Why Power Minister, Barth Nnaji, was forced to resign

Barth Nnaji
Barth Nnaji

By Ata Udo

Contrary to the impression created by the presidency that the Minister of Power, Barth Nnaji, resigned from office on his own volition, highly placed sources familiar with the matter have told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Nnaji was actually  forced to resign Tuesday following a gale of allegations linking him with attempts to subvert the bidding process for the sale of Afam Power plant.

Aso Rock spokesperson, Reuben Abati, had released a statement this evening saying President Goodluck Jonathan had accepted the power minister’s resignation and wished him well in his future endeavours.

But presidency sources have told us the minister was compelled by Mr. Jonathan to resign after allegations of conflict of interest in the privatisation of the power plant was confirmed .

Reports earlier this week had linked Mr. Nnaji with direct interests in one of the firms shortlisted to bid for the 776 megawatts (MW) capacity Afam power plant, already slated for privatisation by the Federal Government.

The plant, consisting about 18 gas turbines, is considered the most  viable of the power plants slated for privatization by the Federal government, particularly with the recent approval of about N500 million for its rehabilitation.

Apart from his interest in acquiring the plant, Mr Nnaji reportedly used his privileged position to influence the emergence of one of the firms in pole position to be selected  winner, an effort traducers claimed reportedly earned him a gratification of a brand new Prado jeep and cash reward in excess of N89million.

Mr. Nnaji could not be reached Tuesday night to respond to these allegations but a source close to him, who asked not to be named, said “the allegations  are untrue and were merely manufactured to tarnish the hard-earned reputation of the minister”.

The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has, since the commencement of the process of privatising the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) subsidiary firms, engaged the minister in a running battle, accusing him of pursuing a hidden selfish agenda.

NUEE General Secretary, Joe Ajaero, had, on behalf of the PHCN workers that have already been served sack letters, queried the decision to give them only 25 per cent of their entitlement for Pension and Gratuity, pointing out that the arrangement confirmed their fears that Mr. Nnaji’s reform was aimed at strangulating workers.

Prior to his appointment, Mr Nnaji was the chairman, Geometrics Power, one of the 18 private companies that were granted operational licenses by the Federal Government to undertake the generation of electricity to compliment the effort to boost the country’s available supply capacity.

It was gathered that the decision to ask Mr. Nnaji to turn in his resignation letter may have followed the confirmation by the Presidency of some of the allegations levelled against him.

President Goodluck Jonathan was said to have asked the minister to resign rather than sack him, to save his administration the monumental embarrassment such an action could generate.

Presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, could not be reached for comments as he did not answer calls to his mobile telephones.

  • New Nigeria

    Thief

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YNS774MQ72FI26P35U74B6W6DE Mayo

    This report contradicts that of Guardian –
    http://tinyurl.com/9ngru5r and Vanguard
    http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/08/power-minister-barth-nnaji-loses-job/ which states Nnaji was the one who informed the NPC about the conflict of interest.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fiagun Fidel Agun

    This are mere allegations that are subject to verification. The FGN knew Barth Nnaji as the owner of Geometrics before appointing him a minister, and as required by law he resigned from his possiton as chairman of the company. What is wrong again since the company has followed the due process of law? It is a pity that GEJ fell for this blackmail by NUEE. For all I care, the enemy has won again for Barth was doing well.

    • omikosh

      I think you should try to understand the meaning of ‘abuse of Office’.

    • http://www.facebook.com/adili.kolado Adili Kolado

      My Fidel, this is not the work of NUEE. Blame PDP and their foot soldiers. You think Clark types would allow him? God save Nigeria. For Nnaji, I say to him, you will inshaAllah prosper more.

  • http://twitter.com/MEORHEWERE Matilda E. Orhewere

    Many of this govt’s Ministers have such corruption and mismanagement related issues that are yet to be addressed. The great professor has simply been made the first scapegoat.

  • Sceptic

    I am by no means a fan of Nnaji’s but I can bet with my life that these allegations are not the reason why the Minister was removed. This government doesnt care if he has a vested interest in the privatization process or not. The President himself is surrounded by ex-convicts for God’s sake! so why should he care? The same President who orchestrated the Malabu Scandal? Aig-Imoukhuede doctored Subsidy probe scam?There is more to this resignation than meets the eye- and it is not just some “little” impropriety on the minister’s part.

  • AbujaKenneth

    I am a FBI (Full blooded Igboman) but it surprises me the way my brothers and sisters do things at times. An average Yoruba man will steal Government money and cover his flacks such that years to come he will not be detected. An Hausa man will steal and tell his brother to cover him and ready to fight whoever questions him, But my people will steal and let it be falling out of their pocket so that it will be evident. As far as Iam concern the Prof has not done anything wrong even if it is conflict of interest which is declared. The Government know him to be the Chairman of a Power company before the appointment and if BPE failed to conduct proper biddingprocess, it is not to be blamed on Nnaji. I fully believed that continuity would have brought us out of this power crises

    • http://www.facebook.com/adili.kolado Adili Kolado

      True talk ma bros.

  • Solos Emedhem

    Barth Nnaji and others like him who want to deny PHCN workers their entitlements because of their personal greed will have failure waiting for them at the post of their success. How are the “mighty” fallen!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YNS774MQ72FI26P35U74B6W6DE Mayo

      Bart Nnaji is not trying to deny anybody of their entitlements. He is simply trying to follow what the pension reform act (which is the current law) states. Companies adjusted their pension details to follow the law when it became effective. Why should PHCN (NEPA then) be different?

  • Hickey

    There are far too many conflicts of interest in Jonathan’s caucus for the reason to be true. I suspect Barth outplayed other interest groups…

  • http://www.facebook.com/eu.effi Eu Effi

    You know yesterday I was so happy for Oga Nnaji, because I thought his action was based on not compromising his office on moral reason. However, as the his colleague, Labaran Maku confirmed these allegations of conflict of interest, it still prove to us that the beautiful ones are not yet borned; or is it the case of those that work in the temple eat from the temple?