The new director-general of the World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said she may not have won her election if she did not enjoy the tremendous support of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, who is on a working visit to Nigeria, said this at a meeting with Mr Buhari in Abuja on Monday.
Details of the meeting were contained in a statement by presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina.
“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,” Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former finance minister, was quoted to have said.
Read Mr Adesina’s full statement below.
President Muhammadu Buhari Monday hosted in audience Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, newly appointed Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), telling her 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 Mrs 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 lauded Nigerian women once again, pointing to key positions they hold like Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, and many others. He said the same way, government would encourage the youths, “so that they can be ready for the challenges of the future.”
The new WTO DG thanked President Buhari for the pulsating support she received from her own country in the race for the position.
“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,” Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said.
She apprised the president of the opportunities for Nigeria in the global organization, 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.
Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala assumed office on March 1, 2021, as the first female DG of the World Trade Organization
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