The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that Nigeria’s candidate in the race for the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has secured cross-regional backing with only the United States opposing the consensus.
The U.S. had opposed the selection of Mrs Okonjo-Iweala when it endorsed her South Korean counterpart, Yoo Myung-hee.
In a statement signed by the ministry’s spokesperson, Ferdinand Nwonye, on Thursday, the ministry said Nigeria will continue to consult ahead of the WTO’s November 9 general council meeting.
“The ministry of foreign affairs wishes to inform that the third and final round of the selection process of the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) was concluded On Tuesday, 27th October 2020 and the result was formally announced on Wednesday, 28th October 2020,” the statement read.
“The candidate from Nigeria, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has secured the support of the majority of the member countries but is yet to be declared and returned the winner.
“This is because apart from winning the election, all 164 member states of WTO were expected to adopt the winner by consensus; in accordance with the rule of procedure of the WTO.
“It is important to highlight that Dr Okonjo-lweala has secured cross-regional backing with only the United States opposing the consensus.
“Nigeria will continue to engage relevant stakeholders to ensure that the lofty aspiration of her candidate to lead the World Trade Organisation is realised,” it said.
Meanwhile, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala despite the opposition from the world’s largest economy remained positive.
In a tweet on her verified account, she said “Happy for the success & continued progress of our @wto DG bid. Very humbled to be declared the candidate with the largest, broadest support among members & most likely to attract consensus.
“We move on to the next step on November 9, despite hiccups. We’re keeping the positivity going!” she tweeted.