WTO DG job impossible without Buhari’s personal intervention – Okonjo-Iweala


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The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has again expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for his role in getting her into office.

She said that the president’s “personal and direct intervention” made her emergence possible.

According to a statement signed by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, Okonjo-Iweala spoke Monday when she paid a courtesy visit on President Buhari at the State House, Abuja.

It was her first official visit to Nigeria since she assumed her new role on March 1.

“You nominated me, you wrote hundreds of letters, called up hundreds of world leaders. Without your personal and direct intervention, it may not have worked. The people of Nigeria also supported me massively. The youths were wonderful, always encouraging, backing me up on social media.

“Mr President, the world recognizes what you have done. Since its establishment, only men have led the WTO. Now, a woman has emerged for the first time, and she’s a Nigerian. We are so honoured,” Okonjo-Iweala was quoted to have said.

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Adesina said that she apprised the President of the opportunities for Nigeria in the global organisation, as well as the challenges, stressing that “WTO will do more to help Nigeria, but we need to add value to our products in order to trade more. We should exploit all the opportunities in front of us.”

She added that the support and leadership of President Buhari will help her a lot in her position as DG.

The statement quoted President Buhari as telling the new WTO DG that despite the robust support Nigeria gave to her candidacy for the position, “You also earned it. We are happy you made it, but you earned it with your record of performance both at home and abroad.”

The President said Dr Okonjo-Iweala was putting Nigeria more on the world map, “and I congratulate you, as well as the country. I know you will represent us so well.”

President Buhari also used the opportunity to laud Nigerian women, pointing to key positions they hold in his administration like Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, and many others.

He said that the government would encourage the youths in similar fashion, “so that they can be ready for the challenges of the future.”


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