BY BEN AGANDE in KAMPALA, UGANDA
KAMPALA — Nigeria, yesterday, took the battle for its Finance Minister’s quest for the World Bank Presidency to the Inter Parliamentary Union as its delegation to the IPU conference holding in Kampala, Uganda mounted an intense lobby of World Parliamentarians to support the candidacy of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the World Bank president.
Nigeria’s leader of the delegation, Senator David Mark, alongside the deputy head of delegation, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, sold the candidacy of Dr Okonjo-Iweala to world parliamentarians on the need to support African candidate for the exalted position at the 126th session of the IPU.
Ihedioha, who championed the campaign for Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said the opportunity provided by the IPU conference was auspicious for Nigeria to sell her candidate to the world.
According to him, Nigerian legislators attending the conference are resolved to engage their counterparts from other parts of the world to secure a broad-based support for Africa’s aspiration to occupy the post.
He noted that the overwhelming support for Africa’s bid for the slot by emerging economies across the world was remarkable, adding: ‘It behoves on all eminent statesmen, key political figures and persons of international repute and influence with sympathy for developing nations to express their support for the continent’s quest to secure a paramount voice in the apex banking and development institution of the world.
While commending African leaders as well as those of emerging economies for their support for Okonjo-Iweala, Ihedioha said “such unanimity of purpose and convergence of interest is surely necessary as a pre-condition for redressing the disadvantaged placement of these nations in global affairs.”
He said the nomination of Jim Yong Kim by the president of the United States of America was a healthy development for the competitive spirit that should attend the contest for the office of the World Bank President, adding that what is required is fair play and a level playing ground so that the best candidate can emerge in a credible and acceptable manner.
The House of Representatives, last week, unanimously endorsed the candidacy of Okonjo-Iweala for the World Bank top job and urged President Goodluck Jonathan to intensify campaign for her election.
The House had in a matter of Urgent National Importance, through Hon. Austin Ugbaboru, noted that Okonjo-Iweala was one of the best export materials Nigeria ever had.
He said: “Our Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as we are all aware, is vying for the position of President of World Bank. This is the first time that a Nigerian will be vying for this position and it is pertinent for us as a House to endorse her candidature, so that the whole world will know that she has our support because she is eminently qualified to hold the position.”