Oby Ezekwesili

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Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili
Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili, 2009 World Economic Forum on Africa.jpg
Federal Minister of Solid Minerals, Nigeria
In office
June 2005 – June 2006
Preceded byOdion Ugbesia
Federal Minister of Education, Nigeria
In office
June 2006 – April 2007
Preceded byChinwe Obaji
Succeeded byAbba Sayyadi Ruma
Personal details
Born (1963-04-28) 28 April 1963 (age 57)
Anambra State, Nigeria
EducationJohn F. Kennedy School of Government
University of Lagos
ProfessionChartered accountant, economic policy

Obiageli Ezekwesili (born 28 April 1963), also popularly known as Oby Ezekwesili, is a Nigerian chartered accountant from Anambra state.[citation needed] She was born to father Benjamin Ujubuonu who died in 1988 and mother Cecilia Nwayiaka Ujubuonu who died on 21 st June, 2020[1]. She is married to Pastor Chinedu Ezekwesili of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG)[2]. She was a co-founder of Transparency International, serving as one of the pioneer directors of the global anti-corruption body based in Berlin, Germany.[3] She served as Federal Minister of Solid Minerals and later as Federal Minister of Education during the second-term presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo. [4]Subsequently, she served as the Vice-President of the World Bank's Africa division from May 2007 to May 2012, later replaced by Makhtar Diop.[5][6] Ezekwesili was a 2018 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize[7] for her work in transparency in the extractive sector.


Ezekwesili holds a Master degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, as well as a Master of Public Administration degree from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She trained with the firm of Deloitte and Touche and qualified as a chartered accountant.[8][2]

Prior to working for the Government of Nigeria, Ezekwesiili was working with Professor Jeffrey Sachs at the Center for International Development at Harvard.[9]

Obasanjo Government[edit]

Ezekwesili started off in the Olusegun Obasanjo administration as the pioneer head of the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit (aka Due Process Unit). It was in this position that she earned the sobriquet of "Madam Due Process" for her outstanding work of leading a team of professionals to sanitize the public procurement and contracting processes at the Federal level in Nigeria. She was the architect of the Bureau for Public Procurement legislation, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) legislation, and the new Minerals and Mining legislation during her six and a half years stint in government.[10]

In June 2005, she was appointed Minister of Solid Minerals (Mines and Steel) during which time she led a vibrant reform program that led to Nigeria's global recognition as a credible mining investment destination. She was also the Chairperson of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), and led the first ever national implementation of the global standards and principles of transparency in the oil, gas and mining sector.[11]

In June 2006, Ezekwesili was appointed the Federal Minister of Education, a post she held until she took up a World Bank appointment in May 2007.[8]

Later Career[edit]

In March 2007, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, announced the appointment of Ezekwesili as Vice-President for the Africa Region starting on 1 May 2007.[8]

In 2012, she successfully completed her stint as the World Bank Vice-President (Africa Division).[12] As Vice President, she was in charge of the bank's operations of 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and supervised a lending portfolio of over $40 billion.[13]

Ezekwesili was a co-founder of Transparency International and served as one of its pioneer directors. As a Senior Economic Advisor for Open Society, a group founded by billionaire George Soros, she advises nine reform-committed African heads of state including Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia.[14]

On 1 October 2012, one of the world's leading telecommunications firms, Bharti Airtel, with operations in 20 countries, named Ezekwesili as a director on its board. She is also on the boards of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the School of Public Policy of Central European University, the Harold Hartog School of Government and Policy, New African magazine, and the Center for Global Leadership @ Tufts University.[15] She was appointed to the Board of Trustees of International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation (IBFD), effective from 1st April 2020. As a member of the Board of Trustees of IBFD, Dr. Ezekwesili will contribute to overseeing the expansion of IBFD in developing economies.[16]

In May 2012, Ezekwesili was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science (DSC) degree by the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta in Nigeria.[17] She was selected as one of the BBC's 100 Women in 2013 and 2014.[18][19]

Advocacy and #BringBackOurGirls Campaign[edit]

In March 2014, she delivered a keynote speech at the national summit of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the leading opposition party in Nigeria. She criticized the many cross-carpeting governors and urged the party to have "a conversation deeper than how you're going to chase (the ruling) PDP out of power".[20]

In the aftermath of the nearly 300 mainly Christian girls were abducted from Chibok by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram,[21][22][23] Oby used the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) advocacy group to draw global attention to the plight of all persons who have been abducted by terrorists from Nigeria's war ravaged northeast region.[12] Ezekwesili was instrumental to the start of the viral #BringBackOurGirls campaign on social media, which trended internationally. She had on 23 April, at the opening ceremony for a UNESCO event honoring the city of Port Harcourt as the 2014 World Book Capital city, urged Nigerians to not just tweet but actively participate in efforts to "bring back our girls".[24][25]

As she prepared to board a British Airways flight to London to appear on the BBC programme Hard Talk in July 2014, she was detained by Nigeria's secret service, the SSS, who also seized her passport.[26][27] She was later released the same morning.

In March 2019, Ezekwesili won the Forbes Woman Africa Social Influencer Award for her efforts on the #BringBackOurGirls campaign on social media.[28]

2019 Presidential Election[edit]

Ezekwesili contested for the office of the president of Nigeria on the platform of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria.[29] The former minister had hinted at contesting for the office of the president.[30] At an event commemorating the 58th anniversary of Nigeria's independence, Pastor Tunde Bakare announced that she would be running for the office of the president.[31][32] One of her campaign promises was to lift 80 million Nigerians out of poverty.[33]

On 24 January 2019, Oby stepped down from the presidential race[34] owing to a divergence of values and visions with her political party, Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN).[35] However, later in the day, the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC)[36] said it was too late for anyone to withdraw from the race because the ballot materials had already been prepared. For that reason, the crest of the party would still appear.[37] Fela Durotoye commended Oby for taking the lead and clamouring for a coalition to end the rule of #APCPDP.[38]

On 4 February 2019, Oby organised a press conference in NICON Luxury Hall, Abuja. She opened up during her press conference on her rough political journey while campaigning for the office of the President of Nigeria under the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN).[39] She also gave motivational speech as she stepped down from the 2019 presidential campaign.[40]

On 7 February 2019, Oby published her campaign finances. The report shows she spent 48 million naira between 1 October 2018 to 2 February 2019.[41]


  1. ^ Loffie, Liza (22 June 2020). "Just in: The mother of Oby Ezekwesili dies at 78". The African Media. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Oby Ezekwesili Offers Marriage Tips To Young Nigerians". Nigeriafilms.com. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Vital Voices". Vital Voices. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  4. ^ "Home". TheCable. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  5. ^ "Makhtar Diop is new World Bank Africa head". Africa Review. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  6. ^ "OFFICIAL BLUEBIRD ENERGY SYSTEMS HOMEPAGE MARINE ELECTRICITY". www.bluebird-electric.net. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  7. ^ https://www.thecable.ng/oby-ezekwesili-made-shortlist-2018-nobel-peace-prize-making-world-less-corrupt
  8. ^ a b c "Obiageli Ezekwesili Appointed As Vice President for the Africa Region". The World Bank. 23 March 2007. Retrieved 19 February 2010.
  9. ^ "SPE Login". www.spe.org. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  10. ^ "InvestEgate | Company Announcements | Home | FTSE 100, 250, AIM, techMARK". www.investegate.co.uk. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  11. ^ https://plus.google.com/+UNESCO. "UNESCO". UNESCO. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  12. ^ a b Egbas, Jude. "10 amazing things you didn"t know about Oby Ezekwesili". Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  13. ^ "Social Media Week". Social Media Week. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  14. ^ "Somerville College Oxford". www.some.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  15. ^ "The World Economic Forum". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  16. ^ "IBFD Your Portal to Cross Border Tax Expertise". www.ibfd.org. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  17. ^ "Nexford University". www.nexford.org. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  18. ^ "100 Women: Who took part?". BBC. 22 November 2013.
  19. ^ "Who are the 100 Women 2014?". BBC. 26 October 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  20. ^ Ayokunle Odekunle, "10 things you SHOULD know about Oby Ezekwesili’s speech at the APC National summit", Naija.com.
  21. ^ David Smith, "Military operation launched to locate kidnapped Nigerian girls", The Guardian, 14 May 2014: "Although most of the abducted girls are Christian, all were wearing Muslim dress and two were singled out to say they had converted to Islam."
  22. ^ "Nigeria abduction video: Schoolgirls 'recognised'", BBC, 13 May 2014: "The girls' families have said that most of those seized are Christians, although there are a number of Muslims among them."
  23. ^ Dorell, Oren (21 April 2014). "Terrorists kidnap more than 200 Nigerian girls". USA Today. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  24. ^ Nadia Nasanovsky, "A global effort to ‘Bring Back Our Girls’", Buenos Aires herald, 8 May 2014.
  25. ^ Emma Howard, "Bring back our girls: global protests over abduction of Nigerian schoolgirls", The Guardian, 7 May 2014.
  26. ^ "OUTRAGE: BBOG coordinator, Oby Ezekwesili arrested, released" Archived 28 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Today, 14 July 2014.
  27. ^ "#BringBackOurGirls: Oby Ezekwesili detained by SSS officials in Abuja", Pulse.ng, 21 July 2014.
  28. ^ Augoye, Jayne (26 March 2019). "Ezekwesili wins Forbes Woman Africa Social Influencer Award". Premium Times Nigeria. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  29. ^ "Oby Ezekwesili: Values and vision divergence with ACPN triggered my withdrawal presidential race". Oak TV Newstrack. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  30. ^ "Oby Ezekwesili on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  31. ^ "Oby Ezekwesili to run for president, says Tunde Bakare - TheCable". TheCable. 1 October 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  32. ^ Oluwamayowa Tijani (1 October 2018), Oby Ezekwesili to run for president, says Tunde Bakare, retrieved 2 October 2018
  33. ^ Television, Oak (8 January 2019). "Oby Ezekwesili officially flags off presidential campaign". OAK TV. Oaktv. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  34. ^ "Oby Ezekwesili withdraws from presidential race". Oak TV Newstrack. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  35. ^ "Oby Ezekwesili: Values and vision divergence with ACPN triggered my withdrawal presidential race". Oak TV Newstrack. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  36. ^ "INEC Receives N198bn for General Election". Oak TV Newstrack. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  37. ^ "Ezekwesili: It's too late for candidates to step down, says INEC". Oak TV Newstrack. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  38. ^ "Fela Durotoye Commends Oby Ezekwesili, expresses commitment to renew search for coalition candidate". Oak TV Newstrack. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  39. ^ Television, Oak (5 February 2019). "INSIDE DETAILS: Oby Ezekwesili opens up on her rough political journey". OAK TV. oak tv. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  40. ^ Television, Oak (5 February 2019). "Oby Ezekwesili's emotional speech as she takes a bow from 2019 presidential campaign". OAK TV. Oak tv. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  41. ^ https://guardian.ng/news/oby-ezekwesili-publishes-campaign-finances/

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