Oby Ezekwesili’s quest for good governance started when she started writing Op-eds in newspapers about bad governance. Later, she became a part of the Africa Leadership forum and then, co-founder of Transparency International, a member and then, the first woman to lead the concerned professionals, which campaigned against military rule, demanding MKO Abiola’s mandate in 1993.
During her time at the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit, Oby Ezekwesili was credited with changing and cleansing the method of getting contracts at the Federal level in Nigeria. She also put Nigeria on the global platform as a mining investment destination when she was appointed the Minister of Solid Minerals in 2005. Oby’s time at governance has been known for integrity.
Currently, she is vying for the post of the President of Nigeria as she believes she can make things right in the country. Oby Ezekwesili owes all the attributes she is displaying to her dad, who taught her the essence of good values.
As the cover on the latest TW Magazine, Oby Ezekwesili talks about her father’s influence in the kind of woman she is today.
On her relationship with her dad
My dad would say that those who are strong must use their strength on behalf of those who are weak. He would say that we must never be in an environment where there are injustices happening and we’d be comfortable to look away like every other person.
My dad focused very much on teaching of values; so, every morning, you heard, ‘seest thou a girl diligent in her work, she will stand before kings and not before mere men.’ Then he would say, ‘honesty is the best policy,’ and ‘we may not be rich in money but we are wealthy in values.’
Oby’s father had the practice of introducing a topic at dinner and sampling topics from his children and the best opinion got meat. Even though she didn’t always have the best opinion, he would tell her he learnt something from her.
“That’s why I always say to fathers, if you validate your girl-child, nobody can invalidate her, nobody.”
I came from my father, like he literally threw me up. People used to laugh at my looks and they would say, ‘look at your mum’s nose, couldn’t you even take your mum’s nose?’ or ‘you should have been like your mum,’ because my mum is such a pretty woman.”
Whenever Oby mentioned it to her father, he would tell her that she had the best nose in the world.
“My dad always told me that I am a treasure and that I personify what is good, and that, I must never, ever, take myself down, by looking at myself from any other prism. Later on in life, if a man looked at me and said, ‘Ah, you just look like your father,’ I’d say to them, ‘it’s the best way to come to the world.
You must have the capacity to show people that they have no hold on you. That was the kind of things those validations did for me personally. What opinion you held of me, I didn’t care. My dad already told me who I am.
Read full interview on TW Magazine
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