Former Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji opens up on his resignation & fraud allegations

Barely 24 hours after his sudden exit from President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet, ex-Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, on Wednesday said he resigned because some “powerful vested interests” were bent on tarnishing his image.

Nnaji 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 which was contained in a statement by his spokesman, Ogbuagu Anikwe, 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.

But the former minister said he was proud that he left at a time that power generation and supply had supply had improved.

The statement reads in part, “I had to voluntarily resign the office of minister to retain my integrity which has in recent days come under scurrilous attacks by powerful vested interests that were hell bent on besmirching the integrity and reputation that I painstakingly built over the years.

“This resignation is also to ensure that there is no spill over of these attacks to the President who is working very hard to transform the nation.

“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.

According to him, he resigned his directorship of all companies in which he had interest and put his shares in those companies in a Blind Trust.

He said, “I would like to reiterate that before I accepted to serve as minister, I resigned my directorship of all companies that I had interest in and put my shares in those companies in a Blind Trust; this means that I was not privy to the day-to-day business decisions of those who ran this Trust.

“In addition, I publicly declared the participation in the privatisation process of a foreign company that did business with a company that I had interest in. This fact came to my knowledge only during the course of evaluating the consortia that were bidding for PHCN successor companies. Consequently, I also voluntarily excused myself from participating in the selection process. These actions, I should think, are in line with the finest traditions of transparency and accountability in governance.”

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”