Oby Ezekwesili, former minister of education has explained that Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) didn’t head the Economic Management Team (EMT) during his time as vice president.
Atiku, who was vice president during the tenure of Olusegun Obasanjo, between 1999 and 2007, had claimed during a presentation on Monday in Lagos, that he headed the Economic Management Team as vice president.
The claim was refuted by Ezekwesili who advised the former vice president to stop misleading the public.
Ezekwesili’s rebuke, however, attracted angry responses from supporters of Atiku who insisted that he was head of the economic team as vice president.
But providing further insights in a tweet on Tuesday, Ezekwesili noted that Atiku headed the National Economic Council (NEC) as vice president, but not the EMT which according to her, was headed by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former minister of finance.
Ezekwesili said, “There is a difference between the Economic Management Team set up for the 1st time ever in 2003 by President Obasanjo and the National Economic Council established by the 1999 Constitution as amended; Section 153(1) and Paragraphs 18 & 19 of Part I of the Third Schedule.
“The Presidential Economic Management Team (we called it “The Economic Team” for brevity) was a Technical Team of 12 persons from a range of expertise whom President Obasanjo constituted to drive Nigeria’s Economic Reform Agenda during his 2nd Term in office 2003-2007.
“In constituting the Economic Team, we designed it @ two levels of Leadership:
1. Political Leadership: The President Olusegun Obasanjo
2. Technical Leadership: The Minister of Finance, Dr Okonjo-Iweala.
Our Team also had Thematic Issues Lead, e.g. I was for Good Governance.
“At the Political Leadership level of the Economic Team, the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo instituted a Weekly Meeting before the Federal Executive Council where he would meet with us his Economic Team to discuss the Economic Reform Agenda. The President was Chair.
“As Chair of the Political Leadership Level of the Economic Team, the then President decided (usually with the counsel of his Economic Team) which sectoral Ministers, or Heads of Agencies, Parastatals and Departments joined this Weekly Wednesday meeting held before FEC meeting.
“As Chair of the Technical Level Leadership, the then Minister of Finance was the Head of our Technocratic Team of 12 persons which met in her office at the Ministry statutorily weekly and as often as necessary daily as we designed and began implementing the Economic Reforms.
“There is no sincere basis for confusing the work of the Presidential Economic Management Team that I described in the previous tweets with the National Economic Council, provided for in the Constitution and chaired by a Vice President. The functions are not the same at all. None.
“National Economic Council consists of:
(a) Vice-President as the Chairman;
(b) the Governor of each State of the Federation; and
(c) the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria established under the Central Bank of Nigeria Decree 1991 or any enactment replacing that Decree.
“Constitutionally, National Economic Council advises the President concerning the economic affairs of the Federation, and in particular on measures necessary for the co¬ordination of the economic planning efforts or economic programmes of the various Governments of the Federation.
“The National Economic Council which former Vice President Atiku constitutionally chaired and now by Professor Osinbajo is really an advisory organ that provides opportunity for the Federal Government and States of the Federation to discuss our Economy for coordination purpose.
“The 1999 Constitution also has the Vice President as the Chairperson of the National Council on Privatization. In that capacity, it is the duty of the Vice President to supervise the work of the Bureau for Public Enterprise BPE on behalf of the President.”