Posted by By Jude Nwauzor, Senior Correspondent, Lagos on
President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday dropped the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as the chairman of the Nigeria Economic Intelligence Team.....
President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday dropped the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as the chairman of the Nigeria Economic Intelligence Team (NEIT).
This is ahead of the forthcoming World Bank meeting scheduled to hold in Singapore in September.
She has been replaced with Esther Nenadi Usman, who incidentally took over from her as finance minister.
Osita Ogbu was named as Nenadiís deputy.
It was learnt that the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), Ufot Ekaete, in a letter, informed the affected ministers of the new development. It is meant to harmonise the leadership of the intelligence group before the meeting.
Before Okonjo-Iweala was appointed minister, she was head of the Nigerian Office at the World Bank, a position she has maintained until the latest development. Industry watchers said she was removed because it would not be healthy for Nigeria to present two senior ministers before the World Bank, both of whom would be talking about the economic reforms and position of the government in Singapore.
It was also learnt that before the President took the decision, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) led by Charles Soludo advised on the implication of sending two senior ministers to represent Nigeria before the World Bank.
The move, it was gathered, is to allow Nenadi take full control of the ministry having served as minister of state for finance under Okonjo-Iweala.
The Finance Minister confirmed the new development.
When Okonjo-Iweala was Finance Minister, her focus was to restore the nationís credibility before the international community. Her respect at the World Bank and other financial institutions earned Nigeria debt forgiveness by the London and Paris Clubs.
It was also because of her achievements in the Finance Ministry that she was deployed to the Foreign Ministry to replicate the feat. Although Okonjo-Iweala has since resumed duties at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, her image still looms large in the Finance Ministry.
But with the latest change, economic analysts believe Nenadi has been given the full opportunity to also showcase the stuff she is made of.
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