Obasanjo felicitates Ezekwesili at 60

Oby Ezekwesili

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has congratulated former World Bank Vice President (Africa) Oby Ezekwesili on her 60th birthday, pouring encomiums on the economic expert.

Ezekwesili, who was born on April 28, 1963, was minister of solid minerals and also minister of education under the Obasanjo administration.

In a statement, the former President described Ezekwesili as an icon, a role model and a diligent individual, who is very resourceful in any position she finds herself, affirming the honour and pride that she brought to Nigeria, Africa and the world with her achievements.

Obasanjo said, “Oby and I met through Transparency International, an initiative started by Peter Eigen, who had worked at the World Bank and saw the need for more integrity in the public arena. While Oby and Peter collaborated, I chaired the advisory council. Due to her hard work and dedication to duty, and because I naturally like working with intelligent people, it was easy for me to warm up to Oby at the time.

“Before I appointed Oby a minister, I first assigned her to work closely with me in what we called the Price Intelligence Unit, domiciled at the Villa, which she headed. It later became the Due Process Office, which earned her the nickname, ‘Madam Due Process’. The idea was to cut down on waste and bring transparency and accountability into the award of contracts, which she did excellently.”

According to the Ota farmer, Ezekwesili’s stewardship in the Due Process Office brought about substantial reduction in cost of contracts, which saved the government billions of naira at the time.

Obasanjo also remarked that the amazon was a founding member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, noting that NEITI, Nigeria’s version of EITI, was by dint of her efforts and his support.

He lauded the former minister’s diligence and dedication towards strengthening women leadership, good governance and African unity.

His words, “As President, I tried to expose some of the brightest talents I had in government to opportunities available to be the best they could possibly be. Without any doubt, Oby was one of the best talents I had working with me. Now that she is 60, I look at what she has done in the past and what God has enabled her to keep doing in terms of women’s rights and African development, and give thanks. My prayer is that God’s grace will continue to abound in her.”