President Muhammadu Buhari has assured former Minister of Finance and Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that Nigeria will continue to push until she becomes the Director-General (DG) of World Trade Organisation (WTO).
President Buhari, who received the former Managing Director (Operations) of the World Bank at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday, said she deserved more support to get the top job because of her profile and diligence in serving the country, and the world.
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The President, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, said Nigeria would explore every opportunity and deploy its entire energy to ensure that she becomes the WTO DG.
“I assure you that we will do all that we can to ensure that you emerge as the Director-General of WTO, not only because you are a Nigerian, but because you are a hardworking Nigerian. You deserve this,” he added.
More phone calls
The President assured Dr Okonjo-Iweala that he would make more phone calls, and send letters to some world leaders for more support.
“I did the same for Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
“Both of you served the country under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
You are both highly qualified. We will continue to support you. I will immediately make those calls,’’ the President told Dr Okonjo-Iweala.
In her remarks, Dr Okonjo-Iweala, a renowned development economist, thanked the President and his ministers, particularly the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Industry, Trade and Investment for supporting her staunchly.
“I feel very proud of Nigeria. I am getting so much support from you, Mr President, Chief of Staff, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investments.
“The ministers have been working round the clock to ensure that I succeed,” she said.
Proud of Nigeria
The former Minister of Finance also appreciated ECOWAS leaders for their endorsement, mentioning in particular the outstanding contributions of President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic and immediate past Chairman of ECOWAS as well as President Alhassan Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire.
She asked the President to make “one final push within the week to beat the Koreans and bring this to Nigeria by sending a few letters and placing telephone calls to some world leaders, and also thank others for their support.”
“Mr President, put a smile on my face. I am very proud of the country,” she said.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala is one of two candidates contesting for the top position of the multilateral institution.