A strong assurance amid a groundswell of patriotic zeal to ensure her emergence as Director General of World Trade Organisation (WTO) was Nigeria’s Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala ‘s takeaway from her meeting on Monday with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari assured the former Minister of Finance and Economy that the country would explore every opportunity and deploy its entire energy in ensuring that steps in the saddle as DG, WTO.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala is one of two candidates in homestretch for the top position of the multilateral institution.
Buhari, who received the former Managing Director (Operations) at the World Bank at the Presidential Villa, said she deserved more support to get the top job because of her profile and diligence in serving the country, and the world.
Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu, in a statement quoted President Buhari to have said: “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.’’
President Buhari assured Dr Okonjo-Iweala that he would make more phone calls, and send letters to some world leaders for more support.
According to him, “I did the same for Dr Akinwunmi Adesina for President of the African Development Bank. 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.”
Okonjo-Iweala, a development economist, thanked the President and his ministers, particularly the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment for their solid support.
Accirding to her, “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 around the clock to ensure that I succeed.”
She 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 Quattara 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,’’ she said, “I am very proud of the country.’’