Buhari frets as Trump rejects Okonjo-Iweala for WTO DG

President Muhammadu Buhari may have developed intense perturbation as President Donald Trump of the United States of America rejected the Nigerian nominee, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for the Director General of the World Trade Orgainsation (WTO). The Nigerian president may have reason to fret over the US president opposition to Okonjo-Iweala since similar action in the past frustrated the same Okonjo-Iweala from becoming the President of the World Bank. Apparently, the US rejection of Okonjo-Iweala, and support for South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee, has woke Nigeria up from slumber and negligence of the requisite duty of lobbying member states of WTO to ensure the acceptance of Okonjo-Iweala in the final selection for the WTO DG.

The United State of America (USA) on Wednesday rejected Okonjo-Iweala, declaring support for the South Korean Minister of Trade, Yoo Myung-hee. The US rose to challenge the WTO’s ambassadors resolution on Wednesday to unanimously endorse Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s nominee, for consensus approval of member states.

The Nigerian government in a statement by the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, Ferdinand Nwonye, disclosed that the third and final round of the selection process of the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) was concluded on Tuesday, 27th October 2020 and the result was formally announced on Wednesday, 28th October 2020.

The foreign Affairs Ministry stated that the candidate from Nigeria, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, secured the support of majority of the member countries of the WTO but is yet to be declared and returned the winner.

“This is because apart from winning the election, all the 164 Member States of WTO were expected to adopt the winner by consensus, in accordance with the rule of procedure of the WTO,” the ministry explained.

It was indicated that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala secured cross-regional backing with only the United States opposing the consensus.

The Ministry emphasized that a meeting of the General Council of the WTO has been scheduled for November 9, 2020, for the final decision on the election process.

“Nigeria will continue to engage relevant stakeholders to ensure that the lofty aspiration of her candidate to lead the World Trade Organization is realized,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry declared.

However, engaging and lobbying are the critical activities the Nigerian government should not ignore at all stages until the conclusion of the appointment process.