Gentleman loses job for writing article on Okonjo Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala And The Controversial Appointments – Yushau A. ShuaibA certain gentleman, Yushau A. Shuaib, has reportedly lost his job for writing the article (below). 
The article (Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala And The Controversial
Appointments – Yushau A. Shuaib) was published on several online portals.  Ngozi Iweala actually called the young man to rebuke him for writing the article.    
Yushau on his blog said “I received a telephone call from the
Minister on Wednesday March 20, 2013 at 6.15pm. Naturally, I was happy
that, once again, my effort has yielded fruit. Receiving a call from
someone that a reputable international news organization described as
one of the most influential women on earth is humbling. I felt jubilant
when I heard “Shuaibu, this is Okonjo-Iweala!” However, when she added
“Why should you do this to me? You can’t praise me and condemn me and
call it constructive criticism. Haba Shuaibu!” 
What happened to freedom of expression?! Please read for yourself and tell me what
evil he committed.
Read article below:Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala And The Controversial
Appointments – Yushau A. Shuaib  
I still wonder how the Coordinating
Minister for the Economy and the Honourable Minister of Finance, Dr.
Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is in the eye of the storm. Her grandiose title is
not a mere tautology as some people will assume. Being the first holder
of that title in Nigeria’s history, her position could be seen as
equivalent to Prime Minister, which gave her the mandate to oversee and
superintend over every other ministry, department and agency of
government including their budgetary allocations and revenue
expenditures. She is invariably the next most powerful cabinet member
after President Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo. 
In the last ten years, this writer is
one of her ardent admirers who is impressed by her academic
accomplishments and enviable working experiences on the international
scene including her contributions to Nigeria’s economic development
after her appointment as the first female  Finance Minister and later
first female Foreign Affairs Minister by President Olusegun Obasanjo in
2003 and 2006. Though she left the administration unceremoniously over
personal issues, her tenure then was a success story.
One of the major reasons some of us
believe strongly in ability of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala was the way and
manner she carried major players both from the North and the South along
while she were Minister of Finance between 2003 and 2006. She was never
accused of discrimination or bias against any of the diverse groups of
the ethnically charged and religiously polarized nation.  The same will
be said of her then principal, Olusegun Obasanjo who, despite some of
his shortcomings will never be accused of tribalism. He is a
detribalized leader and a nationalist to the core who believe strongly
in the Nigeria project.
The choice of her nominees into top
public appointments and even the composition of her associates cut
across every segment of Nigeria including those in her Economic Team
like Nasir Elrufai, Nuhu Ribadu, Bode Agusto, Dr. Mansur Mukhtar and
Chukwuma Soludo among others.
Her achievements too were glaring. We
recall that in 2005 she led Nigeria to striking a deal with the Paris
Club, a group of bilateral creditors, to pay a portion of Nigeria’s
external debt amounting US $12 billion in return for an $18 billion debt
She ensured transparency in monthly
federation account allocation by the introduction of monthly publication
of the disbursements in selected media. She was instrumental to helping
Nigeria obtain its first ever sovereign credit rating (of BB minus)
from an international ratings agency. Even when she left the government
in 2006, her nongovernmental organisation, NOI Global Consulting,
partnered with the Gallup Organization to introduce what may be
described as the first credible opinion poll, the NOI poll, into the
Nigerian polity.
With these at the background, it was not
surprising that when she were reappointed by President Jonathan as
Finance Minister and when she were shortlisted for the post of President
of the World Bank in 2012, she received overwhelming support from all
Nigerians. An online publication even claimed that some Northern Mallams
were praying for her success in the mosques. Everyone at that period
believed that she were a detribalized Nigerian with real-world
experience of policy-making.
The reason for writing this write-up is
to alert her to some disturbing trends as regards some recent
appointments into top public offices in Nigeria in view of their
economic and political implications. As the most powerful minister and
an Igbo Princess from the Niger Delta by virtue of being a daughter of
Obi of Ogwashi-Uku community in Delta State, I believe she should
continue to live above board.
Recently the Yoruba Unity Forum (YUF)
made some disturbing allegations of ethnic cleansing of Yoruba in
federal appointments by the administration of President Goodluck
Jonathan. Wife of the sage, Chief HID Awolowo and the retired Bishop of
Akure, Rt. Rev. Bolanle Gbonigi in Ikenne Ogun State after the meeting
of the forum accused the administration of systematically excluding the
Yoruba nation from the federation in terms of appointments without
justification. They called on the government to redress the “systematic
discrimination” against the Yoruba nationality in federal appointive
positions without delay, saying that the Yoruba have been getting
“crumbs” from the administration.
No sooner than the Yoruba allegation was
made that the Northern Senators Forum (NSF) also publicly lamented
gaping marginalization against the North over appointments and
promotions in the military. According to these distinguished Nigerians,
there are lopsidedness in employment and postings in the Nigerian Army
in favour of the Igbos, which is clearly in the breach of the principle
of Federal Character.
She should be aware that many Nigerians
are referring to a book, ‘Chinua Achebe Teacher of Light’ which she
co-authored where she expressed bitterness about how her tribe was dealt
with before, during and after the civil war and insinuating that now
that she is in authority, she is determined to correct all that she
perceived as injustice against her people. Some even insist that what
she is doing now is promoting regional and ethnic agenda to the
detriment of other groupings in Nigeria by manipulating appointments.
To drive the point home, her name has
been lately mentioned as collaborating with another Igbo top ranking
appointee in government to ensure the reinstallation of Ms Arunma Oteh
as Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) despite
the glaring allegations against her and consistent calls by the National
Assembly for her removal. Okonjo-Iweala stood her ground, damning all
and today, Oteh remains in the position.
While the debate on Oteh’s saga was yet
to subside, a coalition of youths, led by human rights activist and
President of Civil Rights Congress, Shehu Sani, queried the rationale
behind the appointment of a new Chairman for the Federal Inland Revenue
Service (FIRS) when a northerner, Kabir Mashi was already in the
position and improving the revenue base of the agency, especially VAT
collection for the Federation Account. Under Mashi FIRS has continued to
record steady increases in the collection of taxes that it closed the
2012 financial year with a total collection of N5 trillion where N1.8
trillion (36.07 per cent) came from non-oil taxes.
The group claimed that the committee
that Okonjo-Iweala set up was a smokescreen just to give a semblance of
due process and fairness whereas it was populated mainly by her Igbo
kinsmen. They added that “We don’t believe there is transparency in the
process, and we caution the President against the excessive ceding of
his own power to the finance minister.”
They publicly criticized her of playing
an ethnic game with many of the appointments made in the country since
she returned to the saddle. Some of the other positions, they alleged,
which were created and filled during this period include those of Asset
Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Sovereign Wealth Fund,
Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) and even the recent appointment
of a 40 year old lady as Director General of National Pension Commission
People are wondering at the coincidence
of only Igbos beating every other person at competitive interviews
conducted by her nominated international consulting groups. The only
semblance of federal character principle in some of those institutions
is the appointment of ceremonious but temporary chairmen who are merely
figure-heads, with mandates for mere advisory roles.
The use of catchy phrases such as “best
brains,” “foreign trained,” and “foreign-based” to deprived qualified,
competent and experienced Nigerians to aspire to top positions is quite
inimical to the progress of our nation. The erroneous impression that
some competitive and sensitive positions can only be filled by unique
intelligent tribes must be corrected.
Experiences have shown that in practical
situations, some so-called foreign trained and bookish first class
graduates could not do better than other Nigerians who have the
competence and experience to prove their worth in most difficulty
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala should also note that
blatant disregard to the sensitivities and sensibilities of others while
arrogantly promoting only people from her tribe may expose them to
hatred with potentially explosive consequences such as those experienced
in the 1960s when most federal positions were occupied by a particular
tribal group.
For those of us who still respect the
Hon Minister of Finance and Economic Development, we strongly believe
she should dissociate herself from current allegations of
‘biafranization’ of top public offices in Nigeria. We are in democratic
government where policy issues should not be done in dictatorial manner
of ‘we-are-now-in-power’.
I therefore urge her to ensure that
appointments into important positions should be done in credible and
transparent manners that can withstand public scrutiny. I believe
strongly that only those that mean well will dare to tell the truth on
the general feeling in the country.
 Read more HERE
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