WTO: Female Lawmakers Back Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

By Deji Elumoye

The quest by former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to become the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), received a boost on Sunday as federal female lawmakers backed her ambition.

The lawmakers under the aegis of Nigeria’s Female Parliamentary Caucus, in a release issued by Senator Joy Emodi, described Okonjo-Iweala as the best hand for the WTO top job.

The female legislators stated that while other candidates for the position were also qualified, the former minister stood head and shoulder higher, adding that the quest for gender and regional inclusiveness in the running of the organisation equally favoured her candidacy.

The caucus, which is a body of serving and past female members of the National Assembly dedicated to pushing for good governance, inclusion of more women in leadership positions and building international collaborations for gender mainstreaming, stated inter alia:
“Having considered Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s pedigree, her sterling leadership qualities, her local and international profiles, achievements and exposures as well as her dedication to the promotion of an all-inclusive international trade, we have no doubt that she is the best hand for the job.

“At this time and age of the WTO, the world deserves a WTO that is a win-win for every region of the world, a WTO that will help African countries especially and other countries in the South to reap substantial benefits from the world trading system through level playing field and aide for trade. We are talking about deepening multilateralism and in a way that doesn’t leave anyone behind or perpetually with the short end of the stick.

“And of course, we are also calling on the WTO stakeholders to consider that no African has been appointed the DG of the WTO since it was founded over 25 years ago in 1995. There is no better time to democratise the driver’s seat of the WTO in the true sense of its name. More significantly, Africa now has in the Harvard-educated former Managing Director of the World Bank the best hand to take the organisation to the next level.”

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for sponsoring Okonjo-Iweala for the WTO top job, it called on the Nigerian government not to relent in “pulling all diplomatic strings to ensure her victory”.

The caucus also called for a full African continental support for Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy, which it described as “Africa’s best foot forward”.