Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Mrs Oby Ezekwesili are two women who have shown that there is no glass ceiling for women that was too strong for them to breakthrough. Widely admired by Nigerians home and abroad, served credibly home and abroad, were employees of the World Bank and different international organizations like Transparency International which Oby Ezekwesili co-founded.
In recent times, Aunty Oby Ezekwesili has taken the path to be an activist, citizen and the one to hold Nigeria’s government account. She is doing so fearlessly at the risk of many things around her; friends, family and colleagues. She was an Education Minister and other key positions in Nigeria.
On the other hand, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in recent times has been out of the country where she is serving the world beyond Nigeria. Worked with World Bank, served Nigeria as Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister of the economy. Very recently, she got an appointment with the Commonwealth and Nigerians are proud of her.
These two women in their own rights have done well in the various positions they occupied. However, they both had one thing in common and that is that they served in Nigeria, pushed for major reforms in Education, finance, economy and other areas. They are technocrats but not politicians, they desired to change things by looking beyond politics but the system and structure work against such people. Aunty Oby is yet to write any book (none that I have seen) but if you have read the book by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala you will agree that the forces of politics are stronger than the good ideas of technocrats.
She admitted that they fought back and as it is the case everyone’s tenure is limited and after serving hers, she has taken a sabbatical from Nigerian public service.
Presently, they both are in two worlds; Oby Ezekwesili fighting to change the status quo that is half a century old or more with so many oppositions to resist while Aunty Ngozi is sailing freely, stressless (not like Nigeria) making changes where the system allows it. Now, they’re both intellects and this can be seen as working or having worked alike coming from the international community to serve in Nigeria and same experience in the World Bank. However, presently they have chosen different paths in two different worlds and one seems to have it easier with lesser risks (Aunty Ngo) while the other is having hard with confrontations that are designed by default to push back (Aunty Oby).
With due respect to these two women, I like to say that their past and present works show that they love Nigeria, maybe equally. However, with the present path they have chosen, one wonders who is or who will be the better hero than the other. While Aunty Ngo is making changes in a system that is flexible and open to changes and reforms, aunty Oby is equally working to change a system that is designed not to change it be flexible.
I hope my piece is understood and I like it to be seen as pro-Nigerian and in celebration of these two gems and I will be glad if it can be open for debate with the focus on changing Nigeria and bringing in our best hands in the diaspora to come and change things in a restructured system and Nigeria that is open for growth and easy development.
God Save Nigeria!