The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Richard Adebayo, inaugurated the team in Abuja and said the creation of a campaign strategy group was vital in ensuring that the Nigerian candidate emerged as the DG of the WTO.
The minister disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja by his ministry’s Assistant Director of Information, Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa.
Adebayo said the decision of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to nominate Okonjo-Iweala as Nigeria’s candidate for the position was taken in good faith.
This, he said, was based on the overriding consideration of the need to boost Africa’s chance and for the promotion of gender mainstreaming at the world’s top trade post.
He expressed optimism that the Nigerian candidate would emerge as the next DG of the WTO based on her capabilities and wealth of experience at the highest level of World Bank, as a development economist, diplomat and one of Africa’s most trusted technocrats.
Adebayo said, an eminently qualified candidate in the position of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala with proven leadership, bold reformer, skillful negotiator with abilities to broker numerous agreements that would promote fair trade should be selected for the position.
“I am confident that Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala possess the qualities to lead the most important global multilateral body.”
The minister charged the team to develop a winning strategy for the candidate and also called on stakeholders to give necessary support to the Nigerian candidate.
“My belief is that the team will intensify its level of dedication over time to ensure that we achieve success, ” Richard Adebayo.
The Minister of State, Mariam Katagum, the campaign team leader, assured the minister that members of the group would deliver on the assignment in line with the terms of reference.
The team comprised of officials of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and representatives of the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President.
Others include representatives from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Finance, Nigerian Ambassador to ECOWAS and African Union, as well as Geneva–based officials.