Following his sudden exit from President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet, ex-Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, has said that he resigned because some “powerful vested interests” were bent on tarnishing his image. He added that he left the cabinet in order to save the Jonathan administration from the “spill over” of the attacks by the “powerful vested interests.”
His reaction was contained in a statement by his spokesman, Ogbuagu Anikwe, and it coincided with a declaration by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, that Nnaji’s exit would reinforce the credibility of the Federal Government’s reforms in the power sector.
The former minister said he was proud that he left at a time that power generation and supply had had improved. According to him, “I feel particularly proud of the fact that my exit comes at a time that the administration has been able to generate and supply an unprecedented quantum of steady, reliable electric power in the history of our nation. I am confident enough to allow history and the Nigerian people to judge my performance on the task that I accepted from the President.”
He denied having conflict of interest in his handling of the power sector reform saying that he resigned his directorship of all companies that he had interest in and put his shares in those companies in a Blind Trust.
Nnaji said his resignation had given him the opportunity to go back to his integrated power projects “which have been designed to accelerate the development of the nation.” He paid tribute to the staff of the Ministry of Power, the Power Holding Company of Nigeria and other agencies for their “dedication to duty, hard work, patriotism and commitment to the common good which have, in spite of all odds, completely moved the power sector in a new direction to the benefit of all our people.
But Maku, in apparent reaction to fears by stakeholders that Nnaji’s resignation would slow down the power privatization process, said government was determined to ensure its success.