The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the minority caucus in the House of Representatives have congratulated Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her emergence as Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.
Gbajabiamila, in a statement issued on Monday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, said Okonjo-Iweala’s unanimous confirmation by the General Council of the WTO to head the body is a testament to her years of experience in the financial sector both at home and abroad.
The Speaker, in the statement titled, ‘Gbajabiamila congratulates Okonjo-Iweala on emergence as WTO DG,’ noted that the former two-time Minister of Finance in Nigeria comes to the office with a wealth of experience that spans several decades, stressing that her track record speaks volumes.
Gbajabiamila said with Okonjo-Iweala’s pedigree, he believes that she would take the WTO to enviable heights during her term as the DG. He stated that her confirmation had once again proved that Nigeria has experts that can compete favourably both at home and abroad.
The Speaker said as the first female and first African to head the WTO, the ex-minister and former Managing Director of the World Bank comes to the office at the right time.
The Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, in a separate statement titled, ‘Reps Minority Caucus Hails Okonjo-Iweala on Emergence as WTO DG,’ said her emergence as DG of the WTO “has reinforced global confidence in international consensus and recognition of competence and proficiency over provincial considerations.”
The statement read in part, “Indeed, the election of Dr Okonjo-Iweala to head the WTO is well-deserving, given her wealth of experience, competence, commitment and track record of performance in global finance and economy as evinced in her successes as Nigeria’s minister of finance, Managing Director of the World Bank and various other international development bodies.
“We commend the global community for having confidence in Dr Okonjo Iweala and particularly, the United States President, His Excellency Joe Biden, for the unwavering support given to her by his administration, which is clearly in recognition of Dr Okonjo-Iweala’s competence.
“In the same vein our caucus commends the understanding and spirit of sportsmanship exhibited by the South Korean trade minister, Yoo Myung-hee in withdrawing from the race; another loud testament to Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s suitability for the task ahead.”
The lawmakers charged Okonjo Iweala to, with hitting the ground running and bringing to bear, her skills, connections and wealth of experience “at this trying period in the history of global economy.”
The caucus, however, urged the new WTO DG to have a special focus on Africa and the developing world, “particularly at this time of economic recession, which has been worsened by the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.”