Okonjo-Iweala seeks final push for WTO DG job

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President Muhmmadu Buhari on Monday granted former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala prayers.

She requested the President to “make one final push within the week to beat the Koreans and bring this to Nigeria by sending a few letters and placing telephone calls to some world leaders, and also thank others for their support.’’

She added: “Mr President, put a smile on my face, I am very proud of the country.”

She spoke in Abuja during her meeting with President Buhari to thank him for his support for her bid to become the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala is in the race with Korean Mrs. Yoo Myung-hee.

President Buhari assured her that the country would deploy all efforts to ensure her victory.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala, a development economist, previously served as Managing Director of the World Bank.

The President said: “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.

“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.”

Dr Okonjo-Iweala added: “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.’’

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 Alhassan Quattara of Cote d’Ivoire.

The WTO is the only global international organisation dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.

The global trade body operates a system of trade rules, acts as a forum for negotiating trade agreements, settles trade disputes between its members and supports the needs of developing countries.

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