In promoting transparency and accountability in government and for a life dedicated to the empowerment of the Nigerian child with an unstinting commitment to the values of good governance, justice and equity, this year’s Anti-Corruption Defender Award is given to Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili.
At a time when she could have kept quiet and lobbied for a political appointment with the government of the day, Oby as she is fondly called chose the path of honor to spearhead the campaign for the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG). For a former Minister of Education and the Vice President of the World Bank, Africa division, a position she held from 2007 to 2012, that was like committing class suicide. But she was only following the dictates of her heart and the indelible traits of her father.
Born April 28, 1963, Ezekwesili has a Master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos and a Master of Public Administration degree from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She trained with the firm of Deloitte and Touche and qualified as a chartered accountant.
She is a founding member of Transparency International; a global non-governmental organisation aimed at fighting crime and corruption and was also a director of Integrity, a non-governmental organization. She served as a pioneer director for Africa and worked with Prof. Jeffrey Sachs at the Centre for International Development at Harvard.
Dr. Ezekwesili headed the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit of Olusegun Obasanjo’s government where she earned the nickname “Madam Due Process” for her work in process mechanisms, strategies and public procurement of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
She was the architect of the Bureau for Public Procurement legislation, the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, NEITI legislation and the new Minerals and Mining legislation during her six and a half years stint in government. At NEITI, she led the first ever-national implementation of the global standards and principles of transparency in the oil and gas sector amongst many other accomplishments.
On both new and traditional media, she has been a voice against crooked practices in government.