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APC Governors back Okonjo-Iweala to lead WTO

Governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) under the platform of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) have thrown their weight behind, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s candidacy for the office of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The forum in a statement issued Wednesday in Abuja and signed by its Chairman and Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku-Bagudu, called on member countries of WTO to support Nigeria’s candidate for the top job.

Atiku-Bagudu commended President Muhammadu Buhari for nominating the former Minister of Finance, describing her candidacy as not only the best to the world but also a presentation of a credible person with integrity.

“In nominating our own Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, President Buhari is not just presenting a Nigerian Candidate but is presenting to the world one of its best, albeit from Nigeria, and one who is eminently qualified to lead the task of fixing the world trading system.

“An economist, international development expert, and a global public servant, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is one candidate that comes with all the experiences and expertise required to reposition the WTO. Both President Buhari and Dr. Okonjo-Iweala deserve commendation for giving the world the opportunity towards correcting the distortions in the world trading system.

“I am privileged to have interacted with Okonjo-Iweala during her 2011 Senate confirmation hearings as Minister of Finance as well as the in a 2013 negotiation between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government over the implementation of an agreement which led to the closure of Universities for a long time. In both, she was at her best.

“Africa matters, not least because it remains the least developed continent but has a young and growing population that is willing to join the world. Equally African countries and indeed many other developing countries have been responsible for trading partners that give an opportunity to others. They also seek more opportunities from others, and occasionally the two worlds may seem to differ in their views but Okonjo-Iweala is able to make the case for both. She is capable of energizing the World Trade Organisation and give confidence to all countries of the world that we shall be more prosperous together,’ Bagudu said.

According to the forum, the main objective of establishing the World Trade Organization is to create a trading system that is equitable and with least distortions but lamented that, despite being an improvement on the Agreement on Trade and Tariffs GATT, the WTO is yet to deliver in achieving the objectives. Worst still is that it is perceived as impotent.

The forum Chairman noted that: “the exit of UK from EU and the brickbat between the US and China is illustrative of the difficulties with bilateral trade agreements talk more of a global one. The failure of the WTO to reach an agreement on agriculture, for example, is punitive to all of Africa.

“Whoever imagined that one country can ‘seize’ medical supplies going to other countries? Fixing the global trading system is one of the most important challenges of our time and doing so shall contribute to global prosperity more than any agreement. In so doing poverty shall be reduced and global prosperity shall be more equitably shared. Reforming the World Trade Organization is at the heart of any of such quest, and thus the choice of the next leader of the Organization matters.

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