Power Sector Crisis: Barth Nnaji Loses Out, Resigns

Professor Barth Nnaji has become a high profile casualty in the crisis in Nigeria’s power sector as President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday “accepted” his resignation as the Minister of Power with immediate effect. The development opened a new chapter in the standoff  between unions of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and the federal government over modalities for fully privatizing the electricity sector.

A statement by Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati said President Jonathan thanked Prof. Nnaji “for his services to the nation under the present administration and wishes him well in his future endeavours.”

Prof. Barth Nnaji

The former minister was mired in controversy and conflict of interest has company, Geometric Power, is bidding for one of the successor companies of PHCN.

Nnaji’s resignation comes barely two weeks after the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) demanded his resignation citing “vituperation on the workers in the sector. NUEE also accused the then minister of engaging in fraudulent activities in the Power Sector and misinforming Nigerians to the extent of putting them under tension unnecessarily.

The union had also demanded explanation from Nnaji in connection with his role or activities in relation to issues like:

N395m collected from PHCN allegedly for the Media, for 3 months;
N280m collected from PHCN allegedly for Nigeria Army;
N200m collected from PHCN allegedly for Unknown Project in the Power Ministry;
N86m collected from PHCN allegedly for a bullet -proof vehicle;
N3m collected from PHCN and donated to Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT); and
Employment of 20 people in Enugu Zone of PHCN who are his kith and kins as staff two years after the closing date of casual employment and close of PHCN biometrics exercise.

“He should also explain to Nigerians why we have been collecting Pension and Gratuity from 1972 till June 2012 based on 25 percent, and why his reform tends to short change the workers,” the statement said, adding that the development confirms the fears of workers in the power sector that Nnaji’s reform is aimed at strangulating workers.” A statement by the union leadership had said.

THISDAY quoted Nnaji as saying he opted to resign in order to save the privatisation and reform programme from those who might want to use ulterior motives to bring down the programme.

The newspaper reported that Nnaji said he had met with the president Tuesday afternoon, during which he (president) informed him (Nnaji) that he was using his company as a proxy to buy shares on behalf of the president in Afam power station through the privatisation process.

“On hearing this, he informed the president that rather than drag him (Jonathan) and the entire process through the mud, he would prefer to resign but reminded the president that he had brought it to his attention two weeks ago that a company he owned was part of a bidding consortium that had submitted bids for Enugu Distribution Company.” The paper wrote.

Nnaji is said to have explained that there have been all sorts of efforts to bring him down since his appointment as Special Adviser to the President on Power and later power minister, but decided Tuesday that it was best to leave rather that allow fourth columnists to mar the entire process.

“It is a huge conspiracy to scuttle the programme, but rather than drag the president and the programme down, I decided to tender my resignation,” he said.


About Aim_LEGEND

I am a Graphic artist and lover of computer generated images. Business minded, and also love to have fun. I love the media. MablizzyOfficial is staying updated with info and keeping others updated as well..

Posted on August 29, 2012, in News and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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