The oceans seemed to have
united on Monday as
from across the political spectrum
struggled for space to rejoice at
the confirmation of a former minister of finance, Dr Ngozi OkonjoIweala, as the first woman and
African to be named the directorgeneral of the World Trade
The senior special assistant to
the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said President
Muhammadu Buhari, has congratulated Okonjo-Iweala.
He quoted the President as
saying that the development had
brought joy and more honour to
Shehu, in a statement, said,
"On behalf of the Federal Government and all Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari warmly
felicitates with former minister of
finance and Economy, Dr Ngozi
Okonjo-Iweala, on her election as
director general of the World Trade Organisation, bringing joy and
more honour to the country.
"As the Harvard-educated and
renowned economist takes up another onerous task of service to
the world and humanity, the
President believes her track record
of integrity, diligence and passion
for development will continue to
yield positive results and rewards
"The president joins family,
friends and colleagues in wishing
Dr Okonjo-Iweala well in her new
The minister of Industry, Trade
and Investment, Adeniyi
Adebayo, in his speech on behalf
of the Federal Government, delivered via Zoom at the Special
General Council Meeting of the
organisation in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday, said the process of selection was transparent.
He said the credit for the resulting success must go to the
Adebayo was quoted in state ment issued by his aide, Ifedayo
Sayo, as saying, "Nigeria wishes
to express profound gratitude and
deep appreciation to all the members, who in one way or the other
assisted Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
during the campaign period.
"Thanks also goes to all the regional groupings in the WTO for
granting audience and support
during and after the exercise.
The minister described OkonjoIweala as one of the few on the
global stage that enjoyed high recognition in view of charismatic
leadership qualities and proven
records of excellence and integrity,
along with international political
The president of the Senate,
Ahmed Lawan, in a statement by
his media office, also congratulated Nigeria on the latest feat of
its 'great daughter' on the international stage.
"With her latest feat, the former
Nigerian minister of finance and
managing director of the World
Bank has again brought honour to
Nigeria, Africa and women everywhere, Lawan said.
The governor of Delta State, Dr
Ifeanyi Okowa, assured OkonjoIweala of the support of her home
state and the entire country.
This was contained in a certified social media post by the governor.
Okowa said, "Over the years,
we have all followed your growth
and celebrated your noteworthy
achievements. This is why, as you
begin your new role at the helm
of the WTO, I want you to know
that you have the unwavering support of both your home state and
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila,
and the minority caucus in the
House also congratulated the new
Gbajabiamila, in a statement issued on Monday by his Special
Adviser on Media and Publicity,
Lanre Lasisi, said OkonjoIweala's unanimous confirmation
by the WTO was a testament to
her years of experience in the financial sector both at home and
Gbajabiamila said with OkonjoIweala's pedigree, he believed that
she would take the WTO to enviable heights during her term as the
director general. The minority leader, Ndudi
Elumelu, in a separate statement,
said her emergence as DG of the
WTO "has reinforced global confidence in international consensus
and recognition of competence
and proficiency over provincial
The governor of Rivers State,
Nyesom Wike, said the appointment of Oknonjo-Iweala to head
the WTO was a beacon of hope
A statement by Wike's aide,
Kelvin Ebiri, said, "The Rivers
State governor is confident that
Dr Okonjo-Iweala, who has distinguished herself as a renowned
economist, and contributed to the
economic successes of many nations, will usher in a new era in
Similarly, the Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, said
Okonjo-Iweala would bring her
wealth of experience in building
stronger alliances to promote multilateral trade, instill the needed
discipline to advance the development of world economies and
bridge trade gaps between developed and developing economies
across the globe.
In a speech after her confirmation, Okonjo-Iweala said her
key priority would be to work
with members to quickly address the economic and health
consequences brought about by
the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said, "I am honoured to
have been selected by members
as WTO director-general.
"A strong WTO is vital if we
are to recover fully and rapidly
from the devastation wrought by
the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I look forward to working
with members to shape and
implement the policy responses
we need to get the global
economy going again.
"Our organisation faces a great
many challenges but working together we can collectively make
the WTO stronger, more agile
and better adapted to the realities of today.
Okonjo-Iweala will resume
her position on March 1, and
her term which is renewable will
expire on August 31, 2025.