Posted by The Guardian on
SPECULATIONS were rife last night on the resignation from government of the new Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala....
SPECULATIONS were rife last night on the resignation from government of the new Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
She was re-assigned last Wednesday in a surprise cabinet shake-up, which removed her from the Finance Ministry where the Minister of State was elevated as Minister of Finance.
She was unavailable for comment last night. Her telephones were not ringing when The Guardian tried to reach her. There was no one from members of her family and her aides contacted who could confirm the strong claim. All of them denied that she had resigned.
Even one of her close associates in the cabinet, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, FCT Minister, said last night that the lead was not true.
He said on telephone: "Not true. She went to Abia today for a reception planned for her. She is finalising her hand-over notes. She will be at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs next week"
Earlier, her Special Assistant (Media) Mr Paul Nwabiukwu had declared it a wicked rumour. "It is not true", he simply said.
Nwabiukwu also assured that her boss would be at her desk on Monday.
But an unconfirmed lead said last night that she had indeed submitted her resignation letter to the Chief of Staff to the President.
But there was no action on or response to it as the President was in Ondo State on a three-day working visit. There was no response from the office of the President last night even to confirm anything about the speculated letter of resignation.
The development last night was a recall of a similar speculation in 2003 shortly after she was appointed as Finance Minister. She was said to have resigned midway through a Retreat when she was told at the then NICON Hilton Hotel that the Budget Office would be run independently from the Finance Ministry.
Then Mr Bode Agusto, a chartered accountant and rating expert had just been recruited as Director-General Budget Office. She was said to have resigned immediately because the Ministry of Finance without the budget Office would be desolate with only Multilateral and one other Department.
It was gathered then as reported by The Guardian that she was prevailed upon by the combined efforts of Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Malam el-Rufai. But she was quoted in another medium that she did not resign. Though it was confirmed later that she did.
It was also gathered last night that some powerful Nigerians had indeed appealed to her to withdraw the said resgnation letter. Again, there was no confirmation that she has or she will.
Suspicion began on Wednesday when reports indicated that she did not wait for any courtesies or pleasantries after the Federal Executive Council meeting where she was moved to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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