From Franca Ochigbo, Abuja
Dr Ngozi Okonjo–Iweala on Thursday expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly for nominating and supporting her candidacy for Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) position.
“I want to also thank the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, the Chief of Staff to the President Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and the Nigerian ambassadors to Switzerland, WTO as well as the Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, “ she said.
Iweala who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Geneva, also thanked ECOWAS for endorsing her candidacy as the race for the WTO Director General position enters the selection phase.
She is vying for the top job alongside candidates from Kenya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UK, Moldova, Mexico and the Republic of Korea.
Yesterday, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo inaugurated a Campaign Strategy team for her in a bid to win the WTO top job.
Adebayo while inaugurating the team in Abuja said the setting up of a Campaign Strategy team was key to ensuring that she got the top job.
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According to the minister, the decision of President 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
All the candidates are in Geneva to make presentations to the WTO General Council and addressed the press from July 15th – 17th.
The former Finance Minister who had previously urged the WTO to elect its Director-General based on merit, said 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 policy makers 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.”