Twist in Petition to Withdraw Okonjo-Iweala’s Yale Doctorate
*As another Nigerian starts petition against petitioner
* Signatures shoot up to 4,581
By Chiemelie Ezeobi
There has been a twist in the petition by Mr. Sunday Iwalaiye against the award of an honorary doctorate degree byYale University in the USA to Nigeria’s Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Another Nigerian, one Anozie Chinomnso, has started up another petition against Iwalaiye, asking Morgan State University to withdraw the Post-Baccalaureate certificate in Administration and Supervision awarded to him.
Approximately 2,534 additional signatures had been collected to make the figure of those who have signed the petition against Okonjo-Iweala shoot up to 4,581 from 2,047 as at Thursday evening.
The number of signatues shot up as the news about the petition started by Sunday Iwalaiye, a Nigerian resident in the United States, went viral.
Okonjo-Iweala had been awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters on Monday, May 18, 2015 during Yale’s Commencement ceremony in New Haven, Connecticut, alongside eight others.
The petition against her, which is being hosted on Change.org, the world’s largest petition platform, revealed that the page generated mixed reactions amongst Nigerians.
In his petition against Iwalaiye, which has garnered 290 signatures as at Friday evening, Chinonso wrote, “There is absolutely no doubt about the qualifications of Dr. Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in matters of financial management and dexterity at handling economies considering her educational pedigree.
“This Harvard-trained economist earned her Ph.D from MIT in Regional Economic Development, a discipline through which she has contributed immensely for over three decades now, helping the economies of several nations and stamping the name of Nigeria solidly in the … history of global economics.
“Her brilliance and apt understanding of economics on both regional and global scale saw her blazing trails with her illustrious career at the World Bank. In terms of her contribution to Nigeria’s economy, it is pertinent to note the following.
“In 2005, under her watch as Minister of finance, she secured a debt write-off for Nigeria with the Paris Club to the tune of 18 billion dollars.
” It is pertinent to note that prior to securing the debt write-off, Nigeria was groaning under the burden of one billion dollars per-annum debt servicing portfolio, where this amount is spent servicing debts without the principal being touched.
“Consequent upon this debt cancellation, the then Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo was given a lifeline to handle developmental projects and the general welfare of citizens.
“She left the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo when it became clear that his administration has allegedly derailed from impacting on the welfare of citizens and development of the nation to blind third-term ambition.
“On her return to Nigeria as Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for The Economy, she oversaw Nigeria’s economy becoming the largest economy in Africa, beyond that of South Africa and Egypt. This is by no means a small feat.
“The fight on corruption in the out-going administration of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan using ICT saw to the weeding out of decades-long ghost workers, over 70,000 of them, saving the nation billions of dollars in both the near and far term.
“She introduced a new and high threshold of transparency in governance in Nigeria by insisting on making public the monthly allocation of State Governments in the federation, a first in the history of Nigeria and and action that by no small measure has raised the bar of national discourse.
“However, these landmark achievements have not stopped her detractors from continuing to witch-hunt and harass her based on her gender.
“However, Mr. Sunday Iwalaiye has crossed the line of professionalism and ethics by twisting facts at best but mostly telling outright lies in an apparent hate mission on Dr. Okonjo-Iweala.
“It is constructive to note that Mr. Sunday Iwalaiye is a staunch opposition supporter, an opposition against the outgoing administration of which Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is a key figure.
“Telling outright lies in an effort to cast aspersions on the career or personality of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is the height of unethical practice and unprofessionalism.”