Reps back Okonjo-Iweala for WTO top Job, wants Kenya, Egypt to concede

By Gift Chapi Odekina

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a resolution, giving their support for Former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to clinch the post of Director General of World Trade Organisation, WTO.

The motion to back the ex-Managing Director of the World Bank, was sponsored by Minority Leader of the House, Rep. Ndudi Godwin ELumelu (PDP-Delta).

The Motion which came as “A Matter of Urgenf National Importance”, is entitled:.
“In Support for Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO)”.

In presenting his motion, ELumelu stated that a distinguished Nigerian, two term minister of finance, one time minister of foreign affairs and former managing director of the world bank Dr Ngozi Okonjo-lweala has been formally nominated by the federal republic of Nigeria to vie for the exalted position of the Director General of the WTO for the period of 2021-2025 and if successful will be the first female and first African to have occupied the office”.

He acknowledged “that President Buhari having put into consideration her outstanding academic and professional background, as well as, her long years of managerial experience at the top eche|ons of multilateral institutions, her reputation as a fearless reformer and excellent negotiator graciously endorsed her as the nations candidate for the WTO job”.

According to him, “with the COViD-i9 pandemic at hand and many countries faced with difficult choices and critical moments, the WTO has a vitai role to play in hunting for trade solutions and building trust amongst member states, hence the need for a capable hand that can make the WTO fit to thrive tor the 2ist century, there is no gainsay that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-lweolo has the requisite capacity and experience to handle the challenges of WTO at this
critical moment”.

He said it was ” the perfect time for Africa to assume leadership at the WTO and all concerned stakeholders, must unanimously commit to achieving this”.

He expressed concern that but”Aside Ngozt Okonjo-lweala, Africa has two other candidates from Egypt and Kenya and entering the race with three candidates from Africa will split Africa’s votes, which crippies the prospect of an African assuming the WTO position”, as he called on the House, to “urgently reach out to the governments of Egypt and Kenya on the need to rally round a single candidate for the continent in the
person of Dr. Okonjo-lweala”.

He recalled that “in the past, Nigeria has staunchly supported the candidatures of other Africans to leadership position at multilaterals, including the candidacy of Late Boutros Boutros Ghali an Egyptian national to become the Secretary-General of the United Nations, adding that “A good turn deserves another and we must now unite the African continent and ensure cooperation amongst our countries to put the continent first”.

According to him, “having a Nigerian as the Director General of the World Trade Organization, will further enhance the image of the country amongst the comity of Nations, hence the need to massively support this bid”.

His position was overwhelming supported by the House, with Speaker Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila presiding.

The House also resolved to “unanimously endorse the candidature of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-tweata for the position of the Director General of the World Trade Organization for the period of 2021-2025, commend ECOWAS Authority of heads of states and governments for their strong endorsement and urge Mr. President to further rally other African leaders to support her bid as the Director General of WTO”.

The House also urged the Pan African parliament to follow suit, as it also urged the FGN to interface with the governments of Egypt and Kenya to step down their candidates in the spirit of African oneness and reciprocity.

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