What Dr. Oby Ezekwesili told me in Washington DC…
During one of my trips to the US to cover the World Bank/IMF Annual Meeting, I was privileged to be in an audience that was addressed by the iconic Nigeria-born, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, who was a top shot at the Bank.
I was so lifted and impressed by her presentation, which was applauded with a standing ovation, that I couldn’t but meet her in the hall immediately afterwards, and the following conversation took place between us:
Me: Good afternoon, ma. My name is Lanre. I am a Nigerian journalist, and couldn’t but be proud of you and my country, hearing your presentation.
Oby: Thank you, Lanre.
Me: Ma, I have two daughters, who are still in high school back home, and pray and hope that, one day, they will be as great and make our country proud as you are doing.
Oby: Did you say you have two daughters?
Me: Yes ma.
Oby: My own prayer for them is that they’ll be greater than me!
Me: (Almost shouting) Ameeen!
Oby: But, listen Lanre…
Me: (In utter and attentive silence)
Oby: But, YOU HAVE TO BE THERE FOR THEM! My father was ALWAYS there for me, irrespective of the fact that I was a GIRL.
He NEVER said nor did anything that made me feel inferior to any other person, including the male-child!
He supported and loved me, not seeing me as a ‘mere’ girl.
So, Lanre, make SURE that you love, support and are there for your daughters, as much as you are for your male children!
I had always loved and cared for my daughters, just like I did their male siblings, but Dr. Oby Ezekwesili’s encouragement served as the ‘fuel’ that INSPIRED me to do even more.
Today, I can only thank God, and the likes of Dr. Ezekwesili, for how my girls have, and are still turning out!
LESSON for parents of the girl-child:
Your female child/ren is/are as important in God’s eyes as your male ones. In fact, He respects no particular gender, and makes no distinction between male and female; We are all the same before the Creator! And there’s no telling how far your girl-child/ren will go, if cared for and supported, a la Oby Ezekwesili and her type.
God bless you, and to Him alone belongs ALL the glory!