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“I couldn’t afford to pay my mom’s rent when I was a minister” – Oby Ezekwesili



Oby Ezekwesili (1)

Former minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, has revealed that one of the prices she had to pay for having integrity while in office, was that she was sometimes unable to pay her mother’s rent. She also stated that the #BringBackOurGirls campaign was a special assignment from God.

Ezekwesili made these revelations yesterday at the ongoing national convention of the Foursquare Gospel Church in Ogun state, where she spoke to the congregation about integrity Punch reports.

She alleged that while in office, she never spent any money from her imprest accounts when she was minister of Solid Minerals, and Minister of Education respectively.

“There were times I couldn’t pay my mother’s rent, not because I couldn’t make a choice and build her a mansion. When I was in government, we had to withdraw our three children from their school to Baptist Special School. I was (just) answering big titles. Some of you would have said, ‘They are eating our money’. May God save those who speak without knowledge! I am not saying this so that you can say I am holy, I have my shortcomings.

Integrity will cost you a lot. Anyone who talks about integrity without the cost is preaching what I do not know about. Integrity can require a supreme cost from you. You will be persecuted for making the choice of integrity but make that choice nonetheless,’’ she said.

Speaking on why she chose to be an advocate for the over 200 abducted Chibok school girls via the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, she stated that it was a divine assignment from God.

“The 219 children of the poor remind me of my own poor background before I became a beneficiary of what God has done. God forbids that Oby Ezekwesili will be in this land and 219 girls, who went to get the same education that I got, were abducted and I will pretend as if nothing happened.

“It was clear in my mind that all kinds of things will be said, but I don’t do jobs; I only do assignments. God said to me that concerning these girls, I should be their voices. In February, 59 boys were slaughtered in their school and we all carried on as if nothing happened. You read my citation,’’ she said.


  1. Abeg

    November 14, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    This woman should shift with her Okonjo beef.
    Like seriously? Was your mum living in Banana island?


      November 14, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      Maybe that’s why she couldn’t pay her rent. Just because she’s got intergrity doesn’t mean her mum has. Her mum was probably feeling entitled. Like ‘ahn ahn, my daughter is a minister, I can get anything and she’ll pay’.

  2. sayo

    November 14, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Madam abeg tell this stories to the gods

    • Oby Ezekwesili

      November 14, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      {{Oby Ezekwesili} Guys guys!!!!! False Alarm!!! I used the wrong integrity Example!!
      {Reporter} Oh really!!!
      {Oby Ezekwesili} see what happens when u talk too fast….. can i use another example?
      {Reporter} oh yesss…….. pls carry on
      {Oby Ezekwesili} thanks, thank you, it was Private jet for my mum i could not afford, not RENT!! I remember now……
      {Reporter}….Ehen!! Now we are just talking…….. now d story adds up! #intergritymyfoot

    • Lois

      November 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Abi o. And here comes another ‘surulere story’. Make all of una pack go one side. Notice me I quench

  3. Beeeee

    November 14, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Mscheww….thank you Bella Naija for using the word “alleged”. Aunty should go and sit down somewhere….crusader for the poor. Couldn’t afford to pay mum’s rent? Abeg, I love your question o jare, she must have been on Banana Island. I hate when all these public figures try to play on the emotions of the general public. She thinks if she tell us she couldn’t pay her mums rent when she was a minister, we would say “eh yah, even her own mother? that means she didn’t steal any money at all” …..integrity ko…tytegrity ni

    • slice

      November 14, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      alleged was actually a wrong choice of words by BN. there’s no such thing as alleging what someone said. she stated that. she asserted that. she said that. but she alleged. nah she wasn’t making an allegation. she made a statement. report her statement as she said it.

    • hhhmn

      November 14, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      Please look up the word alleged. Alleged is used when a statement is “said without proof”. It can be used even when quoting directly, Kindly research before trying to sound intelligent.

      There is no way Bella Naija can know for sure if her statement is true. In fact, I’ll go a step further and say it’s a lie. Someone as sensible as Mrs Ezekwesili didn’t save and plan her finances to the point where a short stint as minister left her unable to take care of her financial responsibilities? Not buying it.

    • slice

      November 15, 2014 at 6:15 am

      I see you looked up the meaning. good.
      what you looked up actually makes my point but you do have to read it carefully. you wrote Alleged is used when a statement is “said without proof”. BN was reporting her statement. She did not make an allegation. she was stating a fact as she believed it to be. the right thing in reporting a statement someone made is to say just that. you may then separately state that the statement has not been verified.

      i’m not TRYING to sound smart. I simply am. i can’t help it 🙂

  4. Beeeee

    November 14, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Taking style to advertise herself for Ministerial position just in case APC wins. “‘rawwwwwbeeeesh”

  5. kellyfavoured

    November 14, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Tales by moonlight never sounded this good!

  6. ibe prince

    November 14, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    why do Nigerian politicians lie so much. how much is her mother”s rent that she couldn”t pay, how much was her salary. why do have to lie just to seek attention. why?

  7. photog

    November 14, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    A former Vice President of the World Bank? I need to make it too so I can rewrite my own stories!

  8. benny

    November 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Oby was ur mum living on the Upper East Side? I will not say what I know about ur activities and motives but this propaganda… Small small abeg.
    Meanwhile, ministers have lovely pay packages. Without stealing, mummy’s rent would have been just fine. school fees would have been a breeze. Calm down.

  9. nwachukwu stanley

    November 14, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Sincerely Madam due will sound strange to anybody who do not know her. she is one of those who can chart a good future for a re birth of Nigeria.

    • Iyke

      November 14, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      STFU Do u know her??? fool

  10. Aibee

    November 14, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Story for the gods. Couldn’t afford to pay her mum’s rent? did she lack financial prudence so much that she couldn’t set aside the money for the rent. Didn’t she work at the World Bank/IMF or something? That’s how that Buhari said he borrowed money from the Bank to buy the presidential nomination form. Liar, liar, pants on fire.

  11. RO2

    November 14, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    I can see the decadence in our system that affect our way of reasoning. using the number of comments above as a poll, so 9/10 Nigerian youth don’t believe in integrity which translate to NOBODY can make it through hard-work. Please don’t forget to check her profile before you say anything about her. She is NEVER a politician but a technocrat.

    • Abeg

      November 14, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      No one is really paying attention to the integrity talk or saying you cannot be successful through hard work alone.
      I have been working for only 2yrs now and I can afford to pay 2 yrs rent for a decent home. And my job isn’t even that fantastic.
      Even if she wasn’t minister, do you know how many years she has worked in other top roles?
      So what point is she trying to make by saying she couldn’t afford her mum’s rent.
      And you come to talk about decadence and our way of reasoning. The few times we are seeing through these holier than thou people.

    • benny

      November 14, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      No one asked madam oby to steal. It is even her that has suggested that you cannot afford anything in Nigeria without stealing.
      she was VP in world bank, she became a minister. Her salary was enough. I mean, if u can be trusted in world bank u should be trusted with ur own finances. Was Oby’s mum residing in a 5 million a year apartment? Where is that house please?
      If this was her “I did not steal” story, it failed woefully.
      You and Obi are now telling us that even with a healthy salary, u have to steal to afford basics. That is an unhealthy message please. I am not a thief but if my mum needs a place to rent and stay, I can pay for it from my decent earnings

    • Angel

      November 14, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      @RO2, pls get over yourself. Technocrat ko, technician ni…peeps on minimum wage, package and manage their life wella, and some ‘naija ex minister’ is claiming she couldn’t pay her rent abi na her mama’s rent while in the office. Just what are we supposed to do with that piece of information? All these for 2015 elections, nonsense.

    • ceetoo

      November 14, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      A country produces the kind of leader it deserves… Nigerians deserve what we have today and what we will get in 2015… No need to shout too much. It is a pity that we all have to live in it.

  12. Chukky

    November 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    I trust Ezekwesili on integrity (Lord help me not to be disapointed as many Nigerian public fugures and supposed leaders have made me). There is an aspect of the whole gist that is not clear, such as working all your life and not being able to pay for good schooling for your kids, but i trust she is real and explanatons can be provided for clarity. I choose to so believe and i feel i am right here.

  13. RO2

    November 14, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    there is high level of integrity expected of a co-founder of Transparency International the organisation that combat corruption and bad governance all around the world. It takes a lot to be responsible and it takes nothing to be irresponsible… Integrity matters if we want to fight corruptions.

  14. Abeg

    November 14, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    And who says technocrats cannot be politicians or used by politicians?

  15. PACE

    November 14, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Aunty Oby, you can like to sit tight and park well well. You must think the entire Nigerian populace are slowpokes, right? When someone tries this hard to prove a point, you can tell there’s something to it. You not being able to afford your mums’ ‘supposed’ rent is no yardstick to measure integrity or the impact you had on the educational sector while you occupied the office of Minister of Education. You might want to mention a few of your achievements while in office quoting figures ie statistics. That would at least show your appointment was based on merit and not prejudice. One would expect someone who was appointed Minister of Education will talk more sense than this. Gosh! What has Nigeria turned into?

  16. Nino

    November 14, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    I am officially tired of this woman!
    who is with me?

  17. Dabota

    November 14, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    I do not believe that everyone who is or had ever been in public service in Nigeria stole or lack integrity. Madam may be clean and never took a dime other than her salary and allowances. I’m not accusing her of that but I am accusing her of lying if she says she was poor as a minister. She was a member of Dr. Okonkwo-Iweala’s economic musketeers along with Soludo, El-Ruffai etc. After the celebrated debt forgiveness negotiations with the Paris Club (pay back $12 Billion now and be forgiven $18 billion), there was a commission of $300 Million paid as brokerage to the entity that handled the complex transactions. We learned the economic team led by the Finance Minister did the work. Cut a long story short, they shared the brokerage fee among themselves and President Obasanjo. Her share of that money is enough to make her a very rich Nigerian in deed for whom buying her mom a house should have been a breeze unless it wasn’t her priority.

  18. Theresa

    November 14, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Nigerian youths!!! My heart bleeds for you! You have become so used to deception and being used by politicians that you cannot even think or reason. What did she say in this article that merits the words you guys have used even without evidence to back it up? Why is this about politics when she is championing the fight to save innocent girls abducted by BH? What is wrong about her advising people to work hard on integrity even though it will mean sacrifice? What is wrong there? Don’t we need more of such messages?

    Thank you Oby that you are not deterred by lies and mud-slinging. Thank you that in a culture where it is easy and encouraged not to have integrity especially as an elite, you take the high ground. Thank you for being courageous in reminding the government about the plight of those innocent girls. And yes people will make all sorts of allegations, I thank God that you know your worth. Even Jesus Christ, who committed no sin, was lied against and maligned. Darkness has never liked Light, because it reveals its nature. It’s only corrupt people that feel threatened by her audacity and courage to fight for the downtrodden. Oby, may your God continue to uphold your integrity and walk beside you. You are a hero for many Nigerians.

    As for the empty vessels whose consciences have been bought or seared, they are who they are: empty and worthless to everyone even themselves.

    • Amy

      November 14, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      Sorry, my dear. I don’t understand your rant. What integrity are we talking about? What deception? And all this pointing at Nigerian youth? What are we saying? That she did not get a salary when she was minister? That she could not manage her salary well enough to pay her mother’s rent? I still can’t get it. If her salary was only enough to rent her mother one room after all her expenses, then she should have rented her one room in an area she could afford. That is integrity. Cutting your coat according to your size. That is integrity. Donating her salary to charity, that is integrity.

    • Fashionista

      November 15, 2014 at 8:44 am

      Theresa, you too dey yarn abeg. Always!

    • simple

      November 17, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      can you vouch for her cause you talk as if you are her p.a in associate even with 80 thousand naira i take care of my family as a whole talk less of former minister,vice president of world bank among other top post she worked for. abeg i say u and ur oga in associate should tell the story 2 d Gods dat is even them will listen your bull**it.

  19. meeT

    November 14, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    See the above comments and know that the average Nigerian youth is misguided and has no reasoning capability.

    • corolla

      November 14, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      I tell you. It’s such a pity.

    • benny

      November 14, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Present a reasonable argument not this emotional gibberish. This is what you ppl do when you have no points to make.

  20. Yvonne

    November 14, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Lol, please park well!

  21. @edDREAMZ

    November 14, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    She might be saying the truth though….

  22. kassy dameji

    November 14, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    lf nt dat l respect my mother l wold hv said a lot of disrespectful things to dis fat lier.Honestly dis politician insult our intelligince everyday.As if hw much was her salary 2 tm minister?plus their allowances n dat lie lie tours.Madam live ur lie lie behind cos am sure ur only deciving urself n dem neva pay u for helping to pain Jona ne?

  23. jake ro

    November 15, 2014 at 12:02 am

    I think , most people here do not understand the message this lady is trying to pass.think not just bash someone for the sake of bashing.

  24. mujer

    November 15, 2014 at 2:04 am

    WHoo!!! Her full comment on the Chibok girls and how she relates to them set me on fire!!! Dear Oby, there are more like you who were given the opportunity but they are no where to be found. They will deny their backgrounds at all costs and look upon those who are in their previous situations with much disdain. May God continue to speak to and use you.

  25. Anonymous

    November 15, 2014 at 2:22 am

    My only wish is that half the people writing these ugly comments, know the woman in question personally! Then I can begin to take y’all serious.
    I know her, her mum in question and her family and I can attest that integrity is what she does strongly believe in and seeks to practice! In case y’all didn’t see, she herself said she has her short comings! By the way, who are you to judge her??? Are you her creator?

    • simple

      November 17, 2014 at 5:05 pm

      no wonder u are anonymous are u telling they live in a place like iyana ipaja,agege,egbeda or where mr anonymous banana island lekki phase 1 mr anonymous since u know them so well i suggest u get connected that is if u have not been connected b4. abeg abeg sit down mr anonymos.

  26. Owelle

    November 15, 2014 at 6:11 am

    If u know this woman personally, u’d know she’s extremely tight-fisted. I believe she has integrity and didn’t steal, but shhe could afford to buy her mum a house almost anywhere in the world. She just chose not to, decided that her mother should live with her and her husband in abj. So this rubbish about not being able To pay her mum’s rent is just lame.

  27. babe

    November 15, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    so dey dont hav a house in de village for de old mother to live in or is she the only successful person in her family , taking care of ones parents should bi a collective responsibility of all the siblings. . There are some stories we should not tell in Nigeria. what happened to the family house did her parents not build a home for dem selves. My dad was an ordinary soldier and my mum was a petty trader, they had nine of us children. Who attended command children. Primary and secondary schools, back in de 80s my dad’s salary was jus #250 naira bt every month my parents will keep money aside for a house dey wey building in de village. Today dey hav both retired to live peaceful in dat house while we the children are providing for their other needs . We are not even millionaries bt our parents don’t lack any good ting. Some stories should nt be told outside lest u shame ursef.

    • nwanyi na aga aga

      November 17, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      My dear, don’t mind Oby o, let her be deceiving the people that wants to be deceived. I will not knock her hustle. But she should stop assuming that Nigerians are mumu na, Hian!

  28. Tosin

    November 25, 2014 at 10:49 am

    What to do about “the girls” though? Could they be so well hidden for so long?

  29. T1

    January 14, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Mother Teresa I shake my head for u o,Because u so blind and don’t know if u can get divine intervention for ur sight. ANONYMUS it is better u are because I believe u don’t exist anyway. How on the earth will a minister not afford the mothers rent haba even if it’s at banana island, do u konw wat it means to be an officer in this present Nigeria? All expenses is taking care of for them mhen. Do this people think we are fools? I beg they should give the fufu to their dogs not us.

  30. Onojeranan Osemen

    October 5, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Oby was about to turn our education system around for the better when OBJ removed her and appointed her for something else. I and just wishing and praying she is made to head this sector.

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