yesterday swore in Precious Kassy Garba as the nation’s first female chief economic adviser, with a charge to develop blue prints that will help in turning around the economic fortunes of the country.
Mrs. Garba, an economist, took over from Tanimu Yakubu Kurfi who served the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua in the same capacity. The new Chief Economic adviser would also be only the second female aide in this administration. The other is the special assistant to the president on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Amina Zubair.
Swearing in Mrs. Garba before the commencement of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the council chambers of the presidential villa, Mr. Jonathan urged her to see her appointment as a call to national service and not a service to him. He said she must work in collaboration with the finance minister to address the challenging responsibilities standing in the way of the economy.
“Now you have been called to come and serve the government and we believe that you will bring your knowledge to help in strengthening the economic team,” the president told her.
“Chief economic adviser to the president is a very strategic office, because you will work hand in hand with the minister of finance and you will be involved in a number of policies and programmes of government that has to do with her economic development and growth as a nation.
“That is quite a challenging job and we believe that you are very competent to handle this various responsibilities. You should know that your responsibilities are quite strategic and useful.
“So we believe that you will bring your knowledge and wisdom to bear and serve your nation not Mr. President to make sure that we get out of the woods and our economy turns.
“As you know, everything is centred on the economy as all other sectors depend on it for survival. You know we have a dream, a vision and an aspiration that by the year 2020 Nigeria should play big amongst the committee of nations and you have been brought in to play a role in that part. You will blend the academic and theoretical knowledge with the practical realities on ground and I believe you will succeed.”
The president told Mrs. Garba that by virtue of her position, she automatically becomes a cabinet member and is therefore eligible to attend all FEC meetings alongside the adviser on petroleum. Until her appointment, Mrs. Garba was the dean of faculty of social science at the University of Ibadan.