ABUJA- THE Presidency on Wednesday stated that Zainab Ahmed who was appointed the supervising Minister of Finance last week has fully taken charge of the ministry as she has relinquished her former portfolio as the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning.
Ahmed was last week appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari as the supervising Minister of Finance following the resignation of Mrs Kemi Adeosun from the cabinet over the allegation of parading forged National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, exemption certificate.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, confirmed to State House correspondents after the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Buhari at the Council Chamber Presidential Villa Abuja that Zainab was no longer Minister of State following her redeployment to the Finance ministry.
Asked to clarify whether she was a substantive minister, Adesina affirmed that Mrs Ahmed will now be the Minister of Finance, saying that she was indeed addressed as such at the FEC meeting.
According to him, “You know 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.”
Pressed on whether Zainab was a supervising minister, overseeing minister or acting Minister of Finance, he said,“It is a matter of nomenclature. Yes, but she is overseeing the ministry.”
Asked how she should be addressed, the presidential spokesman further answered, “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.”
Citing the statement announcing Zainab’s redeployment, Adesina stated:
“Well, you know that statement 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 budget and National Planning, she will be Minister of Finance. In fact, that was how she was addressed at Council.
“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.”
Many cabinet members had before the commencement of FEC flocked around Mrs Ahmed instead of going straight to their seats to exchange pleasantries.
She had sat on the seat usually occupied by Adeosun which is placed between the seats of the Minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in the hall.
Ahmed, who was the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning before last Friday, normally walks in to the chamber alone and moved straight to her seat and only greeted few cabinet members on her way to her seat.
The exchange of pleasantries with Ahmed ended when President Buhari arrived the Council chamber few minutes past 11a.m to start the FEC meeting.
The Muslim opening prayer was said by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, while the Christian prayer was offered by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah