Former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, has disclosed that the late Military Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha branded her “conspiracy international” for standing against corruption during his, Abacha’s, regime.
Ezekwesili, who is the co-founder of Transparency International, TI, made the disclosure in an interview with Dotun Olowoporoku, social commentator during a pod cast.
The former Minister explained that the then Military government was displeased with her ranking at Transparency International.
According to Ezekweisili, “The CPI (then) had Nigeria as the most perceived corrupt country. When that happened, the government of that era was so angry they called me conspiracy international.
“I was not just a co-founder of the group, I was the pioneer director of the group and I started to put together the Nigerian chapter of the group. So it was clearly very annoying to the government.
“I was saying to the (military) government that through TI, we will try and locate all the stolen wealth in Nigeria and we would make sure they are brought back to the people.
“My dad always said that if you have the conviction, you must have the courage to stand for it. So for me, I felt this issue was a major obstacle and we needed to do something about it. So I was prepared to stand for what I believe in.
“As a child, I was worried about the squalor around me. In my mind, there was a consciousness that we didn’t have to accept the squalor. And that we needed to do something about it.
“So as I grew, I realized that the instrument through which to do much about anything was the instrumentality of government. I realised that certain people have to pay the price, that we will not accept this the way it is. So we’ve got to change things for the better, we’ve got to change how our society works.
“We founded Transparency International and brought global attention to the challenges of corruption because corruption is a symptom of poor governance. So that effort was one that upset the status quo.”