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It was to have been a routine swearing-in and assigning of portfolios to the five new ministers approved by the Senate last week. But it turned out much more than that.....
It was to have been a routine swearing-in and assigning of portfolios to the five new ministers approved by the Senate last week. But it turned out much more than that. By the time President Olusegun Obasanjo finished the routine swearing-in, he dropped the unexpected.
Two of his ministers who hitherto, had been professionally picked for their specific knowledge in their assigned ministries were redeployed. Calling the efforts of his administration in the last seven years as a "liberation struggle" against entrenched interests rooting for the continuation of the status quo, he announced the redeployment of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former World Bank Vice President and Minister of Finance since 2003 to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In the same vein, veteran diplomat, Ambassador Olu Adeniji was redeployed to the Ministry of Internal Affairs as minister. No reasons were given for the redeployments, which also affected Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, who was moved from the Ministry of Solid Minerals to the Ministry of Education as the substantive minister. Former Minister of state in the Finance Ministry, Mrs Nenadi Usman moved up the ladder in the ministry, replacing Dr Okonjo-Iweala as the substantive minister.
One of the new ministers sworn in on Wednesday, Engineer Elias Mbam will function as Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance. President Obasanjo however, said that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala will still retain her position as chairman of the government's Economic Management Team. She will also, for now, oversee the external financial institutions pending the time the new minister of finance will settle down on her desk.
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