Prof. Bart Nnaji
Enugu State, which produced the last Minister of Power, Prof. Bart Nnaji, may lose the portfolio, THISDAY learnt Monday.
It was gathered that as President Goodluck Jonathan intensifies efforts to replace Nnaji, who resigned from the position in August, he has not been satisfied with the calibre of the persons being suggested by the state to replace the former minister and is considering looking elsewhere for a new person to man the Power Ministry.
In addition, the president is shopping for a new Minister of Defence to replace Dr. Haliru Bello, from Kebbi State, who was sacked in June along with the National Security Adviser, Lt.-Gen. Andrew Owoeye Azazi.
However, THISDAY checks revealed that should another state produce the Minister of Power, Jonathan might have to carry out a cabinet reshuffle to accommodate a representative of the Enugu State in the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Presidency source said the nominees for Nnaji’s replacement submitted by the Enugu State Governor, Mr. Sullivan Chime, may not have met Jonathan’s expectations and were also being opposed by some stakeholders from the state.
The nominees are Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Mr. Vita Abba, a fellow of the Nigeria Society of Engineers, and Pro- Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri; President of the Nigeria Institute of Management, Dr. Sally Adukwu Bolujoko and the state Commissioner of Land, Dr. Emeka Ujam.
Both Abba and Bolujoku are from Enugu North senatorial district although the woman is married to an indigene of Kogi State while Ujam is from Enugu East senatorial district.
Chime was said to have submitted the names of his nominees to the president shortly before he left the country for a six-week vacation abroad.
The governor is said to have drawn up the list without consulting some critical stakeholders from the state like the Seputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.
However, it was learnt that Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius, is pushing the candidacy of Mr. Ferdinand Agu who is his special aide, for the job.
Chime who was said to have initially rejected the suggestion, reportedly changed him mind upon his realisation that Agu is a native of Udi.
THISDAY learnt that Jonathan has not accepted any of the nominees, including Agu, an architect.
Source said Agu’s candidacy might not sail through because being an architect, Jonathan cannot afford to have two of them in the power ministry. The Minister of State for Power, Mr. Darius Ishaku, is also an architect.
Another factor likely to work against Agu is that being from the governor’s place, giving him the job would concentrated political appointments in his zone, especially when the former Minister of Aviation, Mrs Fidelia Njeze, who is now an ambassador, is from the governor’s hometown.