Mixed reactions trail Power Minister’s removal

Thursday, 30 August 2012 18:24

LANRE ADESANYA

The resignation or removal of the nation’s Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji, has continued to generate controversy in the country. There have been divergent views among notable stakeholders in the country.

While Nigerians are divided over the need for the decision, the former Minister has been silence over what snowballed into his misfortune in the service of the country.  Some have cautioned that any replacement to be made in his stead should be in good faith and not one that will take the country to a worse situation of what formerly obtains before the recent improvement in electricity supply.
Prominent Nigerians who spoke to National Daily could not hide their disdain for the removal.

Debo Adeniran, Executive Director of Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) said that Nigerians were told about the exit of Professor Barth Nnaji and that he actually resigned as the Minister of Power. “We cannot figure out if he was removed yet, we are hoping they are not going to bring in a worse version of Barth Nnaji. His tenure has not been of any cheer, with respect to improvement of electricity supply. We are reliably informed by those who should know that it is because of the rise in the water level, that we had a little respite, as no significant efforts was attributed to him, aside crisis that engulfed the power sector. He has scandals to show for his tenure,” Adeniran said. He added: “We were once told that when NEPA was unbundled, we would be able to boast of 10,000 Megawatts of power supply, but we barely generate 3,500-4000 megawatt, while we need 20,000 megawatts to power our industries that have drifted to neighbouring countries, including unaffordable household consumption of electricity.  His tenure has been a disaster. It is a good radiance to bad rubbish.”

Adeniran further said that Nigerians are skeptical about the step taken by the Federal Government, emphasizing that once a version is removed, a worst version is brought in replacement. He recalled the reminiscent of what obtained in the Ministry of Justice when Mike Aondoaka was replaced with Adoke, who condones corruption and perverts justice. “We are saying whoever will replace Nnaji must not be the worst version of him but if such arises, we are going to fight it to a stand still,” he cautioned.

Audu Ogbe, a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) simply told our Reporter that he has not yet got details of what really happened. He declined further comment because he doesn’t really know what informed the minister’s removal.

Commrade Ibuchukwu Ezike, Executive Director of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Lagos, acknowledged being aware of the resignation of the former Power Minister and that President Goodluck Jonathan consented to his resignation, but observed that the story is developing. “One school of thought says he was unscrupulously involved in the two companies bidding for nation’s power generation and distribution firms, while insinuations are that the President asked him to go because he is trying to sanitize the Ministry. Whether he is removed or he resigned, the fact still remained that he has to be commended because the like of the Minister of Finance and Minister of Petroleum had been tainted at one time or the other yet they remained there. The President should rather wake up and give the country the kind of government it deserves,” the CLO Director said.

Dr. Frederick Fasheun, the Founder and Leader of the O’odua Peoples Congress (OPC), was of the view that the removal would not  have been at this time that the PHCN is improving , asking when did the embattled minister assumed office. “He has been able to sanitize the sector within a short time; we now have an appreciable rate of power supply. May be there are some other reasons for his removal but the step is wrong, that is my own take,” Fasehun decalred.

Yinka Odumakin, spokesperson of Muhammadu Buhari and member of Save Nigeria Group, told our Reporter that Nigerians will one day know the very reason Nnaji was removed. “Jonathan regime is too user friendly for corruption to sack anybody on account of conflict of interest. Did he sack Dieziani Madueke over all that happened in the oil industry,” Odumakin asked.

Odumakin observed that The one time Minister of Science and Technology, who is the director and a founder of the Automation and Robotics Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, made a Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering in 1992.Also the founder of the first indigenous owned power generating company in Nigeria, was said to have been booted out of office for  having been involved in the two companies that were initially cleared to participate in the forthcoming bidding process for some of the nation’s power generation and distribution companies on September 25, he noted. The National Council on Privatization (NCP) has since cancelled the technical bid and evaluation process conducted for the two companies at the heart of the alleged controversy; Afam Generation Company LTD and Enugu Distribution Company Limited.
It is gathered that Nnaji who was also a member of the NCP, had in the past notified the council of his interest in the privatization process, while disclosing that he had resigned from the board of Geometric power, a company he founded that is bidding for the takeover of the Afam Generation Company.

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