….Wants Kenya, Egypt to concede
By Tordue Salem, Abuja
The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a resolution, giving their support to 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 urgent national importance”, titled: “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 echelons of multilateral institutions, her reputation as a fearless reformer and excellent negotiator graciously endorsed her as the nation’s candidate for the WTO job”.
According to him, “with the COVID-19 pandemic at hand and many countries faced with difficult choices and critical moments, the WTO has a vital 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 thrive in the 21st century. There is no gainsaying that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-lweala 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 “asides Dr 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 cripples 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 for leadership positions, including the candidacy of Late Boutros Boutros Ghali an Egyptian 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 overwhelmingly supported by the House, with Speaker Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila presiding.
The House also resolved to “unanimously endorse the candidature of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala 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.