Being a woman is not a limitation; rather it is an opportunity to live as a man with a womb! It is a calling to do all that men can do and even more, it is living with audacity, much of it! Every woman is pregnant with possibilities and can give birth to potentials that will transform lives and impact nations!
Ever thought of you or seen yourself in the limelight of prominence and huge success? If you have once painted this picture in your mind, you will agree with me that it doesn’t take much to be a huge success; just a little out of the ordinary every day stuff.
We have women who have enhanced their capacities for development and contributed to the growth of countries. One of such women with refined reputation and high prestige is Obiageli Ezekwesili. This powerful and influential woman holds a Bachelor Degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; she is a Nigerian Chartered Accountant and one of those who have brought positive transformation to the world at large.
With the University of Lagos Masters’ Degree in International Law and Diplomacy and another of Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Oby is a master of excellence and influence. She is a woman to learn from if you want to truly stand out.
Obiageli Ezekwesili is an exceptionally gifted woman with praiseworthy accomplishments. She first worked with Deloitte & Touche as a consultant. While there she handled the audit of the organization, controlled affairs of business and was vitally involved in other financial services of the organization. She is so transparent a person that she co-founded the worldwide anti-corruption group called Transparency international. For five years, she served in the position of a Director for this Berlin, Germany based group.
Oby is not afraid of work, she proved this when she went to work with Professor Jefferey Sachs at the Center for International Development at Harvard. She worked as Director of The Harvard-Nigeria Economic Strategy Program. Though fully engaged and busy yet she had the interest of her country at heart and served as an aide to the first President of Nigerian Fourth Republic, President Olusegun Obasanjo.
In the course of time, she was formally chosen for a job in the Presidency. She accepted the position of the Senior Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence. While serving in this capacity, she acted as a leader of many institutional reforms. She achieved this through the act of establishing due process mechanism and strategies. The great work she did at this position earned her the nickname, Madam Due Process. She competently led a team of other experts and ensured that public procurement legislation, the NEITI legislation and the new Minerals and Mining legislation were appropriately carried out.
This noble woman who is married to Pastor Chinedu Ezekwesili served as the Minister for Solid Minerals, now Mines and Steel Development for twelve months. She initiated a workable reorganization and improvement program that helped Nigeria to become a recognized and credible mining investment destination. She stopped at nothing to make a success and effect national transformation; she equally headed the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. She showcased her transparency further by directing the first ever national implementation of the universal ideals and ethics of transparency in the oil, gas and mining sector.
This mother of three refused any limitation. She took up the challenge of heading Nigeria’s most sensitive ministry, the Federal Ministry of Education. She served as the Honorable Minister of the Federal Ministry of Education for ten wonderful months. As the Education Minister, she changed the basic structure of the ministry to concentrate mainly on the attainment of education for all. She went beyond set targets to enhance the Millennium Development Goals in education.
Service delivery in the Nigerian Education sector cannot be talked about without mentioning this honorable woman. She initiated modern educational standards like the Public-Private Partnership models for education service delivery. She brought about significant changes that improved the Federal Inspectorate Service. This positive-minded leader brought transparency and accountability mechanisms for better governance of the budget to the mind of the public.
Mrs. Ezekwesili is really a personality to learn from; the establishment of the Innovation & Vocational Enterprise Institutions initiatives is to her credit. These initiatives which focus on the development of skills for economic competitiveness have given many the competitive advantages needed for greater achievements. She is really a leading light; her influence is quite amazing. She extended her sphere of influence to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and got them to partner with her in the launch of Adopt-A-School program which fosters love for all humanity by corporations, community groups and individuals.
In 2007, the United Nation Bank appointed Obiageli Ezekwesili as the Vice President for the World Bank’s Africa Region. She watched over the activities of over one thousand six hundred staffs and ensured that delivery of projects, economic and sectoral work in forty-eight Saharan countries was a success. Her impact and uniqueness drew praise and accolades from the mouths of many. She is a valuable and an inspiring woman of honour. She served remarkably at the international bank for reconstruction and development. She stood tall and she is still doing so at the local and international stage of successful impact till date.
Obiageli Ezekwesili is an influential woman, one that has made an impression of her success in the male dominated platform. Her high quality and distinguishing features have caught the attention of great people of influence all over the world. She is a board member of Bharti Airtel; she sits on the boards of World Wildlife Fund and the School of Public Policy of Central European University. Her distinguished economic policies are mind-blowing! This has attracted organizations like Harold Hartog School of Government and Policy, New African Magazine and The Center for Global Leadership, Tufts University to tap from her specialized knowledge. She is a board member in these organizations.
Honor crowns and everyone wants to be identified with it. The personal integrity of Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili stood her out and made the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta in Nigeria to award her an honourary Doctor of Science Degree. Inspiring curriculum vitae if you ask me! I am sure you agree with me that Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili is a woman of excellence and positive influence.
She is a woman to learn from and stand out exceedingly. You can be like her too! She is like many of us; her first degree and her first Master’s degree were even in Nigeria. Who said you can’t attain that height you have dreamt of? What is hindering your movement? Turn that hindrance to a stepping stone and move unto the higher life earmarked for you, Dear Woman! That standing ovation can be for you!
I am so privileged to have worked with this unique woman of substance; I was one of her Administrative officers in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development: where she taught us how to make the earth work for us and I make bold to say she is truly a distinguished woman. She has this unique way of carrying everybody along with none feeling left out in any way! She is somebody that many love, admire and respect, though with a few dislikes but definitely none ignored her; she sure knows how to make her mark.
I remember during one of the workshops we had, everybody dressed alike in a pair of jean trousers or skirts and a T-shirt; one could hardly differentiate between the junior and senior staff. During the tea break, I was exchanging pleasantries with someone and so wasn’t paying attention to where I was headed until I mistakenly bumped into someone, stepped on her and as I looked up to apologize; I discovered it was Madam Minister, as we called her then: Dr. Ezekwesili herself! Instead of getting offended, she reached out to hold me so I don’t fall and even when I found my voice and apologized, she said, it’s okay, now, can we go in for the next session. I was awed and truly inspired by her simplicity, authenticity and ingenuity.
She is a go-getter, one that I admire so much and one I think every woman needs to pattern herself after.
Dear Woman, all you need for that beautiful life and for those dreams of yours to be fulfilled lie inside you, reach inwards and draw them out. It has nothing to do with the name of the school you attended, the place you grew up or your parents’ level of education and exposure; as good as these are but they are not all there is. Reach inwards and draw that unique potential out, with it you can be anything and achieve so much!
There is truly nothing that is impossible, yes, anything is possible. So Go Girl!
Copyright, Jaachynma Agu