..OKONJO-IWEALA LAUDS BUHARI, NASS, ECOWAS FOR SUPPORT
Nigeria has inaugurated a Campaign Strategy Team to support former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy for Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) position.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, inaugurated the team on Thursday in Abuja.
Adebayo said the team was set up to provide coordinated support and ensure that the former World Bank’s Managing Director was elected as the DG of the WTO.
He stated that the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to nominate her as Nigeria’s candidate for the position was taken in good faith, given the overriding consideration of the need to use Africa’s chance for the promotion of gender mainstreaming at the world’s top trade post.
Meanwhile, the former Nigerian minister has expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly for nominating and supporting her candidacy for the top position of WTO.
Iweala, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Geneva, also thanked the leadership of the National Assembly and ECOWAS for endorsing her candidacy as the race for the WTO Director-General position enters the selection phase.
“I want to also thank the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari; House of Representatives’ Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu and the Nigerian Ambassadors to Switzerland and WTO as well as the Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva,“ she said.
Okonjo-Iweala is vying for the top job alongside candidates from Kenya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UK, Moldova, Mexico and the Republic of Korea.
The former Finance Minister had previously urged the WTO to elect its Director-General based on merit, adding that given her resumè as a development economist she was best suited for the job.
She said: “People ask me often what best qualifies you for the job- I think the WTO needs leadership, it cannot continue to do what it did before.
“If it’s to stay as one of the premier institutions of the 21st century, it needs strong leadership which is a quality I have.
“It needs knowledge of trade which I have for being a development economist which my entire career is built around. It needs someone with political skills and international connections that can reach policymakers in all countries- and I have that owing my 35 years of experience
“The job needs someone who listens – and I’m a good listen and lastly some who is solution-oriented and pragmatic.
I have experience in all sectors ranging from the public to private sectors and international civil societies as well as from multilateral organisations; if you put all these together, you will see I’m best qualified for the job.”
All the candidates are in Geneva to make presentations to the WTO General Council and addressed the press from July 15th – 17th.
BADEJO ADEMUYIWA has 23 years experience as a Finance Writer, specialising in Insurance and Investigative Reporting.