Following a long delay characterized by denials and the embarrassing withdrawal of an error-ridden document widely criticized to be lacking in ideas and clear policy direction, Labour Party’s presidential candidate Peter Obi yesterday published a fresh manifesto which, disappointingly, has also been revealed to contain plagiarism and several repeated promises to facilitate projects already completed by the APC administration.
One such instance was found in the segment of the manifesto containing Obi’s proposed management of the power sector where he promised to complete and commission the Kashimbila Hydropower Plant, an electricity project planned to deliver 40MW of power. The problem with the promise, however, is that the project has long been completed by the incumbent APC-led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Kashimbila Hydropower Station became operational in 2020 under the management of Gamesa Electric which installed four 12.1MVA hydro generators to provide 40MW to the national grid and cover the electricity needs of about 80% of the Taraba state.
The project’s completion, which drew praise from local authorities in Taraba state, marked a key administrative success of the APC-led Buhari administration. Obi’s demonstrated ignorance of the fact, which resulted in the embarrassing manifesto promise to complete the already delivered project, indicates his poor grasp of the country’s governance issues and general state, many have opined.
Responding to the faux pas on Twitter, @/TheAbisolaa dismissed the delayed manifesto as a waste of time. She said, “Peter Obi sha. Wasted our precious time for such a wishy washy manifesto. Mtschewww. You’re promising what Buhari already did, how na? #PeterObiWateryManifesto.”
In another instance, also in the power sector segment of the manifesto, Obi promised reforms hinged on power licensing reviews, source decentralization, and energy mix using policy initiatives already introduced and currently implemented by the APC-led administration.
For example, he vowed to “revise the current barrier of 1 Megawatt and below for licensing up to 10 mws to enable decentralized and off-grid solutions to complement grid energy and to incentivize more investment in the power value chain.”
However, the APC government already introduced the revision with its 2016 NERC regulation for mini-grids which, among other reforms, improved the power generation threshold for grids and opened off-grid solutions to private actors, some of whom have leveraged the updated regulation to generate increased power for their establishments.
The damaging revelations have raised doubts about Obi’s competence to lead the country, especially in the face of unique global headwinds that call for mature and experienced leadership.
An energy expert who spoke to PODIUM REPORTERS summed up Obi’s manifesto as “an exercise in empty elaborations with no fresh idea or even an informed review of current policies and practices. Presidents don’t have to be experts in everything but it is important that they are able to identify and assemble bright minds to man important sectors, such as the power sector. And if this the best the Obi team can produce, after a months-long delay and the withdrawal of an earlier criticized proposal, then there is no doubt that this man does not have what it takes to lead Nigeria at this time,” he said.