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Okonjo-Iweala has run a good race




I AM often times baffled at the way some so-called intelligent Nigerians express their frustrations, play out their fantasies and reveal their dark thoughts.

In the days following the release of the results of the Presidential election, all sorts of opinion articles have been published, most revealing the inner workings of the minds of their writers. Most of these op-eds focus on whom to blame for President Goodluck Jonathan’s narrow loss to Major-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) in the elections. Some have made fanciful commentaries here and there, whilst certain others have stooped to derogatory remarks which, by all accounts, are uncalled for. But, that is not where I am going with this piece.

The first is a reaction to the so-called list of people who caused the President’s alleged downfall. There are desperate attempts by some jesters to reduce the eminence of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala by roping her in the disagreeable activities of the likes of Diezani Allison Madueke and disapproving conduct of Mama Peace. Now, isn’t that ridiculous? If there is anything an unbiased analysis of the Jonathan administration would acknowledge, it is the fact that Okonjo-Iweala added legitimacy, respectability, zest, as well as local and international acceptance and stature to the GEJ administration.

May I mention the billions of dollars that flowed into the Nigerian economy from Direct Foreign Investments (DFIs) under the watch of Okonjo-Iweala? This is unprecedented in the entire history of Nigeria’s economy. Can we even enumerate the number of businesses that started, blossomed and are thriving because of the friendly policies, her grasp of issues, confidence and eloquence she put in place to drive the growth of cottage, small and medium scale enterprises in this country?

While it may not be a bad idea to begin to reel out the long list of local and international awards she has received in the last four years, I will spare my readers the trouble and go straight to the point. Madam Finance minister remained committed to her passion of seeing the Nigerian economy bloom, even to the point of it being acclaimed the largest on the continent and one of the most promising in the world. This she did regardless of attacks, some vicious, from vested interests who are averse to the structures she put in place to block leakages and pilfering in the system, whereas some of them are simply jealous of her portfolio as Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy.

I wonder if any of those writing these articles have ever read Okonjo-Iweala’s profile. Do they know anything about her academic and professional background before she became minister? Do they imagine that heading the Nigerian Finance ministry is the highest office she has ever occupied, or that her earnings while serving as minister are anything compared to what she was being paid before? Some may not have the answers to these questions, and I have decided to take it upon myself to fill in the blanks for them, thus ending their ignorance.

Okonjo-Iweala came into the Nigerian polity at a time when the nation’s economy was badly in need of restructuring. And former President Olusegun Obasanjo sought her out as the best head for the job. She came in with a mouth-watering reputation, was widely renowned as a development economist to the thrill of us all, then she delivered and she left. Did her career end there? No. She went on to become the managing director at the World Bank, having been vice president of the same bank. She indeed was at a time considered for the World Bank presidency. When she leaves her office as coordinating minister of the Economy on May 29, 2015, I can assure you, it will not be to sit in some corner to manicure her nails and biting her lips, and scheming how she might publish some ten-pager as to re-launch herself back to reckoning. She was born to shine, and shine she always will.

She is an example that hard work pays and for one to be an expert in his or her chosen field. When she joined the Jonathan administration, she had a local and international reputation that few people can boast of. The accolades, awards and commendations have increased since then. She will leave with her reputation intact because despite all the worst efforts of her political opponents to mar her stellar reputation, the international community and those that know better are not deceived; they know a gem when they see one.

When someone lends her talents, skills and even put her reputation on the line to manage her country’s economy, posterity will forever remember her for good, for selfless service to her fatherland. While we may be subjective here, biased even, there are tonnes of records to prove that Okonjo-Iweala is in a class of her own.

I think her haters are just scared that some other government, institutions or organisations who know her worth will quickly grab her off the market; thus further skyrocketing her career, and ultimately prove them wrong or reveal them for whom they really are: Haters!

Secondly, some of our people have this very abominable habit of always looking for whom to blame when things go wrong. Jonathan lost, so people must be blamed. May I ask at this point, has Jonathan told you he blames anyone? If the President is mature enough to move on with his life rather than looking for whom to blame, I think we should all borrow a leaf from him. Mind you, these jesters are not looking for accountability here. They are, rather, more interested in the drama that results from throwing dirt.

I am all for people having opinions and enjoying the freedom to express them, but I have found that some Nigerians are too fond of dishing out uninformed opinions which they passionately carry on with it in order to make a name for themselves as social commentators. As annoying as this may be, we will forgive them.

And why not? After all, in a few short years when Okonjo-Iweala adds more laurels to her already intimidating list of recognitions, we are all going to be saying: “That’s our woman, an outstanding daughter of Nigeria. She is doing Nigeria proud.”

​• Osofisan is of the University of Jos.

  • Fairgame

    Well written. I couldn’t agree more. The problem with Nigerians is that there are too many hand chair critics who run their mouth and add nothing intellectual to make Nigeria great. They are the ones full of jealousy and ever ready to abuse and tear down those working hard. Madam Minister OkonjoIweala and her Ankara head tie will always remain an enduring sign of her patriotism to her Fatherland. I sense that God will yet use her to do more internationally and nationally. The future they say is pregnant. God bless OkonjoIweala mightily for her service to her country. And I pray she continues to work to lift Nigeria up as she has always done.

  • Chuma Anierobi

    This is beautiful and correct.

    • Joseph

      Are you saying she did no wrong during her reign as finance minister?

  • Phillip ODeh

    Okonjo Iweala was brought to help Nigeria but she has failed and misled Jonathan. She only has herself to blame for being sucked into “Nigerian Business” of corruption. OBJ was wise in removing her as Finance Minister. If Ms Iweala was that good, then she would have got a better position at the World Bank.


    Nigerians are ingrates. It’s a waste of time and life trying to work hard here. This woman Ngozi Okojo- Iweala met Nigeria in debt to the tune of over 30 billion dollars. She secured a good deal in having part of it cancelled while she paid off the rest. Even the International sharks know her worth and stay clear her back.
    We Nigerians however are myopic and fixed in our unsuccessful ways, will not listen to the world acclaimed expat. All the Governors and Presidency meet together monthly for is to ‘share the money’. No wonder miracles are limited here. Except Akwa Ibom, Crossriver State and Lagos. Nothing eye opening to show. F9 ALL OVER.
    We all know her legacy is difficult to beat, her standards are high.
    Corruption is Nigerian, it does not matter who is President, the difference is Buhari’s people will have a field day while he will turn the blind eye. Nothing is new and it’s a waste of time recounting past events we all know.

    Major new Southern contracts like the 2nd Niger bridge, the coastal rail are going to be the first casualty of the second coming of Buhari. He will explain that they are not National priorities, i.e the don’t matter to the North.
    Anyway,GEJ has only postponed the fight, because in four years time the PVC formula will not work for Buhari. When he loses he will invoke the blood of monkey and baboon as usual.
    This man has no economic credential, his view of Nigeria remain the same, a country where monkey work and baboon chop, where projects only gets approval if they serve the North.
    If those horrible Senators, sorry is it supposed to be honorable? I keep forgetting which is applicable, anyway you all know what I mean, want to make a change to Nigerian constitution, then it should be mandatory that

    a. every State must contribute to the Federation account a certain minimum.
    b. every state must generate at least 50 percent of electricity used in the state
    or be cut off the National grid. If we must have a National grid let it be National in generation and distribution.
    c. 30 per cent of Federally collected revenue must be included in a National Sovereign Wealth Fund.

    These three suggestions are treasonable is parts of Nigeria,
    Adieu, our bright Coordinating Minister, and thanks for supporting our dear Nation.

  • Sal Yarima

    Yes the IMF spy Ngozi Okojo has helped the IMF for many years. Time to send her back to her masters!

  • Ikorodua

    ‘THE VICTOR WRITES THE HISTORY’. Nigerians are prone to WISHFUL THINKING, which further enhances their innate tribal bigotry, they can therefore believe an assertion, and espouse it as truth in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The ‘WINNERS’ of the recently concluded fraudulent elections, APC are experts in misinformation and their gullible followers are ready to be easily misled. Ngozi should not and must not expect anything from Buhari and his APC party except derogative accolades.

  • olu

    The taste of the ogbono soup is in laden it on fufu and eating it. No one doubts the outstanding credentials, past performance at the international arena the lady brought with her to work for the Nigerian government, the problem of course is the corrupting influence of money in Nigeria which turn astute and decent individuals a pawn in the hands of leaders that needed their expertise as a cover up for their corruption. As for Okonjo-Iweala, praise singers should hold their peace and let the books be examined first if she comes out clean we must commend her but if she falls short of the high standard expected of her then we must bring her to answer to the misdeeds; it is therefore premature for anyone to applaud or condemn her.

  • Ify Onabu

    Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has done very well. She’s an amazon, a true daughter of Nigeria. It is unfortunate that we do not celebrate our own; all we know to do is to run them down. In other African countries, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala would be a celebrated figure.

    • Eddie

      Well articulated write up, and there’s no doubt in my mind that there is more to what you have said about Madam Oķonjo- Kerala. For her to be fished out by a person like the former president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo speaks for itself. Please don’t mind the critics and the big mouthed. It’s natural that she can’t satisfy everybody because some people are jealous of her position, short and simple. Some Nigerians are not appreciative of work well done.
      My prayers and thoughts are that she continues to wax stronger and stronger in her future endeavors. She is a material any time any where.

  • wole9ja

    She ran an inglorious race . She came with a template that did not consider corruption . That explains the reason for her helplessness and confusion in most cases . Financial control wise she is nowhere , a locally bred Economist or accountant would have done better. Infact , if she were to be under a reasonable regime , she would have been sacked during the subsidy crisis.