Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister – Nigeria

When politics is a category, it’s normally just the heads-of-state that is mentioned in lists of power and influence; however, in the case of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, it’s quite different – she is a finance minister.

Renown economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Renown economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Hmm… looking at her background, well, no wonder. She’s unique. Not only is she a woman but she doesn’t come from a traditional power instead from a perceived poor country. Yet what many does not know is that Nigeria is actually the third largest economy in Africa with foreign reserves of nearly $50 billion. More so, she completed her A.B. as magna cum laude at the Harvard University, got a doctorate for regional economic development at MIT and was one time among the Managing Directors of the powerful World Bank. In those times, she was twice considered for the top post of the said financial institution, 2007 and 2012.

This was why she was ranked 83rd among the most powerful women by Forbes.

Yet as expected, nothing sweet comes without going through sourness and in this instance – probably her only chink in the armor is appointing Igbos to key positions in finance. Iweala is incidentally a member of the ethnic group, Igbo.

Well, this is nothing new as humans, for that matter, look after their flock. This is true not just in politics, it also happens in business or even in community organizations. The important thing here as always is balance and “rightfulness.” Meaning, if Igbos are appointed, make sure they are capable; otherwise, members of other ethnic groups should really be given that chance.

Try to be different. Don’t just hire disgraced executives who has failed big time. And when you look at passive candidates, don’t just dig from familiar spots. Remember while birds of the same feather flock together – Eagles, or the “king of the air” actually flies alone.

In her own words, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala hinted that she could indeed be that difference: “When you save the life of anyone, a farmer, a teacher, a mother, they are contributing productively into the economy.”

Hopefully, every Nigerian would feel that power.

What’s your take?