Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, yesterday, congratulated Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala over her recent appointment to two key international positions, stating that her performance as Finance Minister during his tenure as president was a major determinant in her clinching the new appointments.
Jonathan, in a statement in Abuja, also congratulated Mrs. Omobola Johnson, the immediate past Minister of Communication Technology who was recently appointed the Honorary Chairperson of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), a United States based global coalition, committed to driving down the cost of internet access in less developed countries.
According to Jonathan, the appointment underscores his belief that women have key roles to play in national and global development.
The statement noted that Okonjo-Iweala’s emergence as the chair of the Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, GAVI, as well as, appointment as senior advisor to Lazard, the 167-year-old global investment firm, makes her the third woman from Jonathan’s Government to be honoured with key international jobs and the fourth so far.
The others, according to the statement are Mrs. Johnson, Ms Arunma Oteh, former Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) who became the Treasurer and Vice President of the World Bank as well as Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, who was elected President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
In his congratulatory letter to Okonjo-Iweala, Jonathan described her appointment as a great honour to the nation, especially coming soon after she served Nigeria as Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance in his administration.”
He further described her as an achiever whose leadership as the head of his economic management team, brought about the successful implementation of far-reaching reforms in many sectors including power, telecoms, agriculture, financial services and infrastructural development.
On his preference and quota for women participation in Government during his time, Jonathan said: “It further underscores my belief that women of high integrity and proven abilities should be given the opportunity to directly contribute to national and international development. This is consistent with the global thinking that women who excel in their various professions should be encouraged to participate in governance.”
Giving more details of Okonjo-Iweala’s achievements, the former President wrote: “Through your vision, the nation was able to implement some rewarding reforms in public financial management including the launch of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) to boost dwindling revenue, as well as the introduction of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), which eliminated thousands of ghost workers from the public service system.
“I believe that this record of high performance in my Government weighed heavily in your favour and helped put you on top of the list, during the man-hunt and competitive international search process to fill these positions.”
“I am encouraged by the fact that your responsibilities in the new positions fall within your familiar career purview of strengthening institutions, building systems and advising countries on structuring their finances and dealing with debt issues.
“I have no doubt in my mind that you would excel in the two assignments, given your past record of excellent service both in Nigeria and internationally.”