Prof. Bart O. Nnaji, who was reportedly fired as Minister of Power yesterday, has expressed heartfelt gratitude to President Goodluck Jonathan and to millions of Nigerians who supported him in his efforts to improve public power supply in the past 14 months.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Prof. Nnaji stated that not many Nigerians have had the privilege of serving the nation twice as minister, and that he is grateful to have served this government in the capacity of an adviser and a ranking cabinet minister in a very challenging and complex sector.
“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 said.
Before his appointment as Minister of Power, Prof. Nnaji was the Special Adviser on Power to President Goodluck Jonathan and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Power. In 1993 he had also served as Minister of Science and Technology.
He explained that he voluntarily resigned the office of Minister in order to retain his integrity which he said had recently come under scurrilous attacks by powerful vested interests that were hell bent on besmirching a reputation he had painstakingly built over the years.
“This resignation is also to ensure that there is no spillover of these attacks to the President who is working very hard to transform the nation,” 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 privatization 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 recused 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.”
Prof. Nnaji said that his resignation gives him the opportunity to go back to his integrated power projects which have been designed to accelerate the development of the nation.
He paid glowing tributes to the staff of the Ministry of Power, 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."
He enjoined the staff of the Ministry and its agencies to remain focused on the objective of delivering reliable, steady power to the nation and to accord his successor the same level of cooperation and commitment in order to achieve the goal.
Prof. Nnaji also expressed gratitude to Nigerians at home and abroad for their ceaseless messages of support and solidarity since his resignation was announced.