President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan yesterday accepted the resignation letter of Power Minister, Prof. Barth Nnaj. It was gathered that the former Power Minister was summoned by President Jonathan over allegation that he (Nnaji) was fronting for him in the Privatisation exercise in the energy sector.
The rattled minister, sources said, was surprised by the president’s question and reportedly denied the charge.
The president, the source went on, delivered the final blow when he queried the former minister’s interest in one of the firms involved in the privatisation process. Prof. Nnaji told the president that he had disclosed to the National Council on Privatisation, that he used to have interest in one of the firms bidding to buy the Afam Power plant in Enugu.
An outraged President Jonathan, the source said, told the minister that he ought to have known that there would be conflict of interest in the exercise. After venting his anger at the minister, Nnaji threw in the towel by offering to step down as minister. The president, still seething, accepted it immediately. The former minister had been locked in a dispute with PHCN workers over a myriad of issues.
One source told our correspondent that as a prelude to sending Nnaji packing, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, had openly tended to side with the workers against the embattled minister, when he declared at the meeting that the Federal Government team, headed by the minister had not done enough in the power sector reforms.
“At that point in time, Nnaji felt really humiliated and stood up from his seat and left Anyim to continue the meeting with the PHCN staff,who booed him based on the SGF’s remark, which most of them saw as a confirmation of their allegations against the former minister.
”What really infuriated the former minister was that the SGF tended to see from the workers’ point of view that he had really not done much to advance the cause of the nation and he took offense and stormed out of the meeting,” a source said last night.
Another source pointed out that it was in the middle of the meeting with the PHCN workers and the SGF that President Goodluck Jonathan summoned him to the Villa and asked him to resign with immediate effect over his alleged conflicting interest in the privatisation process of the PHCN companies.