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My 4am lamentations: Our former minister has not been chosen to head the WTO

By Fred Chukwuelobe

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Nigeria’s two-time Minister of finance and also former Coordinating Minister for the economy, has not been chosen to head the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as its Director-General (DG).

She is one of the two candidates shortlisted for the post. The second lady is from South Korea, Yoo Myung-Hee, the country’s trade minister.

Okonjo-Iweala, 66, served two stints as Nigeria’s finance minister and one term as foreign affairs minister. She has experience working at international governance bodies as a former managing director of the World Bank and as a chairman at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.

Yoo, 53, is South Korea’s trade minister. During her 25-year career in government, she has helped expand her country’s trade network through bilateral accords with China, the European Union, the U.K. and the U.S.

By narrowing the choice to the two female candidates, the WTO has set the stage for the first woman to lead the 25-year-old organization. Who among the two, we don’t know yet.

A decision has yet to be made. The final votes are yet to be cast. America, China and other members of the G-7 will vote on the 159-member body. America may feel ruffled by what happened to them in the AfDB and go against Nigeria. This is my fear. It may be unfounded, but this is an International position. It’s not CBN governorship.

She has an intimidating CV, but the South Korean lady has developed economies on her side.

It’s going to be a tough battle and we remain hopeful.

Meanwhile, if you rushed to announce the “breaking news” of her appointment, which you sourced from social media, do yourself a world of good and pull it down. The news has not broken yet.

Don’t always rush to break unconfirmed news. You make a mockery of yourself if you do so. There are certain ways of cross-checking this sort of news. A little patience will get you there. Surulere, the Yorubas say: patience has its rewards. Be patient.

The WTO choice of DG is not a local government election where results are broken by partisan supporters in favour of their own candidates.

The WTO will vote on the coveted post, announce it, and you can then “break the news”.

We await the decision and we remain hopeful. But note that it’s going to be tough. Again, Surulere.

This is my 4am lamentation for today.

Have a blessed weekend and don’t go out from this night if you have no serious business. They’re closing Third Mainland Bridge for three days. With Eko Bridge partially shut, reckless drivers and tankers on Lagos roads; with the powerful National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) still collecting their tolls on the famished roads, as well as street urchins, popularly known as Agberos, you can be sure of serious and worsened traffic gridlock.
So, stay at home and rest.

On Mama Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala we stand. Let’s hope it works.

Written By Fred Chukwuelobe

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