I was forced to leave in order to protect the president from powerful interests

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Former Minister of Power Professor Barth Nnaji yesterday spoke on his resignation, saying he did it to protect President Jonathan from spillover of efforts by “powerful vested interests” trying to run him down.

In a statement by his spokesman Ogbuagu Anikwe, Nnaji said he was happy he was leaving when the power situation was improving.

The statement said, “He (Nnaji) explained that he had to voluntarily resign the office of minister to retain his 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 he has 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.”

Referring to the allegations of conflict of interest, 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 privatisation 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.”

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