Barth Nnaji: Architect of Nigeria’s Pioneering Power Project in Aba

Taiwo Ajayi
3 Min Read
Barth Nnaji

A substantial improvement in power supply is on the horizon for over half of Abia State as the Geometric Power Group gears up to activate the first of its four power-generating turbines in Aba this week. Spearheading this groundbreaking initiative is Bartholomew Nnaji, popularly known as Barth Nnaji, the mastermind behind Nigeria’s sole integrated power project.

Geometric Power, licensed to produce 188 Megawatts (MW), stands as Nigeria’s solitary integrated power project, boasting its own embedded power plant. This distinctive feature allows Geometric Power to generate and distribute electricity independently, setting it apart from conventional electricity providers.

The electricity generation arm of the Geometric Power Group, Geometric Power Aba Ltd (GPAL), operates in tandem with the distribution company, Aba Power Limited Electrical (APLE), covering nine out of seventeen local government areas in Abia State. These areas collectively constitute the Aba Ring-fenced Area, where GPAL is tasked with electricity production and distribution.


The brainchild behind this transformative project is Bartholomew Nnaji, a distinguished professor of mechanical engineering and the founder/chairman of Geometric Power Limited (GPL). With a doctoral degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Nnaji’s expertise spans decades of academic and practical experience.

Returning to Nigeria in 1993, Nnaji assumed the role of Federal Minister of Science and Technology before establishing GPL in 2000, Nigeria’s premier indigenous-owned power development company. Notably, GPL introduced Nigeria’s inaugural high-efficiency combined emergency power station in 2001, supplying uninterrupted power to Abuja and its environs.

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Drawing from his experience, Nnaji devised the “Integrated Power Solutions Model,” envisioning power generation and distribution companies tailored to meet the needs of industrial, commercial, and residential sectors within economic clusters. This model laid the foundation for the Aba Integrated Power Project, aimed at providing reliable electricity to Aba’s diverse sectors through a 140 MW gas-fired power plant.

Reflecting on the genesis of the Aba power plant, Nnaji recounted how an invitation from former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former World Bank President James Wolfohnson to witness Aba’s economic potential catalyzed the project’s inception in 2004. Nnaji’s personal commitment to addressing the electricity deficit in Southeast Nigeria fueled his resolve to undertake the Aba project, despite encountering numerous challenges along the way.

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As the Aba Integrated Power Project nears fruition, Nnaji remains resolute in his dedication to serving his community. He acknowledges the trials endured throughout the project’s evolution but affirms that the endeavor is a testament to the fulfillment derived from contributing to the progress of one’s people.

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