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.