Why Nigerian govt is after me for attending WEF – Ezekwesili

Oby Ezekwesili joins IBFD board
Oby Ezekwesili

Former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili on Saturday said the Nigerian government did not go after her just because she attended the World Economic Forum, WEF, in South Africa which it boycotted, but a part of a cheap and frustrated strategy designed to bully, slander, denigrate her at every opportunity.

Ezekwesili, in series of tweets said “You’d be naive to think that the mob action the Nigeria Government planned, incited and orchestrated against me was “because she went to WEF when the country boycotted it”. No. Just part of a cheap & frustrated strategy designed to bully, slander, denigrate me at every opportunity.

“A Nigeria Government that had several of its high ranking and low ranking officials in South Africa when I arrived for
WEF on Wednesday mischievously rolls out the drumbeats of attacks against me, a private citizen for “ignoring the boycott of WEF. Their dishonesty is incurable.

“The most laughable of the cheap muck they ignorantly were throwing at me was “she could not ignore the Dollar
WEF would pay her”. Imagine. What an irredeemable and corrupted bunch of illiterates who think everything is about money? I earn no fees for speaking at WEF, sorry souls.”

Ezekwesili said she understood how frustrating it must be for a grossly incompetent government to have to cope with her determination to call out their serial pattern of bad leadership and governance, lamenting that for two days, “a private citizen’s decision to attend WEF became the issue that mattered to the Nigeria Government. It took delight in having citizens forget to scrutinize how effectively it was handling its responsibility.”

She explained that the Forum was not a statutory meeting of countries and their governments and that WEF was not a programme of the Government of South Africa, but an economic conference of a Switzerland based Economic Think-Tank that hosted its Africa WEF in Cape Town.

“Fake News reported that 2 presidents (whom I know) and who did not even confirm attendance to WEF this year ‘have boycotted’. Muhammadu Buhari, meanwhile, has never before been to WEF Africa since he came into office. Never. So what does “Buhari boycotts WEF” really mean in substance?

“How did Nigeria Government elevate WEF conference held by a Switzerland based private entity to the stature of serious and strategic diplomacy that should have been triggered between the 2 Anchor Countries of Africa as soon as another round of Afro-Phobia began on the 1st September? I tweeted the need to trigger bilateral action to swiftly end the attacks on the 2nd September. My tweets addressed the two leaders and their governments.

“There was zero evidence of our FG‘s intellectually rigorous bilateral-relations-based strategy for permanently addressing this serious life and death matter with South Africa even as the attacks continued. None. No crisis response strategy that anyone who remotely knows anything about diplomatic relations could see; except the confusion that emerged daily in our FG scattershot statements.

“I made my personal decision to attend WEF, determined to leverage my voice & reach as a Citizen. Our President and his FG decided as usual to “major in the minors” and began confusing the public with “so much motion without movement” choosing populist drama over serious, contemplative and strategic leadership engagement on a matter that risks the lives of our citizens.

“First, a fluffy and bland statement was issued days after attacks heightened, 2nd, another statement that “the President will send an envoy to President of SA”, 3rd, another statement that, “President will take up the matter during his visit to SA in October, 4th, another statement that the “Government will boycott WEF”, 5th, yet another statement that the President has recalled the Nigeria High Commissioner to SA”. 6th, another statement that the FG is sending a planes to SA to evacuate citizens”. Incredible. Chaotic. Incoherent.

“What a mess! Where is the Strategy? The incompetence displayed in managing this grave matter is unmitigated. This obvious lack of an effective crisis response strategy really is what should be the focus of citizens. But of course.
FG decided as usual to “major in the minors” and began confusing the public with “so much motion without movement” choosing populist drama over serious, contemplative and strategic leadership engagement on the issue.

“Meanwhile our citizens in SA are out here, still exposed to significant threats while all these incoherent statements and actions are being taken. The response to this entire saga has been absolutely considering it pertains to safeguarding the dignity of our citizens’ lives. But of course, deflecting attention from their obvious failure and rather choosing to stir and lead attacks of Oby Ezekwesili “for being at the WEF” is easier to do. For some, attacking Oby Ezekwesili rather than holding the FG and President to their DUTY is more interesting,” she stated.

Ezekwesili said she was at WEF as a private citizen in her personal capacity as an expert and activist and not a public official of the Nigerian Government and could not be compelled by their decision, as they had handled everything about the violence targeting its citizens incompetently.

“Here, I used my platform – local, continental and global — with reasonable leverage to do my bit on matters that concern my fellow citizens. I used my voice. used my reach. I have used my days here productively to push for a set of specific actions on the part of SA government,” she added.



  1. All Nigerians must be brought back immediately so that they can translate their unique skills in Nigeria not South African. Bring them back now

  2. So she claimed not to have been paid to attend WEF? Let’s see: Did she personally pay for her air ticket, hotel and board and other expenses? Sadly, those mostly impacted by these attacks are of the igbo stock and one would have imagined that that alone will preclude her from attending to show concern. Any wonder then that she’s a failed politician? Oby is part of the group of self-righteous Nigerians running around the globe looking for cheap sponsorship from Think Tanks and other Foundations to line their pockets. Nigeria gave so much to this woman; she became a Minister from no where, pushed into a World Bank manager’s position until her contract expired and now, rabidly bitter because Buhari did not give her a position in his government.

    • The IBOS are the ones selling drugs in South Africa ,an average IBO person practice nepotism ,they will come to your place and dominate you ,they call hardworking .

  3. It is disheartening that everyone who condemned Oby here is of one tribe. I just saw a people who are just expressing anger where there is no anger. She has made a statement that has nothing to do with promiscuity but out of her speech has given some people who do not know what it means to lead a people like Nigeria an opportunity to vomit their anger whether true or not. The case she stated as action 1-6 by the government, yet none has been carried out. Even airpeace that volunteered to evacuate Nigerians in SA free of charge have been turned down by the FG.

    • Airpeace can volunteering to airlift Nigerians without government approval, we should not be playing politics with all.

  4. Sir Jim Ovia sat on a panel with Madam Oby at WEF which was transmitted via live stream to the world. In that stream he made the unfortunate analogy of the dog wagging its tail and not the tail wagging the dog which was promptly rebutted by Madam Oby to the amusement of all present. it was only after this spoof that he released a statement and left for Nigeria. My point is that he like Madam Oby had the right as private citizens to travel to WEF and the right to choose how to use the platform and when to return. The governors and traditional ruler and other lower level functionaries were there on Government business as attested to by the Foreign minister on national Tv. They were caught dining with former SA president Thabo Mbeki. They seemed to have escaped the notice of the myriad citizens on social media that have spoken out against Madam Oby. This in my view only adds veracity to statement made by Madam Oby. Let us not embarrass ourselves further please.

  5. Oby you dey look for dollars to prepare you for 2023 election,
    which govt. that is after you? the government don’t have time for your kind of person, OBJ made you minister of education tell Nigerian your achievement, Oby na woman or na man self.

  6. All those who criticized her did so on social media how come she now accused government of criticism? This woman just wanted to be relevant and ends up making a mockery of her self.

  7. I think it is time Nigerian educated literates begin to educate the vulnerable ones, who could neither read nor write but are fantastically intelligent. Unfortunately, there are higher percentage of the so-called Nigerian political elites who are unpatriotic in their thought, behavior and action, among whom is this particular woman. She flirts ( not in sexual context) all around in order to become relevant. Her motive for championing Bring Back Girls (BBG) was to prepare the ground for political office or appointment. Oby is a hypocrite, a complete failure of unimaginable proportion.

  8. This woman is just a clown thinking the World should bow for her! If another person had attended, this same ugly woman should have carried placards. She is always a hypocrite

  9. Oby….you were wrong, whatever your intentions. It is patently unpatriotic to embrace what your country has boycotted on account of wanton destruction of the property of Nigerians. As one of your supporters (along with Sonala), I am disappointed.

    Yes, diplomacy will solve the problems eventually. Embassies will reopen and ambassadors will return to their jobs. But your betrayal will be remembered

  10. Madam you should apologize to your country people rather than accuse the government for your blunder.Tell us if one of those who lost their lives in south Africa is your blood relation or child, would you have attended WEF?. U should be ashamed of yourself.

  11. Madam Oby, actually I am one of those who hold you in high esteem before now, but attending the WEF should be one of the lowest points in your career in that you couldn’t rise above personal sentiment to align with your countrymen who were been unjustly killed. Please forget whatever issue you have with PMB and face reality. Accept this fact that you goofed

  12. Ezekwesili, those who condemned your action did so on social media, mainly Twitter. The FG said NOTHING to condemn you and as far as we know, the FG is not in charge of the social media!!

    He/she who has ears, let him/her hear what what people are saying and stop blaming the FG for EVERYTHING!!

  13. Madam, I took exception from your statement Ma. Jim Ovia was supposed to attend this conference, but he did not. There were other prominent Nigerians who were supposed to be there, but decided not to. It is your personal belief and what you want to gain.

    With due respect Ma, you could have showed love to your brothers and sisters, sons and daughters who are victims of the Xenophobia in South Africa by not attending the World Economic Forum. If you did not go eventually, God will still promote you and Nigerians in all we appreciate you for that. In fact, your blood brothers and sisters we equally love – the Ibos who were the largest victims of this Xenophobia.

    It is a pity; all Nigerians in South Africa need our prayers.

    • Don’t mind her please. Her tenure as Education Minister under OBJ was a colossal failure. She completely destabilised Unity Colleges then. Tub

    • Madam, you attended because of your personal and selfish interest. Stop deceiving Nigerians, you did absolutely nothing as minister of education therefore stop parading yourself as a defender of the poor

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