Ezekwesili Carpets Lawmakers For Treating Okonjo-Iweala With Disrespect


A former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, on Saturday berated members of the House of Representatives for their rude treatment of the Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Mrs. Ezekwesili, a former World Bank Vice President (Africa), accused the lawmakers of not being ‘decorous’ when the House Committee on Finance walked out Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala out of their meeting on Thursday.

The finance minister, who had presented the 2014 Appropriation Bill before the House earlier on Thursday, however, turned round to say she was not feeling too well to withstand the rigors of responding to questions from the committee members regarding the state of the Nigerian economy.

Her response seemed to irk the lawmakers, who dismissed her but not before the chairman of the committee, Abdulmumini Jibrin, handed her a document containing 50 questions which they asked her to respond to in writing within two weeks.

But Mrs. Ezekwesili, who tweets via the handle @obyezeks, on Saturday said: “Gosh! Our National Assembly & lawmakers URGENTLY need SERIOUS TRAINING on Respectful Workplace Practices”.

According to her, more is expected of lawmakers as the only reason Nigeria is called a democracy is because of the National Assembly.

“These lawmakers need know this and be decorous! That fellow that was blatantly disrespectful to Okonjo-Iweala may not in the real world qualify to be her Research Assistant. Let’s face facts”, she said.

However, Mrs. Ezekwesili, who was the finance minister’s colleague during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, withdrew her tweet and apologized for her seeming remark about the educational qualification of one of the lawmakers.

“Ok, I agree. I was hard on him to compare his academic credentials with that of O-Iweala and so I take that tweet back. Forgive angry me!” she said.

Mrs. Ezekwesili, who was also a former minister of solid minerals, said when she was in government, whenever the National Assembly summoned her, she always turned up.

“I knew Okonjo-Iweala to be same. Surely, if the Committee Chairman was angry at her for having said she was slightly indisposed, she still deserved fair hearing. I expect our lawmakers to ask the toughest of questions in the discharge of their oversight role. But, do so with plenty of grace- with decorum”, she said.

According to her, disagreements are bound to occur but the language and tone matters a great deal in nurturing the culture of public debate which is core to democracies.

“Let’s get it right! I am huge on that language of disagreement. Disagree all you like but keep it clean of abuse and I will stay engaged. Abusers? Not on my TL [Timeline]!

“I keep coming back to the issue of the language of disagreement in our Democracy. We can’t afford to keep it as base and militaristic as it is.

“On the substance of the ‘50 Questions for Okonjo-Iweala”, It is a MIXED GRILL that could have benefited from deeper knowledge of Basic Economics,” she said.


  1. Why is it now that she is been called upon that she realized she was in disposed? All na wayo, make dem comot make dem give us (the fresh blood ) chance make we lean abi den won die put? She was d world bank president yet can’t manage NNPC, privatization is the order of d day i.e PHCN, refinery etc noting like BASIC AMENITIES. All the opportunities given to you fix Nigeria that you all use to enrich your pocket, Your CHILDREN ll bear the CONSEQUENCE in JESUS NAME. AMEN

  2. It is quite unfortunate that Ezekwesili is talking this way because Okonjo messed herself before the committee.It is high time we need to understand that any of the houses is superior than any citizen.When Obasanjo was invited the other time as a sitting president of the country,he responded politely but for a Minister,which she was only opportune to be,because she’s the brain behind the economy collapse of this country,got to the house to say she’s sick is highly embarrassing to the country.I tell you no one owns her any apology as she needs to see herself serving us but not above anyone.
    Being a former vice president to any bank is not an issue in Nigeria.Why not rejected the ministerial appointment and remain in the bank?We need some political enlightenment.Thank you

    • @Oladokun & Bunmi, I am not surprise at ur comments cos people, from ur region are just to sentimental when it comes to issues like these, u are always one-way sided, had it b Okonjo is from ur region u will be the 1st person to castigate those nuisance and bunch of rogues that parade them selves as House of Reps Members for not accorded Okonjo, respect due to her.

  3. I am surprised @ what some of my colleagues ( youths) of our Great Nation Nigeria are commenting on unprofessional manner the committee in question displayed toward the Hon. Minister of the Federal Republic of Great Nigeria. The Assembly had early demanded the presidency to submit the Budget between a stipulated date Convenience to both parties, and our president whom has always presented the same Budget for several yrs. For one official reason or the other the President could not present the Budget in person, rather, he followed by the constitution choosing Okonjo Iweala as the most qualified person to present the Budget on his Behalf. You don’t expect the Minister to continually telling the President (her Boos) that she can not present the Budget due to milled illness. She only made it known to the Committee members that her calm response is not in connection with their questions, rather, she is not 100 percent fit due to slide illness. Mind you her presence is to be regarded as the president presence; hence she is representing the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It simply implies that they would have done the same thing to Mr. President if he was present at the time. Let’s keep sentiment aside and focus on Good Governance. In as much as she was audible enough to catch their attention at the point of arrival and during discussion, they should have equally accorded her the opportunity to defend the Budget. Alternatively, dismiss her with respect. I watched the Clip quite clear and their was no sport where she disrespected the law makers. She accorded them with due respect.
    I strongly believe that this caliber of Law makers should be sent for moral training. We as youth with genuine intentions without any recourse of political affiliate or political Parties should stand up and correct our leaders when they go wrong in this manner.
    The time has come for the youth to run the World with genuine intentions. How old is South Korean President? Is he running the country well or not? Nigeria is not an exception!