…Reply Emir we’re not scheduled for meeting •As PDP blames Buhari for Ministers’ absence
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Washington DC; Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, have exonerated themselves from blame for being absent at the US-Nigeria Investment Summit 2018.
Adeosun said as the representative of 23 African countries, which include Nigeria, her role includes attending statutory meetings as well as issuing statements on behalf of the African countries.
She explained that as a governor of the IMF and member of International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), she is to adhere to schedules, hence she was not scheduled to be at the investment summit.
Adeosun said, “I am a member of the highest decision making body of the IMF and I represent 23 African countries in that role. So one of the things I have to do is to issue statements on behalf of those 23 countries, which include most of the Anglophone countries South Africa, Mozambique. So my primary role here as well as having to be the head of Nigerian delegation is to represent the 23 African countries.
“There has been some controversy over the scheduling I wasn’t due at any event. I was here as a governor of the IMF and member of IMFC to represent the 23 African countries and that schedule is what I must adhere to. I think maybe there was some scheduling challenges there.”
For his part, Emefiele said as governor of the CBN, what takes preeminence is the meetings in the IMF as well as the meeting at the World Bank.
He said, “I think it is important for me to say this. When I arrived in Washington, the officials of the Embassy spoke with me that here was going to be a US-Nigeria summit and I said I will check my schedule because I wasn’t consulted when this summit was being organised. What one would have expected was that they would have checked my schedule and that of the Finance Minister if they thought that our presence at the summit was very necessary. They could have checked our schedule to see that there was no conflict.
“I sit here to say the US-Nigeria summit was meant to hold between 2pm and 3pm whereas the the World Bank Development Committee plenary session, which is an assembly of ministers and governors of central banks, was to hold between 2.15 and 5pm. There was no how the Minister of Finance and myself could have been at those meetings. But I think it is important to say it is unfair for people to begin to cast aspersions without understanding our schedules.
“The main reason we are here is because of the statutory meetings of the IMF and World Bank. I felt I should explain this. We are not irresponsible people and please we apologise to those investors who had gathered at the Nigerian Embassy for the summit. My apologies, but I know we also held some side meetings with some investors and there will always be lots of opportunities to meet with them. But I want to say this is not the fault of the Minister of Finance and myself, the CBN governor.”
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday blamed President Muhammadu Buhari for the absence of some serving ministers at a meeting with investors in the United States of America (USA).
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party accused the ministers of going on a shopping spree in America, at a time Nigerians were expecting them to negotiate investments for the country.
Consequently, the opposition party called on the National Assembly to immediately summon Audu Ogbeh, Ogbonnaya Onu, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Babatunde Fashola, Ministers of Agriculture, Science and Technology, Information and Culture and Power, Works and Housing respectively, over the embarrassing issue.
Also, the PDP said the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu; Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi, should also be summoned for failing to attend the parley with the America investors.
The party noted that, “this embarrassing development is a clear reflection of the recklessness and laissez-faire attitude of the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration towards governance, resulting in the biting economic recession and other woes plaguing our nation under President Buhari’s watch.
“It is now clear to Nigerians why the APC and its incompetent Federal Government have not been able to attract any meaningful Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the country in the last three years of President Buhari’s administration. Instead, the ones it inherited are pulling out.
“How can APC government officials sent to attend investors’ meetings abandon their duties and engage in personal leisure abroad? Painfully, they blame everybody but themselves for the choking economic situation of the country in the last three years.
“PDP holds that these government officials had the temerity to pursue personal interests across the United States because they knew that even if their atrocious acts were brought to the attention of Mr. President, he will claim that he is not aware.”