Former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, has revealed that she could not afford to pay her mother’s rent while serving in government.
During a live interview at the ongoing national convention of the Foursquare Gospel Church in Ogun State on Thursday, PUNCH reports that the former minister had been invited to speak to the congregation on the topic, “Integrity.” That was when she told the congregation that integrity comes with its cost, adding that she did not spend from her imprest accounts as minister of Solid Minerals, and later, Education.
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,’’ she said.
Ezekwesili, who was a former Vice President (Africa Region) of the World Bank, however, attributed her activism to God and 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 added.
Asked why she chose to be an advocate for the 219 schoolgirls kidnapped at the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, in April, Ezekwesili said she could not afford to pretend ‘as if nothing happened’, adding that criticisms would not deter her from pressurising the Federal Government to rescue the girls.
“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 said.