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Jonathan Considers Anyim, Okonjo-Iweala for Cabinet

23 May 2011

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Minister of Finance

By Collins Edomaruse

As President Goodluck Jonathan prepares to unfold his make-or-mar cabinet after his inauguration this weekend, THISDAY can report that former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is top on his shopping list.

Also, former Senate President, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, is being seriously considered for the position of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) if the recently agreed zoning formula of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is maintained.

However, THISDAY could not confirm Sunday night if three top current ministers Olusegun Aganga (Finance), Odein Ajumogobia (Foreign Affairs) and Diezani Alison-Madueke (Petroleum Resources) would return in the new cabinet.

Okonjo-Iweala, currently a Managing Director of the World Bank, commands respect globally and THISDAY learnt that President Jonathan wants her to return to handle the finance portfolio.

But she is yet to make up her mind whether or not to accept the offer because of her unpleasant experience under former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

She was instrumental to the setting-up of Debt Management Office (DMO) as well as the Due Process Office and during her tenure as finance minister between 2003 and 2006, Nigeria secured debt relief from the Paris Club of Creditors.

Following what was believed to be a disagreement with Obasanjo in 2006, she was moved to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a minor cabinet reshuffle but she was still a member of the Economic Management Team.

She resigned her appointment shortly afterwards when the final negotiation for Nigeria’s exit from the London Club of Creditors was held without her knowledge.

She was then appointed as an MD at the World Bank, where she had left as vice-president and corporate secretary to take up ministerial appointment in Nigeria in 2003.

During her tenure as Finance Minister, she introduced the publication of the monthly allocations to different tiers of government on the website of the ministry as well as in the newspapers in the form of paid advertisements in order to encourage transparency and accountability.

Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Harvard University, graduating with an A.B. in 1977, and earned her Ph.D. in Regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Anyim, who was Senate President under Obasanjo from 2000 to 2003, tried to become the national chairman of the PDP in 2007 but the governors rooted for and installed Prince Vin Ogbulafor instead.

In the heat of the failure of former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to transmit a vacation letter to the National Assembly when he went for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia in 2009, Anyim led a delegation of 41 eminent Nigerians to the federal legislature calling on Yar’Adua to send the letter so that Jonathan, who was then vice-president, could be made acting president.

Meanwhile, neither the name of Aganga nor Ajumogobia has been submitted by their respective states for ministerial appointments.

Ajumogobia is from Rivers State while Aganga is from Lagos, but their names are missing from the lists submitted by their respective states for consideration for federal appointments. This has put their fate in the balance as they are now seen as having “no sponsors”.

Aganga, in particular, has been having a running battle with the politicians from Lagos State who believed that he came from “nowhere” to be made minister in the first place as he was not known to the party before then.

Aganga is best remembered for his proposal of a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) to legitimise the Excess Crude Account which has now been passed into law by the National Assembly, awaiting presidential assent.

He also drew up the 2011 budget which is considered to be pro-poor because of the public works content intended to generate massive employment in the process of building infrastructure.

Alison-Madueke has become a subject of intensive media attacks lately, with some arguing that retaining her as minister does not signify that the president wants a new-look cabinet.

However, the governor of her home state, Bayelsa, Chief Timipre Sylvia, is said to favour her retention as minister so as to fend her off from seeking the governorship of the state in the 2012 election.

Under her watch, the Local Content Law was passed by the National Assembly, while the National Gas Masterplan was launched and the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is close to passage by the federal lawmakers as the knotty issues are being ironed out.

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  • If Mr. GoodLuck really wants to serve only one term tenure as rumoured in the media, he should appoint credible people. We are tired of party men being compensated with positions. The masses deserve better. Appoint people who are ready to serve and be accountable to the people.

    From: Vince Akhere

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • What comes out is what was put in:s-it in,manure out.The only good thing that can come out of the PDP is the road that leads to the ACN! When you ask PDP state Chairmen to nominate Federal Ministers,the country gets what it voted for,period.

    From: ekaboy

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Due process preceded
    Okonjo's emergence in the cabinet,so how could she be portrayed as the person that set it up,cross-check very well.

    From: sunday okonkwo

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Iweala should stop degrading herself in the hands of Nigerian politicians.We all saw how Obasanjo dragged her on the mud last time she served.Iweala must know that Obasanjo's hand is still all over this administration.Iweala should seriously focus her attention on World Bank and rise to become its President. Minister of Finance is degrading to her stature. Let Aganga remain there, the man is so far doing well.

    From: michael nwatah

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Mr. Goodluck, we know that you came from PDP, but if you are true to yourself, you will know that Nigerian voted for you and not PDP, so, know what you are doing.

    From: cornel

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • One of the best things that could happen to GEJ's administration is to bring back Okonjo-Iweala to serve in his cabinet.for Anyim he has never impressed me for once even if he lead a delegation to the national assembly to me is not enough to be SFG.

    From: OKE CHI

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • The President will be extremely smart and lucky to get Okonjo Iweala. She has what it takes to restructure the economy. All those party men cannot add any value to the development of Nigeria. Diezani hasn't really had much impact except to parade her closeness to the President. We need people that can add value to Nigeria.

    From: Cicero Okeniyi

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Appoint men that can do the job not 'my guy my guy'

    From: Daniel

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Good luck should in the first place appoint people that can move Nigeria and nigerians forward;just as Obasanjo did when he appointed people like iwela, Ribadu and El rufai, all of these men contributed immensely to the development of nigeria, therefore compensating losers of PDP is not even a point or issue Goodluck should consider when making his/Nigerian cabinate

    From: N.B.Dembo

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Nigerians are really hoping on the new cabinet to make a difference. We are tired of favouring party members at the detriment of Nigeria and Nigerians. We need Technocrats and Goal getters. I think GEJ will be making a very good choice by making Iweala a minister. Others portfolios count too..................

    From: Keji Lukman

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • I agree completely with the opinion that Nigerians voted for GEJ as a person and not PDP. Therefore my advice is that TECHNOCRAT and not party men be given preference.

    From: Nwala G A

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • As an MD working with world bank please don't leave your credible job for any ministerial appointment in Nigeria.you were once beaten,what makes you think you will not be the second time?Better stay where you are n do what you know how to n will be appreciated n recognized! A word they say is enough for the wise!

    From: Sadiai

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Mr President we know you mean well for Nigeria. However, some of your previous appointments make some of us begin to wonder if our initial thoughts about your intentions are not misplaced. A case in point is the appointment of one Patrick Akpobolokemi as Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency. This is one WRONG appointment, Mr President at the beginning of this year. Your appointee is completely out his depts in the sector. The man does not know his left from his right when it comes to maritime matters. He has no idea as to what to do or how or where to start. Kindly do Nigerians and indeed the maritime community a favour and re deploy this man to a much less strategic agency. He is an unmitigated disaster in that Agency and only busy fighting his Executive Directors. This is diversionary because he does not know what to do to move the industry forward. It will be very unfortunate Mr President that the maritime industry in Nigeria went comatose during your time.

    From: Ogbuefi

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Methink the return of Okonji-Iwala is a positive indication that the Govt of serious about reforming the system. Pius Ayim is also a nice one. If all goes this way, kudos to GEJ.

    From: Frank O.

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • It is only Igbos that is being considered on the pages of Nigerian Newspapers! Why, why why why why! This is really a shame that we always allow our self to be ridiculed.The west, north and others are doing underground work and using the press to distract the igbos.what is considering okonjo--to me its a let down if she accepts any other post. And please we don't need any recycling!!!!!. Anyone that have served before in any capacity should never never be recycled. that is a cheat on the Igbo Nation. there are a lot of young people to bring up. NO TO RECYCLINING==OKONJO-NO;(SHE GOT A GOOD JOB); AKUNYILI -no (SHE CAN GET HERSELF BUSY); ANYIM-NO please choose young and energetic igbo sons scattered at home and abroad. thank you.

    From: dr okey chris

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Mr. president need to appoint credible people like Ngozi Okonjo she is very hardworking woman and she is not corrupt like others do.

    From: innocent ephriam (YAKES)

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Many people are suggesting the injection of non-politicians as Ministers into this government. What then will be the dividend of hard work for the politicians who campaigned for their parties to win the elections. That the President promised to use technocrats from the diaspora gives no outright compulsion to him to fill his cabinet only with non-politicians. What would he explain as the motivation for ignoring his colleagues and which colleague wants to be treated with ingratitude after a successful hard work. I Implore all the canvassers of the idea to analyse the issue with a view to recalling their impression on the President.

    From: Earnest Olawale Fasan

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Anyim distinguished himself as senate president and that is without any doubt!He and Okonjo-Iweala will bring unimaginable addition to President Jonathan's cabinet and I hope this will come to pass!

    From: Tochukwu

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • What Nigeria needs at present are men and women of great minds and not "papa decisive pikin" stooges. Jonathan is confused,we need to be praying for him!!

    From: samuke01

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Okonjo is good 2 go but she has a good job while not try other good people without job as 4 Anyim he is not the best 4 igbos there are better options. Mr president should understand that this a very critical moment

    From: KAY

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Mr President sir, you have nothing to lose if you go out of your party PDP to select most of your ministers. Most of us voted for you because of your integrity and not because you are a member of PDP. For you to get the desired results which the electorates are yawning for , you have to select technocrats and not politicians if you want to succeed. You already told us that you will spend only a term so, there is no time for "on the Job training" and merging of error is very low. Based on this, you will need tested people to be ministers. Ngozi Okonji - Iweala will surely be of great benefit to your administration and to the country as a whole. A woman of substance and great credibility.

    From: john tony

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • My advice to Mr. President is not to appoint anyone who took part in the election and failed to any post instead he should consider those who took part in the primaries and failed. My reason behind this is that for you to succeed at the primary level you needed to have bags of money to satisfy the king makers and if you dont have it you aren't' going anywhere. It is not a measure of the person's popularity amongst the electorates.
    Anyone who took part in the main election and fails, it shows that such a person is not popular with the electorates should not be appointed to any post if we believe that the 2011 election was a free and fair election. Any other person who did not participate in the election and is capable should be considered thats my views.

    From: George C Etugo

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • "She was instrumental to the setting-up of Debt Management Office (DMO)" No she wasn't DMO was established and has been operating since 2000 facts http://www.dmo.gov.ng/backgroundb.php

    From: Kibau

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • Madam, please do not accept any ministerial post, we are proud of your good work. Nigeria politics is not ready for the likes of you.

    From: Ade

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • If Lady Okwonjo Ewuala is coming here, she should please be a friend of remuneration of workers. I can vividly remember in a National TV network, she was saved by her security personnel who pushed her into the gate when she attempted to address hungry and angry workers on MONETIZATION?. I think. Nigerian workers cannot understand any public finance theory that does not translate into higher pay-packet. You are good and we admire you, but please bear this in mind. We. your people have suffered for too long to listen to big-big theories. Thanx Ma. I envy your brain. May God elongate your life 4 us. Amen. You are welcome home. Please take the Ministerial appointment.

    From: Kayode Adebayo

    Posted: 3 years ago

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  • With Owela alone the cabinet is settled and Jonathan is working

    From: Shirvenda

    Posted: 3 years ago

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