Nigeria’s former Finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been listed as one of the eight Transparency International “Anti-Corruption fighters”. She is the only Nigerian and the second African to make the list.
According to the list, the women listed are “setting a positive example, showing that women are not only victims of corruption, but also key players in the struggle against it.” Others who appeared on the list include
Okonjo-Iweala taking to Twitter wrote:
Describing the Twitter board of directors member, they wrote:
As an economist focusing on development, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is known and respected throughout the world. She put her expertise to use during a 25-year career at the World Bank, where she worked with Transparency International founder Peter Eigen and eventually rose to managing director.
In politics — where she was the first woman to serve as both minister of foreign affairs and minister of finance — and elsewhere, she has dedicated a big part of her life to cleaning up corruption in her home country.
“No one can fight corruption for Nigerians except Nigerians. Everyone has to be committed from the top to the bottom to fight it.” — Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Her fierce campaigning against corruption also made Okonjo-Iweala and her family a target. Opponents have frequently tried to damage her reputation by spreading rumours that cast doubts about her integrity. In 2012, her 83-year-old mother was even kidnapped, likely in retaliation of her daughter’s work against fraudulent fuel subsidy claims in Nigeria. Luckily, she was released after a few days.
Okonjo-Iweala describes this and other episodes in her book Fighting Corruption is Dangerous, published last year. It is a testimony to the struggle of those that fight and report corruption, and a message of hope encouraging them to not give up, just like she never did.
Transparency International, a body designed to “combat global corruption with civil societal anti-corruption measures and to prevent criminal activities arising from corruption” has, in recent times, fallen out with the Nigerian government. In this regard, after Nigeria dropped to 148 from 144 in its 2018 Corruption Perception Index, two years after it declared war on corruption, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said that the Presidency had rejected its rank.
“As much as I respect Transparency International, I don’t think we necessarily need them to authenticate what is going on in the country; because we, Nigerians, know that there is a war against corruption ongoing and that war is succeeding.
“There are strides being taken. It may not be there yet, and we are not there, but we are on the way there. So, let no agency from any part of the world come to think that whatever it says is the gospel to us,” Adesina he said.