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.
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.
 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 Abuja in apparent reaction to fears by stakeholders that Nnaji’s  resignation would slow down the power privatisation process, said government was determined to ensure its success.
Nnaji’s sudden resignation after barely 14 months in office on Tuesday and its immediate acceptance by Jonathan had fuelled speculations that the professor was forced out of the government.
Unconfirmed reports had indicated that he was sacked because of his alleged handling of the privatisation of the power sector.
The President and his men were said to be unhappy that the minister attempted to persuade the Federal Government to refurbish the plant with N6bn when he knew he had interest in it.
Nnaji troubles were also said to be traceable to the bidding process for the Transmission Company of Nigeria which was won by a Canadian Firm, Manitoba.
It was learnt that the offer of the management of TCN to Manitoba had ignited bad blood among the top government officials in the National Council for Privatisation and their business allies.
The feud generated by the Manitoba offer was such that moves were made to void the bidding process.
 SOURCE:The Punch

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