Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans (CANAN) last night, April 22, 2015, at the Lincoln Center in New York, honoured Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, also a trustee of the New York based Christian body, for being one the Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.
In a released statement signed by Pastor Laolu Akande, CANAN Executive Director declares that “all of us in CANAN joins Sister Oby, as she is fondly called, in celebrating this well-deserved global recognition and congratulate her for the honorable selection.
Also, the CANAN trustee also met with the US Ambassador to the United Nations discussing how best the US can be of help for the rescue of the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls who have been abducted by Boko Haram terrorists since April last year.
CANAN will continue to advocate for the release of those girls, the welfare of all victims of terrorism in Nigeria and the eventual defeat of Boko Haram, especially now that a new government is taking the reins of power in Nigeria next month.
Below is how Time.com reported the event today:
Nigerian activist and Bring Back Our Girls champion Obiageli Ezekwesili has called on President Obama to do more to help find the girls abducted by Islamist group Boko Haram.
“If he could get Osama bin Laden, he could get our girls,” she said.
Ezekwesili, who was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people in TIME’s annual issue this year, met with Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., and with Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, who runs a school for former child soldiers in Uganda, at the TIME 100 gala in New York City on Tuesday.
“It is time for someone as powerful as Barack Obama to compare the girls of Chibok to his own daughters,” Ezekwesili said. “These girls are a symbol of our own message to girls, that they should be educated, that we would go beyond the call of duty for you.”
She lamented the fact we live in a world where “a child is forced to choose between being alive and being educated.”
Ezekwesili cited some other TIME 100 recipients in her remarks at the gala. “Emma Watson got it right, my father was a he for she,” she said, referencing Watson’s United Nations HeForShe campaign. “Those [kidnapped] girls, their fathers are crying.”
She added, “Who says that out of those 219 girls [there could have been] three Malalas?” (Malala Yousafzai, another recipient, is an activist for women’s education.)
Power said the U.S. was looking at ways to bolster the fight against Boko Haram, which has killed and kidnapped thousands in Nigeria over the past few months. “We’ve been looking at how to throw our weight behind an international force.”
Nyirumbe, who wrote on Ezekwesili for the 2015 TIME 100, said that the meeting between her, Ezekwesili and Power reminded her of “the power of women.”
“I would like to see a lot of people more involved in practical solutions to practical problems,” she said. “Women have got to the point where we can turn the world upside down.”
Ezekwesili shared similar sentiments in her closing remarks. “There’s absolutely nothing that the God I believe in cannot do,” she said. “But the same God has given man and woman the power of choice. Whatever we choose to do, we can accomplish. Let’s choose to bring our girls back, please
Below is from Thisday, a Nigerian newspaper on the same event TIME honorees give standing ovation for BBOG cause
By Chiemelie Ezeobi
“There is no stopping the Co-convener, BBOG Campaign, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, as she continues to canvass for the rescue of the remaining 219 Chibok girls who have been in captivity for 363days
This time around, she took to the world stage as one of the TIME Magazine 2015 World Most 100 Influential People to task US President, Barack Obama, to expedite action in the abducted girls’ rescue using the strategy that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Speaking at the gala night, which was held at Lincoln Centre, New York City, on Tuesday, she said if Obama could bring down world renowned terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, then he could very well rescue the girls.
She said, “If he could get Osama bin Laden, he could get our girls. It is time for someone as powerful as Barack Obama to compare the girls of Chibok to his own daughters.
“These girls are a symbol of our own message to girls, that they should be educated, that we would go beyond the call of duty for you.”
Ezekwesili who was one of the four TIME100 honorees to give a toast at the TIME gala, also told her co-honorees that they each must speedily use their positive influence for the Chibok girls.
Tweeting afterwards from @obyezeks, she wrote, “I was one of four TIME100 honorees chosen to give a toast at the TIME gala last night.
I toasted to following: @AishaYesufu @BukkyShonibare. “I asked the distinguished global positive influencers on TIME100 2015 to all stand up for our #ChibokGirls as mark of hope. They did.
“I told them at TIME gala that no amount of indignity visited on us @BBOG_Nigeria could stop us and that we would demand until our girls are back.
“I told my co-honorees and others @TIME TIME100 that I am a Woman of Faith! I told them I believe in God who gave us power and choice to act. Stand!
“I told @Time that my dad empowered me through Education and freed me to use my loudmouth for the cause of situations like our #ChibokGirls.”
Once again congrats to our CANAN trustee, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, a very courageous woman of faith and virtue.