Go, Ngo, Go: This Battle Is Not Yours By Sonala Olumhense

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala-AFP photo
Columnist: 
Sonala Olumhense

First, let me say that I now fully believe that there are two Ngozi Okonjo-Iwealas. 

The first is the one who, when she is in Washington, DC, longs to come home, where home is Nigeria.  The other is the one who, when she is in Nigeria, longs desperately for home, home being Washington, DC. 

Each is a bold, confident woman, her head resplendent in a colourful Nigerian head-wrap.

Without being told, the current one is the latter.  Officially, she is interested in the job-opening atop the World Bank, and fully believes she should be the new boss.

If I were to be the world’s World Bank’s hiring manager, and they gave me the curriculum vitae of the three contenders, I would need no more than one sip of my coffee.  I would rip up the other two CVs and immediately recommend the Nigerian woman.  Her track record, for the job in question, see, is unimpeachable. 

But I do not handle Human Resources for the World Bank.  I am a Nigerian whose principal interest—as Mrs. Okonjo and I negotiate our 50s—is Nigeria. 

Now, many Nigerians, as well as some foreigners and organizations, support Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the economy, for the job. 

The lady is serious about her ambition, too.  In a key campaign statement last week, said that if she won the top job, she would adopt as her priority the creation of jobs for the world’s young people.

Personally, I think Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala is working too hard.  But she must understand: Nigerians are not singing themselves hoarse for her to go and create jobs for anyone; we are sending her to Washington to rebrand our image. 

We are not sending her there to achieve; we are sending her there as a country to massage our fragile and battered ego.  When she goes there and assumes the seat, she will demonstrate that we are unlike anything they are saying about us, like insincere or unserious. 

That is all, and because that is the job description, the entire thing about creating jobs in order to avert an imminent spring—Arab, Nigerian or otherwise—is an overkill.  All she has to do is sit her rear end down at the bank, adjust her fancy head-wrap, and before the television cameras start to roll, ensure that the legend in front of her says, “Ngozi, President.”

This is particularly important from the Nigerian point of view because once she takes her seat in Washington, we will be fulfilled as a people.  Imagine it, a Nigerian as head of the World Bank!  In addition to the prestige she will bring us and the accolades she will be mailing home and the songs she will inspire on YouTube; instant poetry on Facebook, and monumental chatter on Twitter, she will make that yeye Central Bank of Nigeria look like a Bureau de Change at Onitsha Market.  In no time at all, she will have us overflowing in all of the world’s major currencies, with a branch of the bank in Asokoro or Maitama.  Imagine how massively business will pick up within the People’s Democratic Party!  Better still, imagine how Africa’s biggest party will become a massive force in Washington, with Ngo leading Patience by the hand under an umblella to eat lunch with Mitchell and Barak!

With all these goodies in our near future, I reiterate that Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala should not stress herself too much on the campaign trail.  Justifying herself last week, she said, “I have an advantage of knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the institution being somebody who has managed a complex economy in a developing country.”

And then, shooting from the penalty spot, she said, “The World Bank has the ability to combine the strength of the World Bank Group, the International Finance Corporation, (IFC), and MIGA, in terms of bringing to bear all its instruments to help countries solve this problem and by creating an environment in which the private sector can be a creator of jobs.”

As I said, we do not care, biko.  Here in Nigeria, our people may be looking for jobs but we are not trying to create jobs, and nobody knows that better than our Ngo.  Remember that in 2004, she was one of those who put together the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), which, we were assured, would cure employment in Nigeria before our very eyes. 

NEEDS, when the scheme was launched early in 2004, would create seven million jobs within three years, they told us, one million of them before the end of the year alone.

They also said NEEDS would lift Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product from 4.6 percent in 2003 to 7 percent in 2007 at the end of Obasanjo’s second term, and--during the same swashbuckling era—drag inflation from 11 per cent down to 9 percent, while uplifting electricity from 4000 megawatts to 10,000.

That was when it became clear NEEDS was a political document, not an economic one.  They were building a roof, but there was no foundation.  Actually, President Olusegun had first announced NEEDS at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2003, six months ahead of its launching.   Six months after that launching, there was nothing to indicate that the much-advertised “economic reform” scheme had commenced.  In this column, I asked: “And this “strategy,” this vacuum, this smoke-and-mirrors will yield one million jobs by the end of 2004, and two million more in each of the following three years?  Is NEEDS counting “jobs” in armed robbery and political thuggery, or is Professor Peller, the famous magician, now on the economic team of President Obasanjo?”

I expected no answer, and I received none.  It was the original 419.

Let me date-stamp all of this: Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala was a key member of the powerful “economic reform team” of that hour.  In just months, NEEDS slipped into folklore; nobody from that team has acknowledged its existence since then, let alone taken responsibility for any of its deception.

Certainly not our World Bank President-In-Waiting, who, when Obasanjo re-deployed her, immediately became homesick for Washington, DC.  She was there when President Jonathan begged her to come back less than one year ago.  Nefertiti returned with a flourish, a new-age heroine who had come to set her people free.

Weeks later, on August 25, 2011 at a media briefing to showcase the government’s economic priorities, she said that the major thrust of the administration's economic agenda was “jobs and pro-jobs growth.” 

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala did something else on that day.  She spoke of the much-awaited “Transforming Nigeria Document,” a mysterious guide that has remained unpublished until this day.  The import is that the Jonathan government is “transforming” the country without a guide, like a blind man crossing Ikorodu Road without breaking a stride.

On that occasion, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala also said that the Transforming Nigeria Document and the “Vision 20:2020 blueprint” would remain the bedrock of the economic agenda.

But Vision 20:2020 is a myth, like transformation, or NEEDS, or reform, or the war against corruption.  Only last month, the former Governor of the Central Bank, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, and one of the brains behind NEEDS, disclosed the whimsical origins of Vision 20:2020: “The impetus was the Goldman Sachs report on the BRIC countries (Brazil; Russia; India; and China) and the next 11 countries (N-11), which included Nigeria,” he said.  It predicted that Nigeria could be among the 20 largest economies in 2025.

“We were reviewing the report with the President one morning and we noted that some of the parameters used by Goldman Sachs such as GDP rate were far less than the actual growth rates for Nigeria as at 2004 and 2005. Then, President Obasanjo said, in that case, Nigeria could reach the goal much earlier. At the televised national dialogue between the public and private sector on that day…Obasanjo enunciated the Vision 2020. If you count 2006, this would be the 7th year since the Vision was announced and eight years before 2020…we all know it is not achievable…it remains a wish list. The numbers simply do not add up. At best, it is a good slogan and an interesting joke.”

Remember that when Soludo says, “we,” he means that small group of economic “whiz kids” that included Okonjo-Iweala.  They knew V-2020 was unachievable at that time; they know it remains “an interesting joke” today.  Yet the same Okonjo-Iweala, just months ago, was still swearing by V-2020.

The moral of this story is that Ngozi—whoever the real Ngozi is—knows the truth, which is that Nigeria is “a tale told by an idiot,” and manipulable by any dunce.  She probably came back for the romance of it all last year, but has since then unveiled herself as being neither whiz-kid nor Queen Amina.  In Abuja, she blended with the incompetence, the malfeasance, and the insincerity.  The World Bank presidency is certainly no more than instant recognition, for her, that it is time to separate the goats from the (e)scapegoats.

And so, I say, go, Ngo, go.  Nigeria was never worth nursing to health, and in nobody can say you didn’t spend a few Naira’s worth of patriotism.  So, shake the sands off your feet, for you have better things to do.  Let Nigeria, and all those who believed Nigeria needed you here, watch you swagger into the distance.

Sooner or later, they will understand Washington needs you much more than Abuja or Yola or Sapele.  And oh, don’t bother to switch off the light; it was never on.  

•    sonala.olumhense@gmail.com
 

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Bye, Ngozi....abi Naija no be wahala ke...?

First I see Ngosi wanting to replicate the likes of Liberia's Shirleaf-Johnson. Hardly would that work out unless she first adopts Queen Amina's tactics. Absenting that and coupled with the bare-bone fact that GEJ's administartion is garbbage, Ngozi by now would have realized the futility of associating herself with irredemable bad eggs and their useless ideas. No one within the GEJ gang would tackle issues with such high-energy that Ngozi has been used to at MIT. Her deafening silence in defending her position on such conepts as the stupidly termed 20:20/20 shows her level of disdain for the masses. Bye, Ngo! GEJ just readied a jet for your final departure!

Physician, Heal Thyself first!

I would rather Ngozi stands for this exalted office on her own and win. Yes, I pray she wins on her own merit and representing the aspiration and possibility of ambition. I don't want Nigeria to have anything to do with it because Nigeria does not deserve it.
People are clamoring for a black to win it, what for and for what purpose? Physician, heal thyself first. Why can't we truly demonstrate that God created both the white and the black the same way by showing we are decent human beings able to do decent things and capable of achieving noble goals.
It does not do the candidacy of Ngozi any good to be associated with a country that is failing on all fronts rather, associating her candidacy with Nigeria diminishes it.

greatful for doing what? how

greatful for doing what? how has her woking as minister twice improved your life? between 1999 and now, is your life better or worse and you must answer these question with all honesty, forget about sentiments. she may have come with good intention, but the hawks in power will never allow achieve anything meaningful. the poor woman has now seen an opportunity to escape. she has probably been suffering in silence, but nothing say says when things are not working the way you expect them to, that you should not resign.

Say No! to "Bring Her Down Syndrome"

Sola, I really do not know what informed the publication of this article at a time when all hands are on deck to have an African lead the most powerful financial institution in the world for the first time. I am happy you acknowledged the impeccable credentials of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in relation to the World Bank job. I am also happy that you acknowledged the benefits Nigeria and, indeed, Africa would derive with Ngozi in that position. Again, if I may ask: Why do you chose this time to criticize her in relation to some of the programmes she initiated while serving as Minister of the FRN such as NEEDS. Me and you know the many factors that were responsible for the failure of these programmes to achieve their aims.

a tale told by an idiot

this whole write up is a tale told by an .......@\?$#

Ongozi-World Bank?

Well, it may be worthy to know that, your resume as a financial Wiz may not be enough to over ride the Compassion and care that superseed the rest of the resume.What have you done to aleviate the level of poverty in Nigeria? You have always served the interest of the Big Lenders.Goldman Sach,Leman brothers etc.You stood firm until we Nigeria paid their debt-Obasanjo's design.Now you came back to make sure the (fuel increase) subsidy is implemented .(Jonathan-World Bank).What else? Your senders are expecting you ernestly.

Yeah! Right! Would you prefer

Yeah! Right! Would you prefer it be called "an idoit told by a tale" This lack of imagination comes from squinting as copy is written by candle light in the absence of electricity!

Okay, objection noted! So in

Okay, objection noted! So in typical Nigerian style we hereby change it to "än idiot told by a tale" and have done! Satisfied? yes? no?

I OBJECT TO MY COUNTRY BEING DESCRIBED AS A FOOLISH TALE

I deeply object to my country being described as “a tale told by an idiot".

When will people like you be

When will people like you be grateful to this Virtous Woman.
Go and download her presentation from www.ted.com then u will appreciate her.
The GSM u're using today that has created millions of job whose ideal was it?.
I wish she will not be nominated for the WB job inorder for her to fix our economy.
If we don't appreciate people like NGO around us then, who?
She needs encouragement to fix our economy, and this country where more than 95% of the populace have very low Moral & Ethical Values.
God Bless 9ja.

GOING NO WHERE

Some of these comments do not make any sense at all. If you guys do not know, the President of the World Bank is always reserve for an American. Why did the supporters of Iweala did not push for her to become the Managing Director of the IMF when the former MD resigned. Obama has the right to pick anyone and I support him. Why pick someone that is from the most corrupt country in the world?

she never got your help in the first place.

ever since she set out to become a great woman people like you disqualified her but the world recognized her brilliance. Nigerans are so backward that they cannot differentiate a reformer from a thief. she simply does not fit into this backward nation. the world bank will be happy to welcome her in any capacity. she may lost this contest because of international politics but corruption and incompetence will certainly not be a reason. please madam, go to a nations that will celebrate you.

Ngo 4 WB President

It's not a matter of whether Ngo is qualified for the post or not but we are perusing her profile - past and present, and comfortably concluded that it was of mixed-grilled. The writer espouses on her stint as Minister in Nigeria which obviously shows worst of her performance. Should we need to recommend her for the topnotch job then with her role in subsidy removal and as Priest-In-Chief of SURE documents an epistle that was subsequently disowned by his Author then she should be counting her loss for working with GEJ to inflict more sufferings on Nigerians.

Ngozi/World Bank: Black Belle the Hallmark of Nigerians

Sis Ngozi: God has destined you for greatness World Bank President or Not. The Red carpet under your feet [Financial times etc]cannot be made in Nigerian to warrant any SR gaeto laundry cleaner to wash for you. Black belle the hallmark of Nigerians. We like good things but we don't want any thing Nigerian to be judged Good by others. Carry on sister carry on

What I think we need hence I talked about call Diasporans to hel

What a treatise this is! What I want to ask in D euphoria, have D advisers sat down to consider how it could be that under D weight of campaign against Obama by groups in both ‘Republican & D Tea parties’, America would just let Dr. Okonjo-Iweala walk into D WB & take charge, in this day and age? I’ll ask U guys how many have followed campaigns by D 3 ‘musketeers’ ganged against Obama to really forecast what D result would be 4 Ngozi! From my point of consider having read the contents above why not she oversees D economic coordinating team for 3 years thereafter put fillers 4 D WB post as a mark of respect/ recognition for Obama’s ambition also for a 2nd -Term! By which time she will have set D foundation 4 that 20;2020 properly 4 Nigeria & if Obama remains D President of U.S. surely she will stand D better chance to cross over! How I wished they took my suggestion about her coming; if they did we shall all be singing a refrain & D crescendo would reverberate over Africa!

What I think we need hence I talked about call Diasporans to hel

What a treatise this is! What I want to ask in D euphoria, have D advisers sat down to consider how it could be that under D weight of campaign against Obama by groups in both ‘Republican & D Tea parties’, America would just let Dr. Okonjo-Iweala walk into D WB & take charge, in this day and age? I’ll ask U guys how many have followed campaigns by D 3 ‘musketeers’ ganged against Obama to really forecast what D result would be 4 Ngozi! From my point of consider having read the contents above why not she oversees D economic coordinating team for 3 years thereafter put fillers 4 D WB post as a mark of respect/ recognition for Obama’s ambition also for a 2nd -Term! By which time she will have set D foundation 4 that 20;2020 properly 4 Nigeria & if Obama remains D President of U.S. surely she will stand D better chance to cross over! How I wished they took my suggestion about her coming; if they did we shall all be singing a refrain & D crescendo would reverberate over Africa!

Isn't it an irony that GEJ is

Isn't it an irony that GEJ is so eager to push away this his so much-priced possession?

Confused analysis

You're such a confused analysis craving for attention. You cherish no good thing. You celebrate mediocrity. Dr. Iweala is a great brand that will not be brought down by your confused pen. You'd better pick on another character. Definitely not the global brand Iweala doing this country proud.

Go Ngo, go!

Ebele Jonathan is also campaigning for her. My ribs are breaking with laughter. He has lost belief in the CME or has she beeen a stumbling block to the thievery going on at the Petroleum Ministry and so needs to be dispatched to pave way for the party unhindered? What's the argument now? Will she impact the Nigerian economy more from the WB? At any rate, the light was never on, she should not bother to switch it off (apologies to SO)!

Ayekooto, so you sef nor understand satire, hehehe!

Unlike the famous Yoruba writer whose name you borrow, it is obvious you have a problem grasping satire. "Castigate, criticise and condemn"? On the contrary, this article only raises questions. It is critical, but it presents the facts. I suppose you would have been thrilled to see this woman praised and applauded, but the questions raised are valid: what is the true value to Nigeria, of the job she is applying for? Is her track record the gold and glitter people want to make us believe it is?

As I said, if you do not understand satire, you do not, no matter the quality of the English you pretend to speak. "Base of intelligence with your critical philosophy" ko!

Funny

The import is that the Jonathan government is “transforming” the country without a guide, like a blind man crossing Ikorodu Road without breaking a stride.

Go, Ngo, Go!

This is a fantastic write-up on who Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is - the best testimonial for her. A development Economist thinks of job creation, but what has NOI accomplished in Nigeria since OBJ's time? She has been promising job creation - where are the jobs?

The vacant World Bank position is an escape route for her as she has no idea on how to manage and safeguard Nigeria's finances from the hawks (President and legislators) who are greedily dipping their hands into the commonwealth. Its such a pity that she may not get the WB job. If she got it eventually though, it is good riddance to bad rubbish.

Of what value is NOI to the

Of what value is NOI to the common man with her economic brilliance and credentials, in comparison to Dr Kim, who has had direct impact with the poor through his charitable works. Let's not forget that there are usually divine connotations to almost every human endeavour.

Ng baby !

Sonala, you are simply too much ooo! Abeg make we allow Ngo baby to bail out honourably. Would you blame her ? This country is beyond redemption. Do you know the latest ? Erastus Akingbola is FREE !He did no wrong ! It was all EFCC's fault !!!!!!

Nigerians, it is only a matter of time, monkey go go market e no go return. Mark my words !

ngo

Dont bother switching off the light,there never was one.Hmm,top of the top.

The real NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA

This is great, profound and penetrating character analysis of the lady called Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. I am glad some people are able to wade through the annoying maze of confused praises and look at her critically, and see her for what she is. Just like this other writer who also looked hard at Ngozi and painted an excellent character portrait of her. follow this link to read the article:
http://www.ugowrite.blogspot.com/2012/01/nigeria-return-of-ngozi-okonjo-...

It is a must read.

The real NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA

This is great, profound and penetrating character analysis of the lady called Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. I am glad some people are able to wade through the annoying maze of confused praises and look at her critically, and see her for what she is. Just like this other writer who also looked hard at Ngozi and painted an excellent character portrait of her. follow this link to read the article:
http://www.ugowrite.blogspot.com/2012/01/nigeria-return-of-ngozi-okonjo-...

It is a must read.

The real NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA

This is great, profound and penetrating character analysis of the lady called Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. I am glad some people are able to wade through the annoying maze of confused praises and look at her critically, and see her for what she is. Just like this other writer who also looked hard at Ngozi and painted an excellent character portrait of her. follow this link to read the article:
http://www.ugowrite.blogspot.com/2012/01/nigeria-return-of-ngozi-okonjo-...

It is a must read.

NGOZI , I THINK YOU DESERVE THE POSITION

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its free you got nothing to loose but all to gain....click on the link bellow and signup. trust me!

http://signup.wazzub.info/?lrRef=9cc4254e

Olumhense: To the Cynic, Everything and Everyone would Appear Ne

Dear Olumhense, as a student of literary art I commend your writing style; but as a student of Life, I abhor the content of your writeup. I have a few of your articles and I dare say that you and your SR colleagues are spruce up to castigate, criticise and condemn. I read some of the comments of those who praised you for this article, and I chuckled when I think about what you would have written about them if you were to observe their lives through your microscope.

I'm in my late 30s and you said you are in your 50s, so I cannot reprimand you as I would have loved to; but suffice to say that it doesn't take much intelligence to highlight human foibles - as we humans are bunch of errors in various degrees. But it takes superior intelligence to read through the imperfect surface and trumpet the greatness in every human and system.

I'm afraid you and your SR colleagues operate at the base of intelligence with your critical philosophy.

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