By Ozioma Ubabukoh
At a time many Nigerians are expressing frustrations over the lethargy of elected representatives and decay in the country’s polity, accentuated by transactional electoral process, Dr. Obiageli (Oby) Ezekwesili decided to abandon the lamentation hall.
With #FixPolitics, the former Presidential candidate seems to have identified the root cause of the problems and is mobilising to take remedial steps by grooming citizens with the right knowledge tools to take charge and right the wrongs in the nation’s polity.
When Nigerians named her ‘Madam Due Process’, it was their own way of acknowledging Ezekwesili’s eyes for details and dexterity with facts. Ezekwesili’s work during her stint at the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligent Unit (Due Process Unit) did much to show, not only her diligence and patriotism, but also her belief that Nigeria can do things right.
Perhaps, having worked with Professor Jeffrey Sachs at the Centre for International Development at Harvard, she was well exposed to the nitty-gritties of international best practices and global distaste for corruption. The brilliance and patriotic tenacity she displayed convinced both the lowly and the high and mighty that such qualities were what Nigeria needs to work and catch up with the rest of the developed world.
And, as if highlighting the truism in the saying that the reward for good work is more work, it was not surprising when Madam Oby was appointed as a Minister of the Federal Republic, overseeing the Ministry of Solid Mineral (Mines and Steel).
It was at the Ministry of Mines and Steel that the former World Bank Vice President showed that her reform-minded activism was neither make-believe nor a flash in the pan. Interestingly, her reforms brought our country international acclaim, thereby catapulting Nigeria as a credible mining investment hub.
Many people still remember how Ezekwesili, as head of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, brought about the national implementation of the international standards and transparency model in Nigeria’s mining, oil and gas sector.
After her stint in government, the former minister went on to become vice president at World Bank for the Africa Region and Senior Economic Advisor for George Soos’ Open Society, where she offered tips to reform-focused African leaders, such as Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia.
The post-way stabilisation and socio-economic progress recorded by those two countries could be traced to Ezekwesili’s tenacity and insistence on transparency and due process as basis for good governance.
It goes without saying that the world has taken notice of the former WB vice president, not only as a global citizen, but also as one of the champions of transparency and accountability.
That could explain her recent appointment into the Board of Trustees of International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation and selection as one of the British Broadcasting Corporation’s 100 Women in 2013/14.
This piece is not intended to sing Madam Ezekwesili’s praise. But, without doubt, this Nigerian woman of substance has become synonymous with transparency and good governance. Those are some of the cardinal features she wants to imbue Nigeria politics with.
With #FixPolitics, which trailed her fellowship at Robert Bosch Academy, Ezekwesili is bringing the passion of Mahatma Ghandi, the vision of Martin Luther King Jnr and the charity of Mother Theresa into Nigeria politics. Having
battled sharks and crocodile in the murky waters of the country’s partisan politics, Madam Due Process must have come to the realisation that reforms are a must for Nigeria’s politics, nay democracy, if it must to bear good fruits.
Her reform minded activism in the nation’s polity is not a product of brainwave or a self-serving craving to earn plaudits or score political mileage for electoral laurels. It did not start today.
From Red Card Movement, when she advocated a stop to recycling of selfish leaders; to equipping citizens to perform the Office of the Citizen; to efforts at midwifing consensus for paradigm shift in leadership selection and credible political competition, the former minister has spared neither cost nor energy to see to the evolution of a mutually beneficial democratic experience for citizens and leaders.
Madam Oby has tried various strategies to wake Nigerians from their carefree approach to leadership section during elections. Her voice has been heard on many occasions trying to wake countrymen from slumber and addiction to mammon of naira worship during elections.
Now, with #Fix Politics, the woman of substance has brought an entire new body of knowledge and tactics to change the narratives in Nigeria politics. After raising an army of well-informed nationals, able to discern the footprints of false leaders and be able to hold them to account, Ezekwesili believes Nigeria’s politics will never remain the same again.
Alongside some like minds, she is deploying deep-thinking, knowing that galvanising a generation of empowered and enlightened citizenry, nurtured on the essential features of clean politics, is the surest path to overthrowing the bad guys feeding fat and holding Nigeria down.
The former Presidential candidate has turned the entire Nigeria into a huge classroom through the School of Politics, Policy and Governance (popularly known as SPPG) under her #FixPolitics initiative. As the general outline runs
through a gamut of educative issues ranging from communication, campaign messaging and fund tracking as well as nuggets on budget monitoring, there is no doubt that Nigeria’s democracy is in for good transition.
*Ubabukoh, a Communications Strategist, is Spokesperson of Dr Ezekwesili