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Okonjo-Iweala and Cheap Publicity

Uzoma Ngozi

“How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.” – Benjamin Disraeli, one-time British Prime Minister.

“When your success hovers from one person to the other, it will definitely get to someone who will regard it as failure.”  – Michael Bassey Johnson, an uncommon Nigerian penman.


In a publication titled, “Those Calling for Okonjo-Iweala’s Sack Are Detractors”, The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations for Transparency in Governance, described those calling for the sack of the former Minister as people who did not want the economic good of the country.

From what I see, they are not just detractors; they are popularity seekers.

Since Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Minister of Finance of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, left office over a year ago, her name remains visible across local and international media. While Nigerians and the world still celebrate her, these arm-chair critics seeing that stories about her generate huge readership devised a means to gain cheap publicity. They now earn a conspicuous mention in the media by constantly linking her name to every known allegation, even those that have little or nothing to do with her, just to earn cheap popularity in the media.

The chief accuser of course is a group with a name almost homophonic to Sarah; in fact, for the purpose of this article I would refer to them by that name.

These unrepentant detractors –Sarah and the gang– disguised as accountability and transparency advocates, flooded the media with press releases, interviews and stories which were nothing but a hodgepodge of lies, false allegations, defamations and sentiments.

Beneath their unending drama, of course, lies their motive.

From dragging Okonjo-Iweala to court, calling on the President to probe her, they escalated their drama to asking her to apologize, requesting for documents which she no longer has access to, and even accusing her of ‘no answers, no apology’. Sarah and the gang have achieved their Number One goal; they have become popular.

Sarah’s misguided ‘missing N30 trillion’ allegation, and other closely related, but certainly unfounded, accusations have made them one of the popular ‘groups’ in the country today. Certainly, their like-minded and myopic followers have increased. Maybe they are even up for some potential grants – there is always that possibility.

In this day and age where every group, organization or setup must do everything to stay ahead, it appears that Sarah may have struck gold by using the age-old gimmick of defamation. It is somewhat ironic that trying to make someone unpopular should make you popular, but that is the nature of things.

Whatever their gains though, they seem to have picked on the wrong person. Despite their best and most desperate attempts at ruining her name, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala always rises out of the ashes of their lies and slander like a phoenix.

Uzoma Ngozi is an entrepreneur and a social commentator who resides in Lagos.

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