Why I head-hunted Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and appointed her as Minister of Finance - Obasanjo reveals - Welcome to Uju Ayalogu's Blog

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Monday, 14 August 2017

Why I head-hunted Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and appointed her as Minister of Finance - Obasanjo reveals

Why I head-hunted Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and appointed her as Minister of Finance - Obasanjo reveals

Why I appointed Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Finance Minister - Olusegun Obasanjo

- Olusegun Obasanjo disclosed that he head-hunted Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from the World Bank, appointing her as Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, in order to help secure debt relief for the country

- The former President’s plan with the appointment was that Iweala would follow up on the quest for debt relief for Nigeria, on a lower level

- Obasanjo disclosed that Nigeria was eventually able to negotiate debt relief from other creditors with the help of the Paris Club debt relief, which he described as a ‘breakthrough’

Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, has disclosed why he head-hunted Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and made her Minister of Finance during his administration, Premium Times reports.

The former President made his comments in his new book, “Making Africa Work”, which was also co-authored by Greg Mills, Director of Brenthurst Foundation; Jeffrey Herbst, President of Newseum and Dickie Davis, a retired major general.

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We gather that Obasanjo’s appointment of Iweala was linked to his quest for debt relief for the country.

He stated: “In my first term, from 1999 to 2003, I visited many countries and world leaders, some more than once, to campaign for debt relief.

“There I got apparently sympathetic hearings, but not much action from political leaders.

“After my first term, I realized that my talks at the highest political levels needed follow-up at the levels below.

“So, I head-hunted Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from the World Bank, appointing her as Nigeria’s Minister of Finance.

“My plan was that she would manage the follow-up at a lower level.

"Even then, the fact that Nigeria was the sixth largest oil-producing country in the world was regularly used as the reason to deny debt relief.

“I would then explain that Nigeria’s population of almost 150 million at the time and its stage of development should justify such relief.”

Obasanjo disclosed that Nigeria was eventually able to negotiate debt relief from other creditors with the help of the Paris Club debt relief, which he described as a ‘breakthrough’.

In his words: “In the end, Nigeria obtained debt relief of about $18 billion and paid up about $12 billion to rid itself of this burden.

“It was a great breakthrough and the consequent savings were channeled to the Millennium Development Goals, one of the promises made to the creditors.

“With debt relief having been agreed by the Paris Club, Nigeria was in a strong position to negotiate debt relief from other creditors too.”

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Meanwhile, We previously reported former president Olusegun Obasanjo, revealed that the former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, changed under the regime of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, who served under President Obasanjo as Minister of Finance was accused of encouraging corruption under the regime of Mr. Jonathan.

She was also accused of approving funds not budgeted for; and rather than strengthen the Nigerian economy, she worked against the growth of the economy.

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