Why Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala should be the next president of the World Bank

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#OccupyNigeria: For all the beautiful children murdered in January for standing up to the myrmidons of our darkness

I fully expect Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to be the next president of the World Bank. Her rejection as the first African to run the World Bank would be wrong on many levels. There is no one else better primed to execute the obnoxious policies of the World Bank against African and brown nations than Okonjo-Iweala. Her current tour of duty, although disastrous to Nigeria and her poor, has given her an impeccable resume to spread the World Bank’s gospel of uncritical capitalism and indifference to the world’s poor and dispossessed. Okonjo-Iweala has the playbook down pat, for those of us who still remember #OccupyNigeria, that uprising of Nigerian youths against the Okonjo-Iweala-led World-Bank endorsed policies against the poor, that uprising that was quashed with ruthless efficiency and that  left several young people dead for exercising their rights of association and protest.

No shrinking violet, Okonjo-Iweala has mounted an aggressive and fairly effective campaign for the presidency of the World Bank.  South Africa has endorsed her and The African Union has a beautifully penned hagiography in support of the candidacy here that should make even Okonjo-Iweala blush with excitement. There is a sense of entitlement here, but hey, regardless, she is going to be a vast improvement over the sad sack of odium that was the IMF’s Dominique Strauss Kahn.

As an institution, the World Bank is an ancient bureaucratic relic whose time has come and gone. Now it is mostly a mean cudgel for meeting the West’s imperial needs in developing countries, aided by many of Africa’s intellectual and political elite. The fawning over Okonjo-Iweala by Westerners has been comic. Early in March, the Economist started out of the gate by braying Okonjo-Iweala’s term of endearment, Iron Lady.  Well, She definitely is no Margaret Thatcher, let’s not be patronizing. David Smith of the Observer leads the pack of hagiographies but unwittingly makes Okonjo-Iweala look like some sort of Don Quixote tilting at windmills, rather than a serious economist. You would think he just sighted a simian using twigs as an instrument to fish termites out of a log. There is more crowing here by Lant Pritchett of the Guardian. Annie Lowry of The New York Times has a more nuanced piece here on the three top candidates: Dr. Jim Young Kim, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Jose Antonio Ocampo. The New York Times does have a more dignified editorial in which it appears to lean towards Okonjo-Iweala but it is loud in what it does not say about her candidacy.

What the West will not say in public is in the intelligence briefings that made President Barack Hussein Obama avoid her like the plague and go for Kim. Again, anyone in doubt should remember #OccupyNigeria. Okonjo-Iweala and her colleagues in Aso Rock, and NASS, that pretend-legislature, callously rammed through one of the most obnoxious taxes on the poor in the history of Black Africa. Again, many Nigerian youths died protesting this outrage on the majority by a privileged few screwing Nigeria for their own benefit. Under normal circumstances, were Okonjo-Iweala a Westerner or white, she and her bumbling team would have been fired for gross incompetence. The show of double standards is galling and maddening. Kim’s works have been given intense scrutiny and rigorous analysis while Okonjo-Iweala has been described in patronizing terms, with absolutely no mention of her views or documented works and her deadly role in the subsidy removal fiasco of this past January. But she is African and the world recoils when it comes to holding Africa’s political and intellectual elite accountable. That would mean, finally, Africa is on an upward trajectory, perish that thought.

It would be interesting to know what intelligence America’s White House had on all the candidates that made Obama choose Kim, someone whose views are actually full of compassion and common sense and seem to go against the grain of what the World Bank now stands for. In any case, Obama in my view has become an apostle of orthodoxy in thought and governance and it takes one to know and avoid one. Besides Obama has no history of respect for Africa and Africans. If he does he has a strange way of showing it; his tenure so far has lacked any coherent foreign policy when it comes to Africa. President Bush was a better friend of Africa, by far.

But I digress. When Okonjo-Iweala departs for the World Bank, she will be leaving Nigeria much worse than she found it. That is the most compelling reason why she deserves the World Bank presidency. Nigerians need a break. Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment would be the most eloquent marker of how seriously the world takes Africans as human beings. As a parent, I personally hold Okonjo-Iweala and the Nigerian leadership responsible for the numerous youths who were murdered and maimed early this year by the state for exercising their rights. Again, no Western leader could have survived that mess, not one. The world shrugs its shoulders routinely and rewards African incompetence, corruption and brutality. That is why certified wife-beaters, petty crooks and murderers are paraded on the world stage as “African statesmen.” This is how to keep Africa in perpetual bondage. The World Bank is good at that.

The presidency of the World Bank would be a wonderful homecoming for Okonjo-Iweala one of their own. It is interesting to me that the same African intellectuals and activists who constipated the Internet with anti-subsidy rants have been quiet. Indeed the few vocal ones are actively lobbying for her appointment. That is how we roll in Africa. I was one of several that protested the policies of the World Bank in January, how soon we forget. For the children that were murdered in the struggle for Nigeria, may their sacrifice not end up being for nothing. For my mother in the hellhole that serves as her village in Nigeria, the beating goes on. And the beat goes on. From the White House to the World Bank, Africa is screwed by her own. Farewell, I hope, and pray, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Related posts:

The Economist, March 31, 2012: Hats off to Ngozi

BloombergBusinessWeek, April 4, 2012: Former World Bank Managers Endorse Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Sonala Olumhense, April 2, 2012: Go, Ngo, Go: This Battle Is Not Yours

26 Replies to “Why Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala should be the next president of the World Bank”

  1. If you can achieve just one percent of her personal and professional discipline and consistency,Nigeria will be a better place, all these rabble rousing based on ethnic rivalry cannot diminish at all one of the greatest women that lives today, occupy my nyash

    1. ‘based on ethnic rivalry’?……..really? how is that?
      “If you can achieve just one percent of her personal and professional discipline and consistency”…………can you please list those ‘achievements’ for us? Any researched publication(s) to her name? Any publication in a peer-review journal? Any articulated economic theory?

      Abeg, criticise Ikhedi’s post with facts not emotional stunts…….leave that for scoundrels………

      1. You dey mind them? People with nothing to say jumping into every affray with mad-hatter accusations? ethnic rivalry? pettiness of mind will not come the baser!

    1. “she is centuries away from your reach.”………really? Interesting.

      Can you please justify your above statement?

      Easy to resort to nuanced blackmail and personal attacks when you can’t disprove something. Why not write your own rebuttal to Ikhide’s post rather than this pathetic attempt?

  2. I personally view Ikhide Ikheloa’s article as the ‘pull down syndrome of most Nigerians’ mind. We write/say baseless things where we have nothing to offer.

    1. “We write/say baseless things where we have nothing to offer.”

      Exactly what you’ve just displayed. I would have expected you to justify your claim of a ‘PHD’ with facts and counter arguments to Ikhide’s article not just writing “baseless things”.

  3. Beautiful piece…just as I expected…people with little or no understanding of the various national dynamics will come up with half baked comments to insults

  4. What are her achievements? What achievements should deprive any citizen of the right to critique and overhaul anybody who comes into the public service. Ngozi is doing NOONE a favour by serving her Nigeria under OBJ or GEJ. She wasn’t conscripted! And even if she was, the right to scrutinize her capacity and motives are unassailable. So those of you who think we all want to be defined by kowtowing to anti-people institutions are really the one’s who need to go get a life. Achievement? Minister in a dysfunctional republic but everything coming apart at the seams? rubbish upon stilts!

  5. Haba Nigerians.
    I see this has already taken an ethnic bent. Of all that is written here, the blogger has neither attacked her tribe or her achievements. He hasn’t said she isn’t competent. Actually he has said the opposite. Remove your ethnic logs and see clearly.
    Besides, technically he is wishing her the very best. Make she go join her Harvard/Oxford mates.

  6. Being a part of a currupt regime in Nigeria is a dent on her credentials ,,,commenting on the curruption in Nigeria one official said,”its not that the offials are corrupt but curruption is official in Nigeria”.

  7. When I read through the comments, i saw that there is problem of understanding of english, to me this piece is not hard to understand, as it offers more points that show she is better for the post than being a minister in the country, where her effort from past to present has not been hailed either by the past leader or the present nigerian – subsidy saga. i think this area confuses their understanding. invariably you dont need her as minister, but you want her to become the WBP!

  8. Nigerians!why are we like this???you bros that has enough time to type like this,are you perfect? Have you not done one or two bad in the past? Please lets support our own,if she gets there and has no impact,’na she sabi’.

  9. Europe and the US are against her candidature and they control over 54% of the voting block..Her role in Jonathan regime is a minus to her..e.g #occupy Nigeria saga..she was unable to explained clearly their policy,they were trying to pull the wool over our faces…whatver she achieved for being world bank president is clearly for her personal gratification !

    1. @ shina.. i suppose same europe and america controls not only a majority of the votes but also influncies the strategic policies of the world bank
      you guys at occupyNigeria gave us the impression that Ngozi Okonjor Iweala was pursuing an IMF/WORLD BANK Agenda with the subsidy removal.
      So how come her bosses ie the Neo Colonial Capitalist Nations of Europe and America are bent on not supporting her bid to head the World Bank.? Why would they not want their beautiful and loyal stooge to head their WB?
      Enough of the lies please. okonjor’s removal of fuel subsidy would have had severe negative and harsh effect on the economies of most of these imperialist nations and their multi national coorperations which had fed fat on the corruption and pillage known as subsidy.
      Agents of these international cooperations and patners are suddenly rearing up their heads to voice a campaign of calumny targetted at Okonjor-Iweala.
      Whether they succeed or not,the near future would unveil their motives and Evil Agenda.

  10. Why is everybody going about the business of Okonjo Iwela’s desire for the World bank’s top job as if it is any of our business.
    Far as am concern Iwela deserve the treachery, deceits, lies, cover ups, fabrication and non chalant attitude she displayed during the subsidy removal brohaha. I pray she lost it just as Nigerians lost the battle of the subsidy. If we couldn’t do anything then, at least we can pray now.
    I hate sentimentalist!!!!

  11. Hi.
    I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding
    one? Many thanks!

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