By Francisca Oluyole
Abuja, Oct. 28
Dr Uchechukwu Ogah, the Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, has endorsed Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position of Director-General, World Trade Organisation, describing her as eminently qualified for the top job.
Ogah made this known in a statement issued by Mr Timothy Akpoili, the acting Director Press of the ministry on Wednesday in Abuja.
“As a renowned development economist, who has been with the World Bank for a long time, she understands the challenges of global development and possesses the expertise to handle them.
He said that her expertise in development economics made her to stand out in the world of finance.
Ogah observed that Okonjo-iweala’s training and competence in economics had seen her serve twice as finance minister, once as Foreign Minister of Nigeria and also rose to be Managing Director of the World Bank.
“Coming from such a background and holding such a track record eminently qualify Okonjo-Iweala for the position of Director-General, World Trade Organisation (WTO),” he said.
He appreciated the unflinching support of President Muhammadu Buhari for Okonjo-Iweala’s quest for the WTO’s top job.
He said that Okonjo-Iweala had broken the glass ceiling by becoming the first African and the first female candidate to reach this last hurdle of becoming the D-G of WTO.
“Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a distinguished Nigerian, a notable daughter of Delta and a proud wife of Abia,” he said.
Ogah said that the former minister had proven her mettle on both the international and national scenes and brought honour to Africa and Nigeria.
“We assure the worthy compatriot that Nigeria will continue to support her until her appointment is finally declared, ” he said.
However, the U.S. representative at the WTO took to the floor in an attempt to stop Okonjo-Iweala, insisted that South Korea’s candidate remained a contender, saying Washington will not recognise her as the consensus candidate for the appointment.
Okonjo-Iweala contested the position with South Korean trade minister, Yoo Myung-hee.
Sources in Geneva say she had won the vast majority of member states, including the EU, Japan and China but not the U.S.
In response to the development, the announcement was postponed until a further meeting scheduled for Nov. 9, after the U. S. elections.