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 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.”