By Eric Elezuo
Even with the much touted male superiority, three women have come clear of their various political parties emerging the presidential candidates. They are Obiageli Ezekwesili of the ACPN, Mercy Adesanya Davies and Eunice Atuejide of the National Interest Party.
All the women, by reason of pedigree, have acquired requisite experience like the male counterparts to take up leadership position of Nigeria. But what are their chances in an environment that is totally male dominated. Their resume may give am insight as exposed below:
On Sunday, October 7, 2018, Oby Ezekwesili came out strong to declare her intention to run for President, daring the menfolk who had over the months taken the forefront of political campaigns. She is the leading female presidential candidate in the race to win the 2019 general elections.
Better known as Oby Ezekwesili, the woman most people have come to associate with fiery disposition, was born on April 28, 1963
A co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) advocacy group which mounted pressure on the federal government to rescue schoolgirls kidnapped by insurgents in 2014,
Ezekwesili recently concluded a series of international high level meetings in the United States, United Kingdom, India, and Kenya.
She is famous for her fiery disposition, galvanising impetus, advocacy drive and her reform work as minister in the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo administration of the early ‘2000s.
She is a Chartered Accountant from Anambra state, and married to Pastor Nedu Ezekwesili of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). Ezekwesili was a 2018 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in transparency in the extractive sector.
Ezekwesili holds a master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, as well as a Master of Public Administration degree from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She trained with the firm of Deloitte and Touche and qualified as a Chartered Accountant.
Prior to working for the Government of Nigeria, Ezekwesiili was working with Professor Jeffrey Sachs at the Center for International Development at Harvard.
Ezekwesili started off in the Olusegun Obasanjo administration as the Pioneer head of the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit (aka Due Process Unit). It was in this position that she earned the sobriquet of “Madam Due Process” for the outstanding work she led a team of professionals to do in sanitising public procurement or contracting at the Federal level in Nigeria. She was the architect of the Bureau for Public Procurement legislation, the NEITI legislation and the new Minerals and Mining legislation during her six and a half years stint in government.
She was appointed Minister of Solid Minerals (Mines and Steel) in June 2005 during which time she led a vibrant reform program that led to Nigeria’s global recognition as a credible mining investment destination. She was also the Chairperson of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and led the first ever national implementation of the global standards and principles of transparency in the oil, gas and mining sector.
In June 2006, Ezekwesili was appointed the Federal Minister of Education, holding this post until she took up her World Bank appointment in May 2007.
In March 2007, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz announced the appointment of Ezekwesili as Vice-President for the Africa Region starting on 1 May 2007.
In 2012, she successfully completed her stint as the World Bank Vice-President Africa Division. As vice-president she was in charge of the bank’s operations in 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and supervised a lending portfolio of over $40 billion.
She was a co-founder of Transparency International and served as one of its pioneer directors. As a senior economic advisor for Open Society, a group founded by billionaire George Soros, she advises nine reform-committed African heads of state including Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
On 1 October 2012, one of the world’s leading telecommunications firm, Bharti Airtel, with operations in 20 countries, named Ezekwesili as a director on its board. She is also on the boards of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the School of Public Policy of Central European University, The Harold Hartog School of Government and Policy, New African magazine, The Center for Global Leadership @ Tufts University.
In May 2012, Ezekwesili was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science (DSC) degree by the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta in Nigeria. She was selected as one of the BBC’s 100 Women in 2014.
In March 2014, she delivered a keynote speech at the national summit of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the leading opposition party in Nigeria. She criticised the many migrating governors and urged the party to have “a conversation deeper than how you’re going to chase (the ruling) PDP out of power”.
MERCY FUNMILAYO ADESANYA-DAVIES
“I am aspiring to be the next president of Nigeria. I am out to put laughter of joy on the mouth of all. I have discussed this with the former presidential candidate, Sarah Jubril, who incidentally is from Kwara State. Her reaction was that ‘if a miracle like this will ever happen, we have paid the price in Kwara State and it is going to happen in the state.”
Adesanya-Davies won the presidential ticket of Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA) towards the Nigeria 2019 presidential elections.
Daughter of Susan Adepoju and Isaac Salako, Adesanya-Davies was born on October 15, 1962 in Ira, Kwara State, Nigeria. She was educated at St. Clare’s Grammar School, Offa and Queen Elizabeth Secondary School, Ilorin, Kwara State, in the North Central Nigeria.
She holds B.A (combined honours) in English and Yoruba at the University of Ife, Nigeria, in 1985 and obtained her master’s degree in English Language from University of Ilorin, Kwara State in 1987 and her doctorate degree in 2003 in linguistics and communication at the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, with a postgraduate diploma in education (PDGE) (2000) in English education.
Born-again in 1974, she founded Agape Bible Church, (Eagle’s Cathedral) at Presidential Housing Estate (Church Headquarters) in 1988, as a member of the board of trustees of Christian Excellence Ministries.
Adesanya preaches and ministers on invitations and always represents Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN); and she serves as the secretary to the Elders Council of the National Supreme Council for Ecclesiastical Affairs (Nigeria) (an Affiliate of Association of African Supreme Council for Ecclesiastical Affairs.
Highly learned, she holds a B.A (Ife), M.A. English (Ilorin), Ph.D. Applied Linguistics & Communication Studies (Port Harcourt) and P.G.D.E. (Port Harcourt). She is a linguist, a poet, educationist, activist and an expert in the field of communication studies as well as holds a Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) and professor of divinity (honoris causa) of Northwestern Christian University, US. She is an academic and educational consultant, on professorial cadre, at Rivers State University of Education, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria, where she has lectured in language, linguistics and communication studies in the past thirty years.
She also facilitates courses in language and general studies at the National Open University, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria and served on sabbatical, as a dean at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of Regent University of Science and Technology, Accra, Ghana, and a visiting professor to the University of Cape Coast Cape Coast, Ghana. She is an external examiner supervising doctoral dissertations, for the School of Postgraduate Studies of the African No One University, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
She has over one hundred national and international published articles and poems to her credit and has delivered several scholarly, professional and public lectures in Nigeria, Africa, UK, Europe, United States, Canada, etc. (within and outside Nigeria). She is a member of The British Association for Applied Linguistics (UK), International Association of Applied Linguistics (AILA), International Phonetics Association, UK., Linguistic Association of Nigeria (LAN) Nigeria, The Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), and Teachers Registration Council (TRC) Nigeria etc. She also serves as external examiner supervising doctoral dissertations, for the School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
A business woman, lawyer, and politician, Eunice Atuejide was born on August 16, 1978. She is probably the youngest of all the presidential candidates across board.
Atuejide was born and raised in Lagos State Nigeria, although her family originates from Enugu State. She is best known for founding the youth led, technology driven political party known as the National Interest Party (NIP) in Nigeria. She attended Onike Girls Primary School in Lagos, spent one year in the affiliated secondary school before transferring to Reagan Memorial Girls Secondary School also in Lagos. She studied Agricultural Economics at the University of Ibadan.
Atuejide participated in Taekwondo throughout her secondary and tertiary education and was among the team that represented the University of Ibadan at NUGA games from 1996 to 1999. She achieved the black belt 1st Dan in 2005 with BUDO Taekwondo Club in Siegen Germany.
Atuejide dropped out of Agricultural Economics at the University of Ibadan and took the Diploma in French Language at the Institut Internationale d’Etudes Française, in Université Marc Bloch, Strasbourg, France. She did the Diploma in German Language at the Sprahenschule Siegerland. She took the Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH) and enrolled at the University of Siegen, where she studied Business Administration.
Atuejide took the Diploma in Film Making and Acting at the New York Film Academy and Sally Johnson’s Studios respectively, both in New York City, USA. After seven years making and promoting Nigerian movies and while raising her family, she went back to school to study law. She completed the Graduate Diploma in Law, the Graduate LLB, the Legal Practice Course, and the LLM in Professional Legal Practice at BPP University, London, United Kingdom. She then moved back to Nigeria where she completed the professional training programme required for enrolment as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
As a lawyer, Atuejide practices in both Nigeria and the United Kingdom. As a businesswoman, she is involved with IT Consultancy including website development and management for SMEs and charities. She also sources funding for businesses in Europe and infrastructure projects in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
Atuejide’s interest in politics was developed while she was at the Nigerian Law School in Abuja. She pulled together her colleagues at the law school who shared similar political ideals with her, and they together set out on the journey to form a political party. This resulted in the formation and registration of the National Interest Party (NIP) – the world’s first online based political party.