Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment has described the appointment of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the Director-General of World Trade Organisation (WTO) as the right choice.
Adebayo said this in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Ifedayo Sayo, in Abuja on Monday.
The statement was sequel to the minister’s address during a zoom meeting of the WTO Special General Council coordinated from Geneva, Switzerland on Monday.
Adebayo, who said Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment will benefit the organisation, also commended the transparent process that led to her appointment.
According to him, Nigeria wishes to express profound gratitude and deep appreciation to the members who assisted Okonjo-Iweala during the campaign period.
“Thanks also goes to all the regional groupings in the WTO for granting audience and support during and after the exercise.
“We also thank the WTO Secretariat staff, translators and the press who worked hard in supporting and providing updates to members and general public on the selection process,” he said.
The minister described Okonjo-Iweala as “one of the few on the global stage that enjoyed high recognition in view of charismatic leadership qualities.”
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He said she had proven records of excellence and integrity, along with international political connections.
The minister expressed the belief that the new director-general would lead the organisation to achieve its purpose and mandate.
“You will find her as a servant-leader who will always listen to you and work with you to achieve a common purpose.
“She shared her thoughts on possible solutions that would be brought on board for consideration with a view to ensuring that full mandates of WTO are enforced in accordance with members’ expectations,” he said.
He further expressed confidence that Okonjo-Iweala would mediate among members to ensure that factors responsible for divergences on various negotiating issues were addressed and streamlined.
“As a reformer, she has undertaken to work with members on the WTO reform agenda, including the urgent need to address the impasse of the Appellate in the Dispute Settlement Body.
“New initiatives with the support of members will be introduced to source for more funds from other multilateral financial institutions.
“This will help to assist members in building their capacity to fully comply with their obligations and new trade initiatives in the WTO,” he said.
The minister urged all members to give the new director-general all the cooperation required for her to work with a view to making WTO an outstanding multilateral institution.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the General Council’s decision on Okonjo-Iweala followed months of uncertainty, which arose when the United States initially refused to join the consensus.
Rather, the United States threw its support behind the Republic of Korea Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee for the position.
However, the South Korea’s Yoo quit the race on Feb. 5, giving Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance a headway.
With the appointment, Okonjo-Iweala’s term begins on March 1. (NAN)