Interviews

“As Minister, I could not afford to pay my mother’s rent” – Obiageli Ezekwesili

Erstwhile Minister of Education and ‘Solid Minerals, Obiageli Ezekwesili, revealed that while serving as Minister during Obasanjo’s administration, she could not afford to pay her mother’s rent at times.

Ezekwesili made the comments on Thursday, 13 November, while speaking at the ongoing national convention of the Foursquare Gospel Church, at the Foursquare Camp, Ajebo, Ogun State.

The former World Bank Vice President addressed the congregation on the topic,- “Integrity.”

She would also disclose that while serving as Minister, her children were withdrawn from their school to ‘Baptist Special School’.

She stated, “There were times I couldn’t pay my mother’s rent, not because I couldn’t make a choice and build her a mansion. When I was in government, we had to withdraw our three children from their school to Baptist Special School. I was (just) answering big titles. Some of you would have said, ‘They are eating our money’. May God save those who speak without knowledge! I am not saying this so that you can say I am holy, I have my shortcomings.”

“Integrity will cost you a lot. Anyone who talks about integrity without the cost is preaching what I do not know about. Integrity can require a supreme cost from you. You will be persecuted for making the choice of integrity but make that choice nonetheless.”

Ezekwesili, who is one of the leaders of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, attributed her activism to God and her strong family background.

“I had to ask God to help me identify scriptural verses and the heroes and heroines that made the right choices when it was required. My foundation was strong in the areas of values. My father would say to us, ‘A good name is better than gold and all the riches of the earth.’ Man is incapable of giving me anything God has not given to me.”

She would also state that her inability to remain indifferent led her to join the campaign to pressure the Federal Government to rescue the 219 schoolgirls kidnapped at the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, in April.

“The 219 children of the poor remind me of my own poor background before I became a beneficiary of what God has done. God forbids that Oby Ezekwesili will be in this land and 219 girls, who went to get the same education that I got, were abducted and I will pretend as if nothing happened.”

“It was clear in my mind that all kinds of things will be said, but I don’t do jobs; I only do assignments. God said to me that concerning these girls, I should be their voices. In February, 59 boys were slaughtered in their school and we all carried on as if nothing happened. You read my citation,” she added.

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