Nigerian former minister of Education, Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili, has claimed that the former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar did not head the Economic Management team during his tenure as Vice President.
She made the claim on her Twitter handle on January 17 2023 after the former VP asserted that he was once the head of the Economic Management team during his time as the Vice President of Nigeria.
The full text of her tweet reads:
“Dear former Vice President Atiku, please ask the handlers of your Twitter account to stop misleading the public. You were never the head of the Economic Management Team
“This absurd Lie does no good at all. Please ask your team to stop it. Happy New Year. Wish you well.
Atiku had earlier made a tweet where he referred to himself as ‘head of the economic management team’ during his period as VP of Nigeria.
The full text of Atiku’s tweet reads:
“As head of the Economic Management Team, while I was Vice President, I was instrumental in designing a private sector revival strategy and advocated for the opening of the economy for private sector investment in several sectors. And we made tremendous progress”
Who is Ezekwesili?
Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili is a former Vice President for the World Bank’s Africa region, a co-founder and founding director of Transparency International, a co-founder of the #BringBackOurGirls movement, and has served twice as Federal Minister in Nigeria.
Ezekwesili is an economic policy expert, an advocate for transparency, accountability, good governance, and human capital development, a humanitarian, and an activist.
She is also the founder of #FixPolitics Initiative, a research-based citizen-led initiative, the School of Politics, Policy and Governance (SPPG), and Human Capital Africa.
Who Is Atiku Abubakar?
Atiku Abubakar politician and businessman who served as the Vice President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.
He ran as governor of Adamawa State in 1990, 1996, and later, in 1998, being elected before becoming Olusegun Obasanjo’s running mate during the 1999 presidential election and being re-elected in 2003.
In May 2022, he was chosen as the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate for the 2023 general election after he defeated Nyesom Wike who is the current Governor of Rivers State in the primaries, and other contestants which include: Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim; Bauchi State Governor, Bala MohaIbom; Udom Emmanuel, the Governor of Akwa Ibom; Dele Momodu; Ayo Fayose, former governor of Ekiti State; Charles Ugwu; Chikwendu Kalu; Tarella Diana and Sam Ohuabunwa.
In our first findings, we referred to the Nigerian 1999 Constitution to establish the facts regarding the creation of the Economic Management team and its leadership.
Findings revealed that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not have a provision for an Economic Management team.
Rather, The National Economic Council (NEC) was established by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended; Section 153(1) and Paragraphs 18 & 19 of Part I of the Third Schedule.
The NEC is chaired by the Vice President.
ROUNDCHECK also discovered that the Economic Management team was an initiative of President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003 to tackle the economic challenges of Nigeria.
We went further to check records regarding the leadership of the Economic Management team as appointed by Olusegun Obasanjo.
According to the Centre for Africa-Europe relations the former World Bank director, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was the head of the economic management team, other members include Chukwuma Soludo, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); Nuhu Ribadu, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) then; Nasir el-Rufai, minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) then; Oby Ezekwesili, Minister of Education, Bode Agusto, director-general of the Budget Office, and Ifueko Omoigui chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The National Economic Council (NEC) which is stipulated in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and chaired by the Vice President, is different from the Economic Management team.
Obasanjo, Yar’adua, Jonathan, and Buhari’s Economic Management Team.
In 2003, President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Economic Management Team was headed by Ngozi Okongo Iweala, while his successor, President Yar’adua, after his election in 2007 appointed his Vice, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as head of the Economic Team.
President Jonathan, following the footsteps of his predecessor, named Vice President Namadi Sambo to lead his Economic team.
In 2019, President Muhamadu Buhari replaced Vice President Yemi Osibanjo as head of the Economic Management Team with an Economic Advisory Council, which is headed by Professor Doyin Salami.
Although Vice President Yemi Osibanjo is listed as the head of the Economic Management Team on the state house website (as at the time of this report)- this contradicts the appointment of Professor Doyins Salami’s led Economic Advisory Council.
Meanwhile, it is worthy of note that some administrations use different terms for its economic team- Economic Management Team, Economic Advisory Team and National Economic Council.
However, ROUNDCHECK could not trace any record of Atiku Abubakar heading the Economic Management Team during his period as Vice President of Nigeria (1999–2007).
After checking available records, the claim made by former Nigerian Minister Ngozi Obiageli Ezekwesili stating that Atiku Abubaker did not head the Economic Management team is correct.
Hence, the claim counters that of former Nigerian vice president and 2023 presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, who claimed he headed the Economic Management team during his time as the Vice President.
We, therefore, conclude that Atiku Abubakar might have headed the Economic Council as the Constitutional duty of a VP, but not the Economic Management team.
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January 31, 2023 at 8:24 am
Thanks for the clarification, the masses are more aware now