It's a lie, Finance Minister didn't resign—Ekaette, Gana, Oyo

Posted by By CHARLES OZOEMENA, Abuja on 2003/07/21 | Views: 557 |

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It's a lie, Finance Minister didn't resign—Ekaette, Gana, Oyo

THE report yesterday that Finance Minister, Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, resigned from the federal cabinet less than one week after she took the job, caused considerable anxiety in political circles across the country.

THE report yesterday that Finance Minister, Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, resigned from the federal cabinet less than one week after she took the job, caused considerable anxiety in political circles across the country.

However, reactions from government quarters to the report were swift as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Ufot Ekaette; the special adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo on political matters, Prof. Jerry Gana and the Presidential spokesperson, Mrs. Remi Oyo, said the former vice-president of the World Bank had not quit the Federal Executive Council.

The three top government officials claimed Okonjo-Iweala was one of the 38 ministers in attendance at a retreat for top functionaries of the Obasanjo administration and that if she had

resigned, she would not have been part of the programme.

"No, no, no, it is not correct that she resigned. If she had quit the cabinet, would you have seen her attending the programme?" Ekaette told Sunday Vanguard.

Gana dismissed the report, saying the Finance minister was at the retreat with her colleagues yesterday.

The presidential adviser on political matters who spoke while emerging from yesterday’s retreat session which rose at 6.30 p.m. said: "I do not think she resigned because she was there (at the retreat) with us. It is not true".

For Oyo, she could not understand the source of the resignation story. "It is a total lie", the presidential spokesperson declared and urged the public to disregard the story.

She added: "How can this be true because she has been attending the treat? It is false".

However, information gathered from the retreat indicated that the Finance Minister had been tough in her questions at the retreat, trying to know every detail of government policies and actions.

"She has been tough in her questions", a dependable source told Sunday Vanguard.

Efforts to reach Okonjo-Iweala, a global finance icon, yesterday were unsuccessful.

The retreat ends today and Obasanjo is expected to perform the closing ceremony while the new ministers are expected to fully resume their official duties tomorrow.

With a first degree in Economics from Havard University (USA) and a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) also in the United States of America, Okonjo-Iweala had abandoned her plum job at the World Bank, where she was recently promoted Vice President, to devote her energy, experience and contacts to pull the Nigerian economy out of the woods.

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