Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, has assured Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala of the country’s support to ensure her emergence as the Director General of the World Trade Organization.
President Buhari gave the assurance on Monday, while playing host to Okonjo-Iweala at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala is one of two candidates contesting for the top position of the multilateral institution.
According to a statement released by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, President Buhari told the former Minister of Finance that, said she deserved more support to get the top job because of her profile and diligence in serving the country, and the world.
The statement quoted the President thus, “I assure you that we will do all that we can to ensure that you emerge as the Director-General of WTO, not only because you are a Nigerian, but because you are a hardworking Nigerian. You deserve this,’’ he added.
Buhari promised to use the same connections that ensured the emergence of Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina as President of the African Development Bank, saying both are ably qualified to hold higher responsibilities anywhere in the world.
“I did the same for Dr Akinwunmi Adesina for President of the African Development Bank. Both of you served the country under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). You are both highly qualified. We will continue to support you. I will immediately make those calls,’’ the President told Dr Okonjo-Iweala.
In her response, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, a former Managing Director (Operations) of the World Bank, appreciated the support of the President and his ministers, specifically mentioning the minister of Foreign Affairs and that of Industry, Trade and Investments.
“I feel very proud of Nigeria. I am getting so much support from you, Mr President, Chief of Staff, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investments. The ministers have been working around the clock to ensure that I succeed,’’ she said.
She also thanked the leaders of ECOWAS for their endorsement, with a particular mention of the outstanding contributions of President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic and immediate past Chairman of ECOWAS as well as President Alhassan Quattara of Cote d’Ivoire.
Dr. Iweala pleaded with Buhari not to relent in his efforts by putting through calls to some of his allies and world leaders to ensure victorious ahead of the her rival and a former South Korean Minister of Trade, Yoo Myung-hee.