Former President Muhammadu Buhari nominated former Finanace Minister, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, to the position of Alternate Executive Director (AED) at the World Bank.
An official of the Federal Ministry of Finance, who also worked closely with Mrs. Ahmed, confirmed this to our correspondent on Sunday night in Abuja.
The source said the “former minister did not nominate herself but was validly nominated by the ministry and ex-President Buhari approved her nomination before he left”.
He explained that “this type of nominations is routine as a former Director General of Budget (DGB) was nominated as Executive Director at the twilight of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration and nobody made any noise about it.
The source stressed that the “DGB was nominated as Executive Director (ED) at the African Development Bank (AfDB) and he served out his term in AfDB without any hitches”.
The official said: “The current Executive Director, under whom she will work as Alternate Executive Director, was a former South African minister.”
The position of Executive Director, he said, “is meant for high-ranking functionaries who retired from ministries of finance/Treasury Department of World Bank member-countries (that is, former ministers of finance or permanent secretaries in the Ministry of Finance).
The official denied allegations that Mrs. Ahmed was planning to take her assistants along to the global financial institution.
The former minister, through her Media Adviser Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi, corroborated what the official said.
According to Abdullahi, the World Bank is a reputable organisation with its rules and processes.
The former media aide noted that anyone working at that level as an AED must be a representative of his or her country and would have got such approval and endorsement from his or her government.
He said: “The position became available in October 2022. Former President Muhammadu Buhari was notified and approval was obtained in April 2023, but with the understanding that Dr. Zainab Ahmed could not report until after the end of her tenure as minister.
“Therefore, the former minister couldn’t have nominated herself and approved such. I can, therefore, confirm to you that the former President approved her, being the AED at the World Bank representing Nigeria.”
A report had alleged that “Zainab Ahmed single-handedly nominated herself as the Federal Government’s candidate without the approval of the former President and new President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The report also alleged that “Zainab Ahmed will work under Ayanda Dlondlo, a South Africa who is the Executive Director (EDS25)”.
It added: “Executive Directors (or Alternates) fulfill a dual function as officials of the bank and as representatives of the member-country or countries that appointed them.
“The executive directors are responsible for conducting the day-to-day business of the World Bank while an Alternate Executive Director has the full power to act for the World Bank Director when he or she is not present.”