By Chesa Chesa
Following her deployment from Ministry of Budget and National Planning as Minister of State, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has been confirmed as substantive and full Minister of Finance by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Special Adviser (Media &Publicity) to the President, Femi Adesina, confirmed to State House correspondents on Wednesday after the FEC meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, that Ahmed had relinquished her position as Minister of State and is now upgraded to a full Minister.
The President had last Friday directed her to oversee the Finance Ministry following the resignation of Mrs. Kemi Adeosun from that position as a result of her involvement in the forgery of her National Youth Service Corps exemption certificate.
Asked if she could be referred to as Supervising Minister or Overseeing Minister or Acting Minister, Adesina said it was just a matter of nomenclature as the important thing to note is that she is fully in charge of the Finance Ministry.
According to Adesina: “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.
“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.”
When pressed further for categorical clarification, Adesina recalled the statement which announced Ahmed’s appointment, insisting that it 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 for Budget and National Planning. She will be Minister of Finance. In fact, that was how she was addressed at Council (FEC). 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.”
Before the FEC meeting started, Ahmed’s cabinet colleagues had taken special interest in her when she arrived the Council Chamber of the Aso Rock Villa for the weekly cabinet meeting.
Ministers flog round Ahmed at FEC
They had milled around her, took turns to congratulate her and the Minister of Defence Mansur Dan-Ali; Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri; and the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, eventually led her to take the seat reserved for the Minister of Finance. It was her first FEC meeting since getting her new portfolio.