Press Release – February 1, 2023 – WPL is honoured to announce the appointment of Obiageli “Oby” Katryn Ezekwesili, Founder & President of Human Capital Africa (HCA); Founder & Chair, SPPG/FixPolitics; Senior Economic Advisor, The Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative (AEDPI), as Chair of the WPL Board as of the 1st of February, 2023.
The WPL Board provides guidance, solutions, and foundations to further advance the vital mission of WPL of “increasing the number and the influence of women in political leadership positions”. It also gives directions to WPL activities in different national and international political environments.
A chartered accountant and economic policy expert by profession, Dr Obiageli “Oby” Katryn Ezekwesili brings to this role an inexhaustive plethora of qualifications and experience. A candidate for the office of President of Nigeria in 2019, Dr. Ezekwesili first served the Nigerian government as Head of the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit, where she led pioneering reforms to public procurement. She was appointed Minister of Solid Minerals in 2005 and chaired the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), in which capacity she successfully designed and implemented the global principles for Nigeria. In 2006 she became Minister of Education, until taking up the role of Vice President for the World Bank’s Africa Region in 2007. She is the Founder & Chairperson of the Board of SPPG- School of Politics Policy and Governance in Abuja, Nigeria and concurrently the Founder & Chair of the #FixPolitics Initiative, a research-based citizens-led initiative.
Obiageli “Oby” Ezekwesili replaces Helen Clark, Chair Emeritus of the WPL Board since December 2022. WPL wishes to sincerely thank Helen Clark for her invaluable contributions and unwavering support to not only furthering the core mission of WPL, but also in the wider context of furthering equality between women and men. WPL will continue to rely on her expert guidance and insights to further achieve its mission of getting more women into political leadership.
“Oby is a woman of formidable tenacity and integrity. As a member of the WPL Board since 2021, she has brought to WPL renewed vigour and a non depletable body of knowledge and tactics to change the narratives of women in politics. Her plethora of experience evidenced by her distinguished career and reputation both within the private sector and the public sector makes her the paragon choice as Chair of the Board in this next chapter for WPL. Her passion and critical thinking will serve to enrich WPL’s work and give the network a strong sense of direction and intellectual authority”, says Silvana Koch-Mehrin, President & Founder of WPL.
“I am deeply delighted to succeed our inspirational friend, Helen Clark as Chairperson of our WPL Board and look forward to leading an incredible global community of women with the strategic wisdom required to increase the number, influence and impact of women in political leadership in all countries of the world for inclusive and resilient societies”, says Obiageli Ezekwesili, incoming WPL Board Chair.
“I am delighted to pass on the baton of Chair of the WPL Board to Dr. Oby Ezekwesili. I have truly valued the opportunity to work with such a strong and dedicated WPL Board and team and look forward to continuing supporting the important work and mission of WPL. I am certain that under the determined leadership of Dr. Ezekwesili, the power, presence and influence of WPL to help advance society by increasing the number and power of women in politics will not only persevere but flourish to new heights”, says Helen Clar, Chair Emeritus of the WPL Board.
Internationally reputed as an advocate for democracy, transparency and good governance, Dr. Ezekwesili is a co-founder of Transparency International and in 2014, co-convened the #BringBackOurGirls Movement, a group of diverse citizens advocating for the search and rescue of schoolgirls abducted from the secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria in April of that year. In addition, she is Senior Economic Adviser of the Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative and currently also serves as the CEO & founder of Human Capital Africa, working in the education sector across Africa.
Dr. Ezekwesili has been recognized as one of Time-100 Most Influential People and by New York Times as one of the 25 Women of Impact, 2015. Albert Einstein’s Foundation named her one of 100 visionaries featured in the 3D book “Genius:100 Visions of the Future”. She has received numerous awards and serves on the boards of numerous local and international organisations. In 2018, the PRIO- Peace Research Institute Oslo listed her as one of potential candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2006, Dr. Ezekwesili was bestowed the national award of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) medal of merit in Nigeria. In January 2023, Dr. Ezekwesili was appointed as one of three distinguished African experts to serve as Ambassadors for the ‘’Grain from Ukraine’’ Initiative, due to their expertise and dedication towards addressing food insecurity.