The fallout over the resignation of Prof. Bart Nnaji as the Minister of Power continued to reverberate Wednesday, with eminent South-easterners calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that Nnaji’s replacement is from the zone.
Speaking to THISDAY on the retention of the power ministry portfolio by the South-east zone, the immediate former President General of the Igbo social cultural group – Ohaneze ndi Igbo – Dr. Dozie Ikedife, former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, and former Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani, said that with Nnaji’s departure, the president should do the right thing by picking a replacement from the South-east zone.
The former Senate president said: “Much as one is not questioning why the former minister was relieved of his appointment, it is right in the face of justice and equity, as well as fair play that the replacement of Prof. Bart Nnaji comes from the same zone of the South-east.
“Not only should his replacement come from the zone, it is equally right that Enugu State be given the chance to produce a replacement who shall man the Federal Ministry of Power.
“The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria stipulates that each state should produce a minister. As things stand now, with the sack of Nnaji, it is therefore in the overall interest of equity and justice that his replacement should come from Enugu State.”
Speaking in the same manner, Ikedife joined in the call for Nnaji’s replacement to come for the zone. He said: “There are competent Nigerians from the South-east to occupy the office as the Minister of Power.
“It cannot be fair to say that there are no competent administrators and professionals to replace Prof. Bart Nnaji as the Minister of Power. But my argument is that in the overall interest of fairness, equity and justice that the president should consider the South-east zone to bring forward a competent replacement for the former minister.”
“My appeal to the president, who I know as a fair-minded person, is to still consider the zone in the replacement for Prof. Nnaji who was sacked as the Minister of Power. This is only just and fair in the overall interest of fairness, equity and justice. There are competent Nigerians of South-east extraction that are good enough to replace him; this is my plea,” he added.
Also, Ezeife joined his colleagues to call for a South-easterner to replace Nnaji, stating, “We are not contending why he was sacked, no. The point of argument is that he should be replaced by someone from the same zone. There are competent Nigerians from the zone who are eminently qualified to wear his shoes.”
But Nnaji’s departure elicited criticism from the South-east chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Wednesday, which expressed shock and dismay over his “forced resignation”, noting that the development was not only disappointing but shameful for the South-east zone.
Briefing journalists on its position, the chairman of CAN in the zone and Bishop of Enugu Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, described the minister’s resignation as an embarrassment to the people of the zone. He said the manner many South-east leaders and politicians were being disgraced out of office was becoming worrisome.
“We feel and see the resignation of Nnaji as very disappointing; we consider it a very shameful thing for the people of South-east. There is no doubt that it is about the disagreement he has been having with the PHCN workers,” he noted, stressing that other reasons being adduced were mere fabrications.
He therefore called on the president to ensure that Nnaji’s replacement comes from Enugu since he represented the state in the federal cabinet. Continuing, the CAN leader said: “We also call on South-east representatives and leaders in various positions to be responsible in their leadership; we are tired of their behaviour.
“The South-east lost the national chairmanship of PDP. Still in Enugu here, we have also lost several other positions.”
The Anglican cleric also took a swipe at the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi over the proposed introduction of N5, 000 banknote by the first quarter of next year, urging him to take the honourable path by throwing in the towel.
He accused the CBN governor of introducing policies that are at variance with realities on the ground since he assumed office, noting that anything short of resignation would not be in the collective interest of the country.
He described the planned new note as “unacceptable and an easy ticket to corruption and looting,” stressing that instead of the whopping sum which the CBN mentioned for the printing of the new banknotes, it ought to be channelled to other sectors of the economy which are geared towards poverty alleviation and disaster management.