Friday, 22 May 2015

Nigerians Ask Yale To Withdraw Okonjo-Iweala’s Award; That She Doesnt Deserve It

Some Nigerians have called on Yale University in the United States to withdraw the Honorary Degree it bestowed on the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Okonjo-Iweala had been awarded Doctor of Humane Letters by the prestigious institution on May 15, 2015.

The institution, while presenting the award to Okonjo-Iweala, had said, “As a minister in your country, you made social and economic reforms your mission. As Nigeria’s coordinating minister of economic development and minister of finance, you have tackled corruption, created a vision and path to long-term economic stability, and worked to build a culture of transparency.”

However, a Nigerian, Sunday Iwalaiye, on Wednesday started an online petition on Change.Org, urging Nigerians to also sign the petition.

Checks by Punch correspondent showed that 22 hours after the petition was created, 2,500 people had signed it.

The petition stated that Okonjo-Iweala did not deserve the award, accusing her of being responsible for the harsh economic conditions the country is facing.

The petitioner wondered why Yale University would give an award to a minister under whose watch billions of dollars in oil money went missing.

Iwalaiye stated that corruption did not reduce under Okonjo-Iweala as claimed by the institution but reached unprecedented levels.

The petition read, “This citation from the Yale University does not reflect nor represent everything that has happened under the watch and the supervision of the Nigerian economy by Okonjo-Iweala as the nation’s finance minister.

“There is no tangible evidence of any economic development in Nigeria under the leadership of Okonjo-Iweala in all reality. Nigeria’s debt profile has risen rapidly under Okonjo-Iweala and Nigeria has borrowed over $2bn in the last four months alone to pay salaries of the federal and state civil servants.

“Our foreign reserves and excess crude oil accounts have both depleted heavily under Okonjo-Iweala. The recurrent expenditures in the federal budgets reached the highest levels which made capital development practically impossible in Nigeria under her.

“The true picture that Yale University missed is the fact that the economy of Nigeria has almost grounded to its final halt today which will make it a daunting task for the incoming administration of Muhammadu Buhari to meet its campaign promises.”

The petitioner wondered whether Yale University was rewarding Okonjo-Iweala for the $20bn oil money that went missing under her watch.

He said Yale University would be seen to be rewarding recklessness and criminality if it does not rescind the award given to the minister.

He added, “To give an honorary doctorate degree to an undeserving Nigerian by a world renowned university is the biggest slap on the faces of the 180 million Nigerians in 2015. I am using this social medium to appeal to the board of regents of this prestigious university to withdraw this honorary degree that they awarded to this Nigerian immediately and without any further delay for the sake of posterity.”

Over 6 Months Unpaid Salary: Osun State Senior Civil Servant Attempts Suicide, Drinks Insecticide

A senior civil servant in the Obokun Local Government Area of Osun State, Mr. Ojo Owolabi, has attempted suicide by drinking a large quantity of insecticide because of his inability to feed his family due to the failure of the state government to pay salaries for the past six months.

PUNCH Newspaper gathered that the incident which happened at Owolabi’s residence last Saturday caused pandemonium in the neighborhood as Mr Owolabi who is a sanitary officer at the Obokun Local Government Council is still in the hospital receiving treatment.

A source close to Owolabi said he became frustrated as a result of his inability to meet his family’s needs.

The source said, “Baba Ibeji ( Owolabi) drank herbicide. He was frustrated because he has been unable to feed himself and other members of his family.
“You are aware that the state government has not paid workers for some months now. I think he just lost hope and decided to take his life by drinking Gramoxone.
“Members of his family rushed him to a hospital in Ile Ife, where he was admitted. We are praying that he survives it.”
Owolabi’s wife and children have also been forced to relocate from their apartment.

While confirming the news, the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, Mr. David Owoeye said,
“Has the news spread to you? We don’t want to make it public so that it will not embarrass the family.”
A factional Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Gambi Yusuf, said the unpaid salaries had caused the workers untold hardship.
Yusuf said, “Anybody who is not paid for six months is a walking corpse. What do you expect him to eat? Even if the workers can fast, won’t they break their fast?
“How do you expect them to feed their children? The government of the day should be more serious about workers’ welfare. We are appealing to the government to pay workers because workers deserve their wages.”

The Director of the state Bureau of Communication, Semiu Okanlawon, said, “I am not aware of the incident and I don’t see the nexus between a man drinking poison and when the government will pay workers’ salaries.”