By Lawrence Olaoye
The Presidency has clarified that Hajia Zainab Ahmed has relinquished her position as the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning and has become the substantive Minister of Finance.
Asked to clarify the main status of the minister whom President Muhammadu Buhari had mandated to oversee the Finance Ministry following the resignation of Kemi Adeosun last Friday, Special Adviser to the President on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, said she was addressed as the Finance Minister at the Council Chamber during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by the President yesterday.
Adeosun had thrown in the towel as a result of unrelenting calls for her ouster from the cabinet following allegations that she forged her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate.
Acknowledging the receipt and acceptance of Adeosun’s resignation, the Presidency had in a statement announced that Buhari had mandated Ahmed to oversee the Finance Ministry.
However, there have been controversies around her real status in the cabinet since she resumed at the Ministry of Finance on Monday.
At the FEC meeting yesterday, it was noted that she sat on the seat vacated by Adeosun who was a substantive minister until her resignation from office.
Argument therefore ensued on whether Ahmed had been elevated from the position of a junior minister in the budget and national planning ministry to that of a substantive finance minister.
On Ahmed’s real status “You know she was minister of state budget and national planning, she will relinquish that or she has relinquished that to go and oversee the finance ministry, so that is her status for now.”
Asked to be specific on whether she would be supervising, oversighting the ministry, Adesina said “It is a matter of nomenclature, yes but she is overseeing the ministry.”
Pressed further, he said “What you call her is a matter of nomenclature but if she is overseeing the ministry, then she is. But note that she is no longer minister of state budget and national planning for now until anything contrary happens. But for now, she is in charge of the ministry of finance.”
On whether she could be referred to as a substantive Finance minister, Adesina said
“Well, you know that statement was written in English and that statement says she will oversee the ministry of finance, let’s leave it like that. I just told you she is no longer minister of state budget and national planning, she will be minister of finance, in fact that was how she was addressed at council. Don’t forget it is also a legal thing, if a minister is going to be appointed there are procedures that is why it is a deployment.”