By Shola Abayomi.
A former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, has reacted to a statement credited to Bashir Ahmaad, an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, who frowned at the fact that the former minister and some other Nigerians would be attending the World Economic Forum in South Africa despite Nigeria’s withdrawal from the summit.
Ahmaad was quoted as saying: “Nigerian government has boycotted the World Economic Forum holding in Cape Town, South Africa, but some individuals from Nigeria including a former Minister are attending on their own.
“Madam Oby Ezekwesili, she is attending the WEF in Cape Town, South Africa.”
It was gathered that Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was scheduled to represent Nigeria at the ongoing WEF holding in Cape Town, South Africa but cancelled his participation over renewed xenophobic attacks.
In her reaction, Ezekwesili lambasted the President’s aide, stressing that she does not need consent from the Presidency to determine her participation at the summit.
She wrote on her Twitter page: “Please send that aide to school to get proper education.
“Who told him that a private citizen like me needs their Nigerian government to decide my participation at WEF ? Imagine.
“I am doing more for our at-risk citizens.
“Who has time for their nonsense politicking with citizens’ lives?”
Meanwhile, the former minister has come under severe attacks from Nigerians over her perceived show of ‘disloyalty’.
Her critics queried why she chose to attend the summit even though Nigeria and some other African countries had pulled out of the event in solidarity with the plight of foreign nationals who suffer xenophobic attack in South Africa.
In her response, she said: “Those who have genuine concerns about my being at @wef in South Africa, should please know that my decision to be here was thoroughly considered. I am in South Africa leveraging my ensure that the South African Government never again looks away while our citizens are attacked, maimed & killed.
“Those of you who take delight in making ‘Politics’ of our Citizens’ Lives can carry on with your usual trade. I stand strong on doing the things one can do to safeguard lives. Citizens’ Lives are too sacred & important for me to be drawn into your latest ‘playground’. Never.”
INSIDER compiled some comments from Nigerians on social media:
“Madam Oby is the last person I expect would go to a WEF in South Africa that everybody has concluded Nigeria should stay away from. I am really surprised that she of all people would do something she would have spoken very strongly against if somebody else did it.”
“I don’t even know what to compare her with.. Hypocrite.. madam oby.”
“Madam Oby has shown herself to be a fraud. Wrong move at a time the nation is outraged about the killings in South Africa. She has put personal gain above national interest. Shame.”
“So, if madam oby had won the election, this is how she would’ve governed us? Tell me something. I’m beginning to think the sharing formula her party gave her wasn’t good enough, hence, she opted out.”
“Why Madam Oby and Jim Ovia is trending. They attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2019 that is happening in South Africa. Kind of Unpatriotic.”
“Madam oby and Ovia are part of the people who want Nigerians to do revolution. Madam oby can’t even respect Nigerians & boycott the WEF program in South Africa despite what’s going on with the country.”
“If PMB had attended ,you would have released a full album about his attendance.”
“Madam Oby a politician/Activist by mouth.”
“I don’t want to drag somebody’s mother but this is shameful… Not this time ma, I knew before now that madam oby is always seeking attention but it’s sad to believe that she’d be bought with few dollars. Shame! Shame!! Shame!!! #XenophobiaInSouthAfrica #XenophobicAttacks.”
“Madam Oby, what are you doing today at the World Economic Forum in South Africa where fellow Nigerians are killed in #XenophobicAttacks
“If Nigerians in South Africa give her the Ekweremadu treatment, Lessons will be learnt.”