By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been assured of the country’s full support in her quest to becoming the next Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
This assurance was given by President Muhammadu Buhari when the former Managing Director of the World Bank paid him a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa on Monday.
Mrs Okonjo-Iweala made it to the final two for the job along with South Korea’s Minister for Trade, Mrs Yoo Myung-hee and the candidacy of the former received huge support of the European Union.
Today, the Nigerian visited President Buhari and she was assured that the country will explore every opportunity and deploy its entire energy to ensure that she becomes the head of the trade body 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,” Mr Buhari said.
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 (AfDB). 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 remarks, Dr Okonjo-Iweala, a renowned development economist, thanked the President and his ministers, particularly the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment for supporting her staunchly.
“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.
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.
She asked 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.”
“Mr President put a smile on my face,” she said, “I am very proud of the country,” he added.
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