By Audrey Lotechukwu
MON 15 FEB, 2021-theGBJournal- ‘’President Muhammadu Buhari affirms that Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, who over the years set major records of economic reforms in Nigeria as Minister of Finance, and later Minister of Foreign Affairs, will excel in her new position and validate the global mandate of repositioning and strengthening the multilateral institution for greater good of all,’’ said Garba Shehu, official spokesperson to the President in a statement released Monday.
‘’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 reward to mankind,’’ he said.
The former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi said in his statement that her appointment has not come as a surprise to those of us who know her well.
‘’Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has always been a shining star, not just in our country Nigeria, but across the world where her leadership impact has been felt.’’
Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank congratulated the new WTO DG whom she called ‘’my friend’’ saying, ‘’I’ve known Ngozi for many years. Her strong will and determination will drive her to tirelessly promote free trade to the benefit of people worldwide.’’
The President of the World Bank Group, David Malpass described her selection as WTO DG as ‘’an excellent choice.’’
He said in his tweet; ‘’as Managing Director of the World Bank Group she was at the centre of our global operations and I look forward to a strong new working relationship.’’
The leadership of the country’s leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hailed her appointment as a ‘’victory for competence, global due process and consensus needed to pilot the activities of the world trade body, especially at this critical period in the history of the world’s economy.’’
Dr Okonjo-Iweala, two-time Minister of Finance, who led Nigeria’s economy to exit foreign debt obligations during her first term under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, hails from Delta State, Nigeria and received special congratulatory message from the State Governor, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa.
Governor Okowa who described her as an ‘’illustrious Deltan’’ said that he was elated to hear of the successful emergence of Okonjo-Iweala as WTO boss after a very highly competitive and protracted process.
He described Okonjo-Iweala further as a brilliant, competent, world-class economist and international development expert whose works over the years had distinguished her globally.
The governor stated that the appointment of Okonjo-Iweala had broken the 24-year-old jinx of a female becoming head of the WTO, adding that she was the first African to lead the global trade body in its 25-year history.
“I am excited to hear of the emergence of our illustrious daughter, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.
“Your appointment is indeed, a testament to your competence and experience as a renowned economist and international development expert.
“You went through a very rigorous and competitive process to emerge as the new head at the WTO.
“On behalf of my family, the Government and people of Delta, I congratulate a worthy ambassador of Delta and Nigeria, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on the recognition and appointment.
“As you take on this distinguishing assignment at the big global stage again, I pray and urge you to re-enact that which you have always done – bringing pride and honour to Delta and Nigeria.
“It is without doubt that your pedigree and impeccable footprints in monetary and economic administration in Nigeria and at the World Bank stood you out for this global assignment.
“As you continue in this remarkable trajectory, we wish you success as you mount this new saddle,” he stated.