Okonjo-Iweala kicks off global campaign for WTO top job

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has kicked off a global campaign to drive home her candidacy for the position of Director General of World Trade Organisation (WTO). The campaign, which is trending on the digital platforms, has already recorded over 138, 000 (one hundred and thirty eight thousand) views in her Twitter handle.

In the 90 seconds video advert on the digital platforms themed “I’m the right woman for the job”, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala explained why she was the perfect fit for the WTO Director General at this time.

“My name is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and I am the woman for the job. I want to bring a fresh pair of eyes and ears to the WTO and make it fit to thrive for 21st century.

“Trade is a force for good. I have seen it with my two eyes. It is ability to improve millions and millions of lives. I spent my life working with teams around the world to deliver reforms, broker agreements, improve systems, fight corruption and empower economies. Corona virus has changed the face of global economy and left many countries facing difficult choices.

“This is a critical moment for world trade and WTO has a vital role to play. It’s time to come together. It’s time for WTO to listen to its members, seek common grounds, hunt for solutions, rebuild trust and return to its founding mission.”

The global campaign, she revealed, was a joint effort of some of her friends and volunteers aimed at communicating her brand equity. Her candidacy is also receiving massive support from President Mohammadu Buhari who nominated her in replacement for Yunov Agah. The president had also convinced both Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as well as African Union (AU) to throw their weight behind Nigeria’s candidate.

Dr. Okonjo Iweala’s campaign has been receiving endorsement from prominent Nigerians. Commenting on her Twitter handle, former Vice President and presidential candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election, Atiku Abubakar twitted: “I, Atiku Abubakar, endorse this message. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala’s experience and the enormous related works she has done confirm without equivocation that her leadership shall be a blessing to WTO and the world.”

Also endorsing her campaign, past Imo State Governor and former member of House of Representative, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha twitted: “I endorse Dr. Okonjo-Iweala for World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General. I wholeheartedly support her campaign to bring fresh ideas on board to energise the system.”

A law teacher at University of Nigeria, Enugu campus, Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo also endorsed her campaign. She twitted: “And who can get the job done better than you? No one! You have demonstrated phenomenal leadership internationally and nationally. The world will be a better place with you at the leadership of WTO.”

Notwithstanding her nomination by President Buhari as Nigeria’s candidate for the plum job and huge support across Africa and ECOWAS in particular, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said she has uncovered a plot by some well connected Nigerians to sabotage her campaign.

The disclosure was contained in a statement by her Media Adviser, Paul C. Nwabuikwu, in Abuja. He said: “As part of this campaign, these persons and their cohorts are peddling outright lies and distortions designed to invent a non-existent “scandal” in order to paint the candidate and her campaign in negative light.

“An example of this is the effort to misrepresent the campaign’s relationship with Mercury Communications, one of the organisations and individuals that have done voluntary, pro bono work for the campaign.”

He stated that Mercury was never formally engaged by Dr Okonjo-Iweala and its work for the campaign was done strictly on volunteer basis, hence cannot be linked to either present or past clients to push a false impression.

Despite distractions, the corporate Amazon expressed optimism about the progress of the campaign both locally and internationally.

Speaking about her agenda at WTO, Okonjo-Iweala was quoted as saying in an interview: “I believe WTO is one of the most important multi-lateral bodies in the world despite the challenges it faces and the reforms that need to be done. I believe it is very relevant for the economic development, growth and sharing of prosperity in the world.

“I want the job because I think I have the skills for it. I think the organisation needs some reforms to make it relevant for times we are in and I have a reputation as a strong reformer. I have actually written a book titled ‘Reforming the Reformable,’ where we undertook certain reforms with a team in Nigeria. I am also a person with strong negotiation skills. I have a career of over 30 years for constantly been involved in negotiating an important agreement between countries.”

In a document endorsing Okonjo-Iweala, ECOWAS President, Mahamadou Issoufou, described her as a fearless reformer” and called other African countries to do so.

Issoufou said she has established reputation as a fearless reformer, excellent negotiating and political skills and experience of over 30 years.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former managing director at the World Bank and former finance minister of Nigeria, is Board Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and an African Union special envoy on COVID-19. She is a Distinguished Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Global Public Leader at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government

Okonjo-Iweala would be joined by six other contestants from Britain, Kenya, Egypt, Mexico, Moldova and South Korea.


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