten power plants, paid N2.5 trillion pension debt through the Pension Reform Act, and licensed the use of Global System Mobile Communication.
Mr Aja’s multiple claims post, which has garnered 1,622 retweets, 114 quotes, 4,246 likes and 123 bookmarks, sparked a clash in the comment section.
“Stop capping(.) Can you list the brand new plants?” Boye (@iamarvye) commented.
Another user, Ogbuefi Uwa Bunkoye NBA (@realuweez), wrote, “This is intellectual dishonesty.”
Due to the controversy generated by this tweet, and the need to set the records straight, DUBAWA decided to verify the assertions.
CLAIM 1: Obasanjo cleared foreign debts.
Premium Times reports that although the Obasanjo-led administration had met $28 billion in debt when it came into power in 1999, it was able to reduce it substantially to $2.11 billion when it left in 2007.
The report, however, mentions much of that effort is credited to the huge debt write-off executed by the London and Paris Club foreign creditors.
TheCable also published a report similar to Premium Times, noting a 31.8% decline in federal and local debt. The report attributed it to a substantial reduction by London Club creditors during Nigeria’s outstanding debt payment in the first quarter of 2007.
The newspaper, however, mentioned that the country’s domestic debt component increased from N798 billion to N2.17 trillion within the same period.
In its report, the Centre for Global Development (CGD) noted how it supported Nigeria in securing a relief package from her Paris Club creditors in 2004.
Although the Obasanjo-led administration was able to clear a substantial amount of the country’s debt due to both the London and Paris Clubs, it still left behind a $2.11 billion foreign deficit.
CLAIM 2: Obasanjo built ten new power plants.
The Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) and National Integrated Power Plant (NIPP) were established by Mr Obasanjo to tackle power energy, according to NDPHC.
According to Business Day’s reports, it was expected to be a government-funded investment in the power sector, which had never happened for over 20 years before 1999 President Obasanjo took over the government as a civilian president.
Business Day also reports that the government, at that time, got a $2.5 billion approval from the National Council of State (NCS) and the National Assembly (NASS), partly from excess revenue generated from crude oil.
The Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) was established to set and monitor the aims of NIPP. Nairametrics reports that NDPHC manages and upgrades the ten power plants based under the NIPP.
According to Nairametrics, these plants include the Olorunsogo power plant, Geregu II power plant, Gbarain power plant, Ihovbor power plant, Alaoji power plant, Omoku power plant, Egbema power plant, Sapele power plant, Omotosho power plant, and Calabar power plant.
The NDPHC, established by Mr Obasanjo, manages and upgrades ten power plants through its subsidiary, NIPP.
CLAIM 3: Obasanjo cleared N2.5 trillion in pension debt by passing and implementing pension reforms.
While the National Pension Commission credits Mr Obasanjo for enacting the Pension Reform Act in 2004, due to unstable and insufficient pension funds, stakeholders testify that it has been able to accrue assets worth N12.4 trillion and overturn the N2.6 trillion deficit it had before the reform- according to ThisDay.
In the latest quarterly report available on its website, the commission revealed it has a net growth of N413.90 billion as its Net Asset Value (NAV) increased from N10.30 trillion on September 30, 2022, to N10.72 trillion on December 31, 2022.
The 2004 Pension Reform Act, which former President Olusegun Obasanjo initiated set, was able to rake in N12.4 trillion, which exceeded the N2.6 deficit the commission had before the reform.
CLAIM 4: Obasanjo licensed GSM in Nigeria.
In one of its publications, The Cable credits Mr Obasanjo’s administration for deregulating the mobile phone market, which led to the advent of Global System Mobile Communication (GSM) network providers in Nigeria.
The News Guru (TNG) reports how the President of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers lauds Mr Obasanjo for bringing the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) during his administration.
The advent of GSM in Nigeria has been ascribed to Mr Obasanjo while he ruled as a civilian president.
Findings show that while three claims are true, one is misleading.