Reps back Okonjo-Iweala for WTO top job
• urge Kenya, Egypt to concede
The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a resolution, giving their support for a 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) was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers at the plenary session presided over by the Speaker, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila.
The Motion which came under “A Matter of Urgent National Importance”, is entitled: “In Support for Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)”.
While moving the motion, Rep 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 occupy the office”.
Rep Elumelu 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 fit to thrive tor the 21st 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”.
“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 “aside Ngozi 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”,
He urged 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”.
The lawmaker recalled that “in the past, Nigeria has staunchly supported the candidatures of other Africans to a leadership position at multilateral, including the candidacy of Late Boutros Boutros Ghali an Egyptian national to become the Secretary-General of the United Nations,
He added 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 Organisation, will further enhance the image of the country amongst the comity of Nations, hence the need to massively support this bid”.
The House then resolved to unanimously endorse the candidature of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position of the DirectorGeneral of the World Trade Organisation for the period of 2021-2025 and commended ECOWAS Authority of heads of states and governments for their strong endorsement and urged President Muhamadu Buhari 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.