By Godwin Amunde
The candidacy of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General has received a boost from elected governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) under the auspices of the Progressive Governor’s Forum (PGF).
President Muhammadu Buhari earlier in June, 2020 announced the nomination of Nigeria’s two term former Minister of Finance.
The forum in a statement issued Wednesday in Abuja and signed by its Chairman and Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku-Bagudu, called on member countries of WTO to support Nigeria’s candidate for the top job.
Atiku-Bagudu also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for nominating the former Minister of Finance, describing her candidacy as not only the best to the world but also a presentation of a credible person with integrity.
Part of the statement reads: “I am privileged to have interacted with Okonjo-Iweala during her 2011 Senate confirmation hearings as Minister of Finance as well as the in a 2013 negotiation between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government over the implementation of an agreement which led to the closure of Universities for a long time. In both, she was at her best.
“Africa matters, not least because it remains the least developed continent but has a young and growing population that is willing to join the world. Equally African countries and indeed many other developing countries have been responsible for trading partners that give an opportunity to others. They also seek more opportunities from others, and occasionally the two worlds may seem to differ in their views but Okonjo-Iweala is able to make the case for both. She is capable of energizing the World Trade Organisation and give confidence to all countries of the world that we shall be more prosperous together.
“In nominating our own Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, President Buhari is not just presenting a Nigerian Candidate but is presenting to the world one of its best, albeit from Nigeria, and one who is eminently qualified to lead the task of fixing the world trading system.
“An economist, international development expert, and a global public servant, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is one candidate that comes with all the experiences and expertise required to reposition the WTO. Both President Buhari and Dr. Okonjo-Iweala deserve commendation for giving the world the opportunity towards correcting the distortions in the world trading system,” the PGF chairman said.
Okonjo-Iweala would be jostling for the WTO’s DG position against Egypt’s Hamid Mamdouh, a trade lawyer, member of the WTO Secretariat, and trade negotiator for Egypt; and Beninoise Eloi Laourou, the ambassador and permanent representative of Benin to the United Nations and other organisations in Geneva.