EVEREST AMAEFULE, OLUFEMI ATOYEBI, OLUSOLA FABIYI, ADELANI ADEPEGBA, ADE ADESOMOJU,
IFEANYI ONUBA and TOBI AWORINDE
The immediate past Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has left Nigeria to London, United Kingdom.
Multiple sources at the airport confirmed her departure to our correspondent on Saturday night.
Adeosun, who resigned her appointment as finance minister after being indicted by the National Youth Service Corps that she forged her exemption certificate, was said to have travelled with a British Airways flight to London.
The British Airways aircraft that she took to London according to sources at the airport left the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at exactly 8:05am on Saturday.
One of sources who pleaded not to be named as he was not officially permitted to speak on the matter said that the minister was sighted at the airport before she boarded the flight.
The source said, “The (ex) finance minister was at the airport this morning and she has travelled out of the country to UK.
“She left with a British Airways flight which departed the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at exactly 8:05am.”
Attempts to get comments from the ex-finance minister’s Media Adviser, Oluyinka Akintunde, were not successful as repeated calls made to his mobile were not replied.
When contacted, the spokesperson for the British Airways, Yinka Kola, said, ‘Unfortunately, due to data protection laws, I am unable to provide that information as whatever all our passengers do are entirely private to them.”
But the Peoples Democratic Party earlier on Saturday alleged that the Federal Government was plotting to help the former minister of finance to escape from the country
The party insisted that she must be arrested and prosecuted for deserting national service and forging her NYSC Exemption Certificate in addition to alleged impropriety and abuse of office as minister.
The PDP asked Nigerians to note that President Muhammadu Buhari, whose administration it said had become notorious for shielding its many fraudulent and corrupt officials, could not summon the rectitude to sack Adeosun.
The party added that she would have still been in office, if not for the sustained uproar by Nigerians and international creditors.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said in a statement in Abuja that the Federal Government, which earlier made efforts to defend Adeosun, had already perfected a plot to help her to evade prosecution.
He said that the Federal Government was afraid that her prosecution could make her to open up on the alleged humongous corruption going on in the financial sector under the Buhari administration.
The party said, “Furthermore, we are also aware that President Buhari was not by any measure prepared to drop her from his cabinet but for the demand by those responsible for her appointment, who protested her continued stay in office, although for their own selfish gains. A case of corruption fighting back!
“The PDP therefore demands an immediate open inquest into the records of the Finance Ministry under Adeosun, to unravel all improprieties by the Buhari Presidency cabal, including alleged diversion of oil proceeds, fraudulent oil subsidy deals, leading to high fuel price; depletion of our foreign reserves, embezzling of funds retuned by Switzerland and other huge sleazes in the ministry.
“The party also insists that President Buhari must be held responsible for all infractions in the finance ministry under Adeosun, as he appointed and retained her despite having information on the certificate forgery; a situation that confirms the decadence and lack of due diligence in the Buhari Presidency.”
Economists, lawyers differ on resignation’s effect on economy
Economists and eminent lawyers on Saturday differed on the possible effect the resignation of Adeosun, will have on the nation’s economy.
Economists and lawyers, in separate interviews with SUNDAY PUNCH, expressed divergent views on her resignation.
The Managing Director of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Bismarck Rewane, described Adeosun’s resignation as “a big loss to Nigeria.”
The financial research and investment expert said the Nigerian economy is about institutions, policies and, to a limited extent, people.
Rewane said, “I think it is a big loss because she was dynamic, active and a straight arrow. It is just an unfortunate series of events that have overtaken the clear objectives of Nigeria.
“I am not going to moralise about what happened. All I am going to say is that she was a major positive element in the Nigerian macroeconomic infrastructure.
“I have no doubt about her commitment to the Nigerian economic project. But even if she was to remain until when the term of the administration came to an end, we would have to make changes. There should be more concern about how to sustain the work Adeosun has done.”
On his part, a professor of Economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Sheriffdeen Tella, stated that the repercussions of Adeosun’s resignation for the economy was not so much since she was not working alone.
Tella said, “The minister of state for budget and national planning has been asked to step in and it’s still the same government, so I don’t think there will be much of a change in policy. It is not the head of government that has left.
“Everything else will now depend on the personality of the person that is taking over; whether the person is as forceful as she was and if the person is as articulate as she is. I have listened to the (acting) minister and I think she is capable.
He explained that what would drive the ministry would be the character of the person managing it, adding that the ministry would only experience a change in personality.
Also, an associate professor of Economics at the Ekiti State University, Abel Awe, also commenting on the resignation, explained that in the management of the economy, the Central Bank is in charge of monetary policy, while the minister of finance is in charge of fiscal policy.
Awe said, “The two of them have to work in conjunction because we need a policy mix. So, since the woman has resigned now, the first instance is to see that the issue of anti-corruption is working. That one has implications for the economy.
The professor noted that the synergy between Adeosun’s successor and the Governor of the Central Bank was crucial to promoting the image of the country in terms of accountability, probity and integrity.
The Head of Abuja Office of the Centre for Social Action, Mrs Vivian Bellonwu-Okafor, said the ex-minister was not a competent manager of the economy, noting that her departure would not have a negative impact.
She said, “The former minister’s resignation was long overdue. Going from one incompetent act to another, her management of the economy had been nothing but a nightmare, the certificate forgery was just a climax of a phase that had been marked by economic strangulation arising from poor policy formulations.
“There’s no much foreseen negative impact her resignation would have on the economy of the country.
SANs commend minister’s resignation
Two Senior Advocates of Nigeria commended Adeosun for resigning in the face of the NYSC certificate forgery that trailed her for months.
Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), and Ahmed Raji (SAN), said her resignation late on Friday smacked of maturity, dignity and civility.
Awomolo however added that the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), who defended Adeosun when the scandal broke out and argued that she needed not to quit office, had a lot to learn from Adeosun.
“Professor Itse Sagay, SAN, has much to learn from this lady of honour, who has her shown her potentiality to occupy the office of the President of the Federal Republic Nigeria, God willing,” Awomolo said.
On his part, Raji, apart from commending Adeosun, also hailed the Buhari administration for its “moral fibre” to investigate the allegation.
He described the case as a mistake of the head and not that of the heart.
Minister’s resignation has no economic impact — Group
A civil society coalition, #OurMumuDonDo, said Adeosun’s resignation would have no impact on the economy, stating that the masses did not benefit from the economy while she was in office.
The spokesman for the movement, Ralph Adebayo, stated that her resignation had only exposed President Muhammadu Buhari’s parochial mindset with his latest appointments.
The group called for Adeosun’s prosecution according to law.
It said, “Does the economy has any impact on the common people because as it is, it is not favourable to the common people. It makes no difference that the person steering the economic ship had resigned.
YCE commends Adeosun’s action
The Secretary General of the Yoruba Council of Elders, Dr Kunle Olajide, on Saturday said the council commended Adeosun for resigning.
Olajide said that there were government officials who had been accused of one fraudulent practice or the other but still in government in various capacities.
According to him, YCE also commends her for leaving behind a glorious achievement as a minister, having steered Nigeria out of recession when she was given no chance. He said Adeosun was a victim of mischievous individuals involved in the process that produced the forged certificate.
He said, “YCE received the news of Adeosun’s exit from the cabinet with sadness and joy. It was with sadness because she was exiting office in an inglorious circumstance. Her pedigree and antecedent as mentioned in her resignation letter however speak volume of her confidence, character and capability.
“We are proud of her achievements in office because she assumed duty at a difficult time in the history of the country. She steered Nigeria out of recession when many did not give her a chance to do so. YCE commends her courage to resign honourably when she discovered that her NYSC certificate was not genuine.”
Olajide urged the former minister not to be deterred by the setback, saying that her services would still be required by the country.
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