President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (PBAT) was recently in Paris for the Global Financing Pact Summit, which was organised by Emmanuel Macron, the president of France.
Incidentally, this foreign trip was his maiden official voyage and outing as a newly elected president who is still learning diplomatic niceties and the diplomatic behaviour of maintaining good relationships to attract investors and investments and yet avoid unpleasantness and unnecessary opposition that may further damage the image of the giant of Africa struggling to survive.
On a scale of 10, I will rate this outing as a 7 for the president and his handlers for their symbolic appearance at this forum. Even the virulent critics of PBAT, Arise Television crew members Rufai Oseni, Dr. Rueben Abati and the lady presenter proudly commented that it was a commendable good outing for PBAT and Nigeria.
However, I was miffed at how bootlickers, political job hunters, opportunists, bloggers, and internet rats looking for cheap popularity called out and negatively accused Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala of not relating well with PBAT on the floor of the meeting in Paris.
They accused her of photo-editing PBAT out of the photograph she took on the floor of the meeting. She was equally accused of deliberately avoiding the president at the venue of the event because of her support for Peter Obi or an Igbo presidency.
This is nothing but spurious allegations intently created to besmirch this financial Amazon reputation during this critical time when we are at our lowest ebb tribally, religiously, and politically. These allegations are orchestrated to destroy her well guided reputation, knowing that ‘he who has an ill name is half hanged’.
Apart from PBAT (who intentionally maintains a low profile in order not to commit blunders throughout the duration of the programme), Okojo is another well-sought-after personality. This is apparent through her photo engagements with almost all the heads of state and heads of government who attended the meetings.
By virtue of her position as Director General of the World Trade Organisation, she is the clearinghouse for expansive global trade. Therefore, she is a global citizen and a global civil servant working for all the countries of the world.
Okonjo Iweala is the best of us in character and deed; she is the Nigerian anointed daughter whom everyone is proud to associate with. She is the quintessence of pride and a shining example for all women across the world. She is the best representation of her constituency, i.e., womanhood.
Her personality towers above all the biases and impurities that characterise our society. The diabolical emissaries of darkness seeking political importance cannot quench or block out the strong light she carries.
Arguably, Mama Ngozi is a Nigerian of Ibo extraction, a detribalized, unassuming, diligent holder of a PhD in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a thoroughbred economist and financial wizard who single-handedly negotiated the write-off of a significant part of Nigeria’s World Bank and Paris Club debts as a Minister of Finance under President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Throughout her stint as Minister of Finance under Obasanjo and Coordinating Minister for the Economy under President Goodluck Jonathan, her well-thought-out policies stabilized the economy and marked the glorious period of the Nigerian economy.
She is a unifying, excellent theme leader with a warm personality, amazing energy, and an impressive biography unrivaled by most of her peers. She is daring, courageous, and not known to brag about her accomplishments; rather, she is a motivator and inspiration to millions of men and women all over the world.
According to Wikipedia, she is notably the first woman and first African to lead the World Trade Organisation as Director-General. She sits on the boards of: Danone, Standard Chartered Bank, MINDS: Mandela Institute for Development Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security, One Campaign, GAVI: Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, Rockefeller Foundation, R4D: Results for Development, ARC: African Risk Capacity, and the Earthshot Prize, plus others.
She also previously sat on the Twitter Board of Directors, and stepped down in February 2021 in connection with her appointment as Director General of the World Trade Organisation. Okonjo-Iweala serves Brookings Institution as a non-resident distinguished fellow with the Africa Growth Initiative in their Global Economy and Development Programme.
She is a Commissioner Emeritus and Co-Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. At The World Bank, she had a 25-year career as a development economist; rising to become Managing Director for Operations from 2007 to 2011.
As an expert and a development economist, she understood the negative impact of abject poverty, income inequality, and unemployment on the emerging economy, hence, she sacrificed her time, energy, knowledge, and expertise to put Nigeria in proper perspective through policies that stabilised the economy in her first and second comings as the Minister through sound, workable, and effective micro and macroeconomic policies to reduce wastage in government.
Her effort to curb waste and corruption culminated in the kidnapping of her 90-year-old mother by the Nigerian political and economic vampires, who saw her as an impediment to the ruling elite’s parasitic tendencies.
In retrospective memory, it is apt to say that when President Joe Biden was elected as the new leader, a group of American academic elites lobbied, spoke, and persuaded the presidency to accept her candidature. Her nomination as the Director General of the WTO was subtly delayed by Donald Trump, the then-President of the United States, who refused to recognise her as the victor because she defeated the candidate favoured by the United States, a South Korean woman.
Such is the atmosphere and the brightness she exudes as a responsible global citizen. With the toxic degree of political unrest happening in our midst, Nigerians shouldn’t visit this great woman with venom and tribal and ethnic biases.
Bello, a social commentator, writes from Canada.