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 58)
Anambra State, Nigeria
NationalityNigerian
Spouse(s)Chinedu Ezekwesili
Children3
ParentsBenjamin Ujubuonu
Cecilia Nwayiaka Ujubuonu
EducationJohn F. Kennedy School of Government
University of Lagos
University of Nigeria, Nsukka
ProfessionChartered accountant, economic policy
AwardsCommander of the Federal Republic (CFR)
Nickname(s)'Madam Due Process'

Obiageli Ezekwesili (born 28 April, 1963), also popularly known as Oby Ezekwesili, , is an economic policy expert, an advocate for transparency, accountability, good governance and Human Capital Development, a humanitarian and an activist. She is a former vice president of the World Bank (African Region), co-founder and founding director of Transparency International, co-founder of the #BringBackOurGirls movement and has also served twice as Federal Minister in Nigeria. She is also the founder of #FixPolitics Initiative, a research-based citizens-led initiative, the School of Politics Policy and Governance (SPPG), and Human Capital Africa respectively.

She is also a chartered accountant/consultant, public analyst, and senior economic advisor from Anambra state.[1][2] [3] [4]


Early life[edit]

She was born in Lagos state to Benjamin Ujubuonu who died in 1988 and mother Cecilia Nwayiaka Ujubuonu.

Education[edit]

Oby Ezekwesili holds a Bachelor degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 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.[5][6]

Prior to working for the Government of Nigeria, Ezekwesiili was working with Professor Jeffrey Sachs at the Center for International Development at Harvard as the Director of the Harvard-Nigeria Economic Strategy Project.[7] [8]

Career[edit]

Ezekwesili served as Federal Minister of Solid Minerals and later as Federal Minister of Education. 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.[9]

Transparency International 1994-1999[edit]

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.[10][11]

1999-2007[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.[12]

Minister of Solid Minerals[edit]

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.[13]

Minister of Education[edit]

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. [5]

While in government, Ezekwesili led the restructuring and refocusing of the Education Ministry for the attainment of Education for All (EfA) targets and Millennium Development Goals. She also introduced the Public-Private Partnership models for education service delivery; revamped the Federal Inspectorate Service as an improved quality assurance mechanism and introduced transparency and accountability mechanisms for better governance of the budget. [14]

Vice President, World Bank (African Region)[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.[5]

In 2012, she successfully completed her stint as the World Bank Vice-President (Africa Division).[15] 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.[16]

Later career[edit]

As a senior economic advisor for Open Society, a group founded by George Soros, she advises nine reform-committed African heads of state including Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia.[17]

Board memberships[edit]

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, 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.[18] In April 2020, she was appointed to the Board of Trustees of International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation where she contributes to overseeing their expansion in developing economies.[19]

In January 2019, Oby Ezekwesili was appointed on the advisory board[20] of Nexford University, in Washington DC and subsequently launched a scholarship program dedicated to women in Nigeria.

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".[21]

In the aftermath of the nearly 300 mainly Christian girls were abducted from Chibok by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram,[22][23][24] Oby Ezekwesili 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.[15] Ezekwesili was instrumental to the start of the viral #BringBackOurGirls campaign on social media, which trended internationally. On 23 April, at the opening ceremony for a UNESCO event honoring the city of Port Harcourt as the 2014 World Book Capital city, She urged Nigerians to not just tweet but actively participate in efforts to "bring back our girls".[25][26]

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.[27][28] She was later released the same morning.

She is the Founder and Convener of the #RedCardMovement

2019 Presidential Election[edit]

Oby 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 Ezekwesili 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).[29] However, later in the day, the Independent National Electoral Commission[35] 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.[36] Fela Durotoye commended Ezekwesili for taking the lead and clamouring for a coalition to end the rule of #APCPDP.[37]

On 4 February 2019, Oby Ezekwesili 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).[38] She also gave motivational speech as she stepped down from the 2019 presidential campaign.[39]

On 7 February 2019, Oby Ezekwesili published her campaign finances. The report shows she spent 48 million Naira between 1 October 2018 to 2 February 2019.[40]

Personal life[edit]

She is married to Pastor Chinedu Ezekwesili of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and has 3 sons - Chinemelum, Chinweuba and Chidera.[41] In April 2021, Oby Ezekwesili submitted a petition to the inspector General of Police against Mr Japhet Omojuwa, accusing him of fraudulently using her name as a director in his firm, Alpha Reach Company Limited.[42]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 2006, Ms. Ezekwesili was given the national award of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR).[43]

In May 2012, Ezekwesili was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science (DSC) degree by the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta in Nigeria.[44] She was selected as one of the BBC's 100 Women in 2013 and 2014.[45][46]

In March 2019, Oby Ezekwesili won the Forbes Woman Africa Social Influencer Award for her efforts on the #BringBackOurGirls campaign on social media.[47]

In 2019, she was awarded a Richard Von Weizsäcker Fellowship at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin. [48] [49]


She was selected as a 2020 Global Leadership Awards Honoree.[50] Also named as one of 100 visionaries featured in the 3D book "Genius:100 Visionary Thinkers launched in Montreal, Canada in 2017 by Albert Einstein's Foundations.

She was recognized by Time Magazine as one of the Time-100 Most Influential People and by New York Times as one of the 25 Women of Impact for 2015.

She holds the Robert F. Kennedy Award of Excellence in Public Service of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the Tuft University EPIIC Jean Meyer Awards; Democracy Ambassador -International IDEA; 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee; and several others.[51]

In August 2021, Ezekwesili joined Yale University’s Jackson School of Global Affairs as a senior fellow. [52]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Oby Ezekwesili mourns Abba Kyari". Vanguard News. 18 April 2020. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  2. ^ "DR OBIAGELI EZEKWESILI – 2020 APF Conference". Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  3. ^ https://thesppg.org
  4. ^ https://fixpolitics.org
  5. ^ a b c "Obiageli Ezekwesili Appointed As Vice President for the Africa Region". The World Bank. 23 March 2007. Retrieved 19 February 2010.
  6. ^ "Obiageli Ezekwesili | Africa Region Vice President". blogs.worldbank.org. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  7. ^ "SPE Login". www.spe.org. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  8. ^ https://jackson.yale.edu/person/oby-ezekwesili/
  9. ^ "Makhtar Diop is new World Bank Africa head". Africa Review. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Book Oby Ezekwesili as a keynote speaker | Chartwell Speakers". Expert Keynote and Motivational Speakers | Chartwell Speakers. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  11. ^ "Vital Voices". Vital Voices. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  12. ^ "InvestEgate | Company Announcements | Home | FTSE 100, 250, AIM, techMARK". www.investegate.co.uk. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  13. ^ https://plus.google.com/+UNESCO. "UNESCO". UNESCO. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  14. ^ https://www.proshareng.com/news/People/Profile--Ms-Obiageli-Katryn-Ezekwesili----Accountability-&-Transparency-Quest/19200
  15. ^ a b Egbas, Jude. "10 amazing things you didn"t know about Oby Ezekwesili". Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  16. ^ "Social Media Week". Social Media Week. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  17. ^ "Somerville College Oxford". www.some.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  18. ^ "The World Economic Forum". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  19. ^ "IBFD Your Portal to Cross Border Tax Expertise". www.ibfd.org. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  20. ^ "Oby Ezekwesili launches scholarship programme for young Nigerian women". Pulse Nigeria. 12 January 2019. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  21. ^ Ayokunle Odekunle, "10 things you SHOULD know about Oby Ezekwesili’s speech at the APC National summit", Naija.com.
  22. ^ 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."
  23. ^ "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."
  24. ^ Dorell, Oren (21 April 2014). "Terrorists kidnap more than 200 Nigerian girls". USA Today. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  25. ^ Nadia Nasanovsky, "A global effort to ‘Bring Back Our Girls’", Buenos Aires herald, 8 May 2014.
  26. ^ Emma Howard, "Bring back our girls: global protests over abduction of Nigerian schoolgirls", The Guardian, 7 May 2014.
  27. ^ "OUTRAGE: BBOG coordinator, Oby Ezekwesili arrested, released" Archived 28 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Today, 14 July 2014.
  28. ^ "#BringBackOurGirls: Oby Ezekwesili detained by SSS officials in Abuja", Pulse.ng, 21 July 2014.
  29. ^ a b "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. ^ "INEC Receives N198bn for General Election". Oak TV Newstrack. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  36. ^ "Ezekwesili: It's too late for candidates to step down, says INEC". Oak TV Newstrack. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  37. ^ "Fela Durotoye Commends Oby Ezekwesili, expresses commitment to renew search for coalition candidate". Oak TV Newstrack. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  38. ^ Television, Oak (5 February 2019). "INSIDE DETAILS: Oby Ezekwesili opens up on her rough political journey". OAK TV. oak tv. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  39. ^ 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.
  40. ^ "Oby Ezekwesili publishes campaign finances". 7 February 2019.
  41. ^ "Oby Ezekwesili Offers Marriage Tips To Young Nigerians". Nigeriafilms.com. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  42. ^ "Fraud: Ezekwesili submits evidence against Omojuwa to IGP, demands prosecution". Punch Newspapers. 16 April 2021. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  43. ^ "Obiageli Ezekwesili | Africa Region Vice President". blogs.worldbank.org. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  44. ^ "Nexford University". www.nexford.org. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  45. ^ "100 Women: Who took part?". BBC. 22 November 2013.
  46. ^ "Who are the 100 Women 2014?". BBC. 26 October 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  47. ^ Augoye, Jayne (26 March 2019). "Ezekwesili wins Forbes Woman Africa Social Influencer Award". Premium Times Nigeria. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  48. ^ https://guardian.ng/news/ezekwesili-others-bag-weizsacker-fellowship-in-germany/
  49. ^ https://www.robertboschacademy.de/en/fellow/obiageli-ezekwesili
  50. ^ "Obiageli Ezekwesili". Vital Voices. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  51. ^ http://acufasthmaconference.org.ng/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/eze-bio.pdf
  52. ^ https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/481907-ezekwesili-joins-yale-university-as-senior-fellow.html

External links[edit]