Close to 2000 Nigerians have gone online to sign a counter petition asking Yale University to ignore calls to withdraw the Honorary degree awarded to Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, arguing that “the call to strip Dr Okonjo-Iweala of this well deserved honour is ill motivated and laced with political victimization, orchestrated by those who are peeved at her achievements”
The ivy league institution on May 15, 2015, conferred Okonjo-Iweala with the degree, stating as part of her citation that “At the World Bank, you made food security a priority and provided policy advice and capital for the world’s poorest countries. With wisdom, a fierce dedication to doing what is right, and unflagging energy, you have transformed the economic landscape of your nation. We are proud to name you Doctor of Humane Letter”
But about 2500 Nigerians signed an online petition started by a Washington-based Nigerian, Sunday Iwalaiye, urging Yale to withdraw the honorary degree. The petition is titled, “Withdraw the honorary doctorate degree given to Ngozi Iweala of Nigeria”
According to Iwalaiye, Yale University gave its prestigious Honorary Doctorate Degree to an undeserving Nigerian. In the petition, he maintained that “There is no tangible evidence of any economic development in Nigeria under the leadership of Ngozi Iweala in all reality”.
He added: “Nigeria’s economy is still an oil-dependent economy that is debt and borrowing ridden as well as 100% consuming and importing in nature. Nigeria’s debt profile has risen rapidly under Ngozi Iweala and Nigeria has borrowed over $2 billion in the last four months alone to pay salaries of the federal and state civil servants.
But Ghana-based Valentine Onwuka, who started the latest petition in support of Okonjo-Iweala on the same website, Change.org, believes the minister deserved the recognistion as she had
“chalked great successes at different levels”.
Another petitioner in support of Okonjo-Iweala, Davina Owombre, wrote: “I’m signing because Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala could have taken the easy way out of not serving her country, but instead she chose to serve despite all the challenges. And she has made positive changes.
“Today Nigerians know what is being budgeted for meals at the State House and can shout about it. Before Okonjo-Iweala such things were shrouded in secrecy.
“More importantly, Nigerians now know what every state gets every month; before it was a murky affair and state governors (many of whom have not paid civil servants for months now) would typically lie and blame the Federal Government for their own misrule. If others do as well as Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria will be well on it’s way to making meaningful progress”.