Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has an unmistakable grain of sociopolitical and economical authenticity. An Igbo woman from Umu Obi Obahai Royal Family of Ogwashi-Ukwu. Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude with an A.B. in 1977, and earned her Ph.D. in regional economic development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1981.
Prior to her ministerial career in Nigeria, Okonjo-Iweala left her position as vice-president and corporate secretary of the World Bank Group to join President Obasanjo‘s cabinet as Finance Minister on 15 July 2003, determined to make developing countries play remarkable roles in decisions that affect them instead of being silent observers.
Although some controversy surrounded Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment as Finance Minister, she left that administration at the end of August 2006. On October 4, 2007, World Bank President Robert Zoellick appointed her to the post of Managing Director, effective December 1, 2007.
In 2011, Okonjo-Iweala was reappointed as Minister of Finance with the expanded portfolio of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy by President Goodluck Jonathan. She took a lot of heat, more-so than any other government official for the unpopular fuel subsidy removal policy by the Nigerian government which led to Occupy Nigeria protests in January 2012.
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala left a record of debt-forgiveness, -the only finance minister to have done so. The then senator Obama was very skeptical at the suggestion of debt-forgiveness from the Paris club. She buttressed her opinion with remarkable points and persuasive arguments. The whole was convinced.
This is a woman who poverty motivated to be all she could be; her gender notwithstanding. Obama knows about determination and going for what you believe in, his wife, Mitchell knows that too. I really think president Obama should uphold the American values among which decisions based on merit is one.
CHANGE was the key word President Obama campaigned with. Well, it is time to show that you are ready to change the way the informal agreement which sees an American as the president of the World Bank and a European as the president of the IMF.
This decision has operated since 1940s. Things have changed since then and we all know it. America has block votes in the world bank and America will prove that she is not afraid to say: ‘when the time for change has come, we must bow to it’ This is what your children will be proud of president Obama, this is what your wife as an accomplished woman will be proud of – You stood up to be counted when it mattered the most.
Real power is the ability to retrace your step when no would have been easier. Indeed, it is time that a woman, who is also, a naturalized U.S citizen, an African with a proven track record on international problem-solving skills and happens to be a woman becomes the president of the world bank.
How will you and Mitchell feel if Sasha one day qualified for a position but was told that the position has been informally agreed to be occupied by non-Americans and men? We are talking about her effectively shedding more light on the problems in developing countries.
I believe that she will encourage direct investments, help remove infrastructural problems by enabling funding into infrastructure and above all the electricity problem that has bedeviled Nigeria for so long-popularly referred to as POWER. It is time that Africa as a continent rises.
Nigeria has done so much in terms of securing peace in Africa. We are still faced with challenges even just now. Some international interest groups definitely benefit from the problems of most developing countries. Why can’t we be great as a continent?
Why can’t we be in a position to do business on equal and mutually benefiting terms with the rest of the world? Why must we be notorious for poverty, disease, hunger and underdevelopment? Women have the numerical strength but lack the corresponding positions of higher responsibilities like the men? Men and women are co-partners in governance.
An only woman who is highly qualified in the person of Dr. Ngozi Okojo-Iweala deserves to be the next president of the World Bank.
By Princess Gloria Okojie-Fritz