Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala My first term as Finance Minister was highly rewarding - Ex-Minister

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala made the revelation in her new book which was released recently.

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala alleges that govt officials divert funds to sponsor elections play Former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Guardian)
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A former minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has revealed that her first term as minister was highly rewarding.

According to her, it was rewarding for her because she had  “the opportunity to give back to my country, working with a strong team, and recording many achievements for the economy.”

The former minister made the revelation in her new book which was released recently, titled:  ‘Fighting Corruption Is Dangerous’: The Story Behind The Headlines.

Okonjo-Iweala also revealed that late president Umar Musa Yar’Adua asked her to serve as finance minister in his government.

She said “the request to return home to Nigeria from Washington threw my mind-and, in fact my life-into turmoil. I was truly enjoying my job in the international development arena. Although my first term as Finance Minister had been highly rewarding in terms of the opportunity to give back to my country, working with a strong team, and recording many achievements for the economy.”

Why she resigned

Shedding more light on why she resigned from office, the former minister had this to say: “It also had been politically and personally difficult, especially toward the end. I resigned when I felt no longer able to serve under adverse conditions, and the resignation was seen as a bold and controversial move on my part. No Nigerian minister resigns; they are only fired. Stepping down from my post had earned me the ire of those at the top

“Would it be Wise to return, given the tough politics? What exactly were the current circumstances in the Ministry of Finance, and would they be conducive to achieving further advances for the economy? I would need to do some homework and a great deal of reflection. If I said no, as I was inclined to do, I would have to back it up with strong arguments as it can be quite difficult refusing your President a request!”

“I remembered just how tough it had been to say no to President Yar’Adua, who had done me the honor of asking me twice to return as Finance Minister. But that had been in 2008 and I had very strong reasons to say no, among them the fact that I had just returned to the World Bank a few months earlier in a very senior position and it would be unprofessional to leave after such a short time.

“I was relieved when he kindly accepted my regrets the second time and asked me to suggest someone else. He took up my suggestion and appointed as Finance Minister Dr. Mansur Muhtar, an economist, a colleague, and former Director General of Nigeria’s Debt Management Office.

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“Although that tricky situation had been resolved relatively well, I had no idea what would happen if I said no again,” she added.

Okonjo-Iweala and $250m missing from Abacha loot

In April 2018, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to explain the withdrawal of about $250 million from the $500 million loot recovered from the family of late Head of State, Sani Abacha.

The invitation was based on a recommendation by detectives investigating the whereabouts of the $500 million loot.

According to reports, Okonjo-Iweala signed a memo to former President Goodluck Jonathan, asking that $300m from the Abacha loot be disbursed to former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

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