The presidential election in Nigeria is quickly approaching, and until this week two men who are both in their 70s were the leading candidates. But then the tireless Obiageli Ezekwesili shook things up by announcing she is jumping in the race. Ezekwesili, co-founder of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign advocating for the return of 276 girls who were kidnapped in the middle of the night by Boko Haram militants while at school in Chibok, Nigeria, in 2014. She is also Nigeria’s former education minister and once served as a vice president at the World Bank.
Ezekwesili announced her candidacy on Twitter this week, telling Nigerians “our time has finally come!”
— Oby Ezekwesili (@obyezeks) October 7, 2018
All told, there about nine candidates running, according to the BBC, but the two top candidates the 55-year-old Ezekwesili will have to beat out are 75-year-old incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari his top challenger, 72-year-old Atiku Abubakar. She is making an appeal to younger voters in a country where more than 50 percent of the populations is under 30 years old. “How can a country gifted with millions of young, vibrant, brilliant people, be satisfied with just being [an] onlooker?” Ezekwesili recently remarked. She’s also framing herself as the anti-establishment candidate. In the months after the Chibok girls were abducted, Ezekwesili was sharply critical of the government response, accusing officials of “dilly-dalling” in launching a respectable rescue effort. Voters in Nigeria will go to the polls in February.
Of course, Ezekwesili has appeared at numerous Women in the World events over the years, often talking about the struggle to rescue the kidnapped Chibok girls. Women in the World founder Tina Brown congratulated Ezekwesili on her presidential bid, saying on Twitter, her “roaring leadership potential has been obvious to us for years! At last running for president of Nigeria!”
A @WomenintheWorld hero woman hits the headlines. @obyezeks' roaring leadership potential has been obvious to us for years! At last running for president of Nigeria! https://t.co/y11zH9z060 Here she is onstage with us in 2016 https://t.co/P0bVdx7nav
— Tina Brown (@TinaBrownLM) October 9, 2018
Below, watch video of Ezekwesili’s most recent appearance on the Women in the World stage at the New York Summit in 2016.
Read the full story at the BBC.