Nigeria’s 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.