Obiageli Ezekwesili (28 April 1963), popularly known as Oby Ezekwesili, is a Nigerian chartered accountant from Anambra state. She is married to Pastor Nedu Ezekwesili of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) She was a co-founder of Transparency International, serving as one of the pioneer directors of the global anti-corruption body based in Berlin, Germany. She served as Federal Minister of Solid Minerals and then as Federal Minister of Education during the second-term presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo. Since then, she served as the Vice-President of the World Bank's Africa division from May 2007 to May 2012, she was replaced by Makhtar Diop. Ezekwesili was a 2018 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in transparency in the extractive sector.
Ezekwesili holds a master's degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, as well as a Master of Public Administration degree from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She trained with the firm of Deloitte and Touche and qualified as a chartered accountant.
Prior to working for the Government of Nigeria, Ezekwesiili was working with Professor Jeffrey Sachs at the Center for International Development at Harvard.
Ezekwesili started off in the Olusegun Obasanjo administration as the Pioneer head of the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit (aka Due Process Unit). It was in this position that she earned the sobriquet of "Madam Due Process" for her outstanding work of leading a team of professionals to sanitize the public procurement and contracting processes at the Federal level in Nigeria. She was the architect of the Bureau for Public Procurement legislation, the NEITI legislation and the new Minerals and Mining legislation during her six and a half years stint in government.
In June 2005, she was appointed Minister of Solid Minerals (Mines and Steel) during which time she led a vibrant reform program that led to Nigeria's global recognition as a credible mining investment destination. She was also the Chairperson of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and led the first ever national implementation of the global standards and principles of transparency in the oil, gas and mining sector.
In June 2006, Ezekwesili was appointed the Federal Minister of Education, she held this post until she took up her World Bank appointment in May 2007.
In March 2007, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz announced the appointment of Ezekwesili as Vice-President for the Africa Region starting on 1 May 2007.
In 2012, she successfully completed her stint as the World Bank Vice-President Africa Division. As vice-president she was in charge of the bank's operations of 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and supervised a lending portfolio of over $40 billion.
Ezekwesili was a co-founder of Transparency International and served as one of its pioneer directors. As a senior economic advisor for Open Society, a group founded by billionaire George Soros, she advises nine reform-committed African heads of state including Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia.
Ezekwesili will be contesting for the office of the president of Nigeria under the political party Allied Congress Party of Nigeria. The former minister had hinted at contesting for the office of the president.At Nigeria's 58th independence anniversary, Pastor Tunde Bakare said that she will be running for the office of the president. A video put up by 'Mayowa Tijani, a Nigerian journalist, further confirms Bakare's speech.She promised to elevate 80 million Nigerians.
On 24 January 2019, Oby stepped down from the presidential race owing to divergence of values and visions within her political party, Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN). However, later in the day, the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) said it was too late for anyone to withdraw from the race because the ballot papers have been printed and the Logo of the party would still appear.Fela Durotoye Commended Oby for taking the lead and clamouring for a coalition and seeking to end the rule of #APCPDP.