Topmost Contender for the office of the Director-General of the World Trade Organazation (WTO) and former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Monday visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Present at the meeting were by the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubair Dada.
President Buhari assured Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, that the country will explore every opportunity and deploy its entire energy to ensure that she becomes the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) because she deserved more support to get the top job because of her profile and diligence in serving the country, and the world.
“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.
The President assured Dr. Okonjo-Iweala that he will make more phone calls, and send letters to some world leaders for more support.
“I did the same for Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina for President of the African Development Bank. Both of you served the country under the People’s 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 remarks, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, a renowned development economist, thanked the President and his ministers, particularly the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment for supporting her staunchly.
“I feel very proud of Nigeria, my country. 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.
The former Minister of Finance also appreciated ECOWAS leaders for their endorsement, mentioning in particular the outstanding contributions of President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic and immediate past Chairman of ECOWAS as well as President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire.
She asked the President to “make one final push within the week to beat the Koreans and bring this to Nigeria and to you by sending a few letters and placing telephone calls to some world leaders, while thanking others for their support.’’
“Mr. President, put a smile on my face,’’ she said, “I am very proud of the country.’’
Okonjo-Iweala is running for the seat of the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Nigeria’s former Finance Minister and Korean minister Yoo Myung-hee will advance to the third and final stage.
Whoever wins the contest with a decision due before November 7 will take over an organisation mired in multiple crises and struggling to help member states navigate a severe global economic slump triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
The pair received a boost earlier this week when EU member states officially threw their weight behind them.
President Buhari has given his support and that of his administration to her effort to clinch the position.
The world is waiting for the announcement of the choice for that office by the two shortlisted candidates.