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Okonjo-Iweala is Forbes Africa-CNBC African of The Year

Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been announced as the recipient of the 2020 African of the Year award.

The Forbes Africa-CNBC award is the latest honour clinched by the multi award winning development economist and former Managing Director of the World Bank.

Reacting to the news, Okonjo-Iweala, expressed her delight at the recognition and dedicated the award to Africans facing the health and socio-economic challenges of Covid-19 during a very difficult year.

“It is a great honour to serve Africa in different capacities.” said Okonjo-Iweala, who was one of the African Union Special Envoys appointed to mobilize international support for Africa’s efforts to address the Covid-19 economic fallout. “I look forward to deploying my energies at the WTO for Africa and the world”.

The award comes weeks after her name was submitted as the World Trade Organisation’s Director General designate – the candidate who has garnered the most support to head the organization.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala emerged the overwhelming choice of WTO member-countries following a keenly contested race in which she got the majority support of the 164 member countries.

She is also the World Health Organisation (WHO) Special Envoy for the newly inaugurated Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) accelerator and its offshoot the COVAX facility, an international collaboration aimed at accelerating the development, production, and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, drugs and tests kits around the world with the specific objective of ensuring timely, affordable and equitable access to poor countries.

Okonjo-Iweala also serves as the Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a public-private global health partnership that has immunised 760 million children in developing countries and saved 13 million lives.

Despite objection from US, WTO Electoral Council backs Okonjo-Iweala as preferred candidate to head  organisation

The World Trade Organisation’s Council has finally broken its silence on the preference of Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the new DG of the organisation.

The council posted on its website today that Dr Iweala remains the favourite of all members to lead the organisation despite the objection of the US.

General Council Chair, David Walker of New Zealand and his two co-facilitators in the selection process to choose the WTO’s next Director-General told the organization’s members on 28 October that based on their consultations with all delegations the candidate best poised to attain consensus and become the 7th Director-General was Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria.

“She clearly carried the largest support by Members in the final round and she clearly enjoyed broad support from Members from all levels of development and all geographic regions and has done so throughout the process. I am therefore submitting the name of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the candidate most likely to attract consensus and recommending her appointment by the General Council as the next Director-General of the WTO until 31 August 2024,” Amb. Walker said.

Amb. Walker stressed at a Heads of Delegation meeting on 28 October that this was the assessment of the “troika” of facilitators and that a formal decision had to be taken by the members at a General Council meeting, which he has scheduled for 9 November. The General Council is the WTO’s pre-eminent decision making body, save for the Ministerial Conference which normally meets every two years.

But the assessment was challenged by the United States which said it would continue to support Minister Yoo and could not back the candidacy of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Amb. Walker said members had expressed their views to him, Amb. Dacio Castillo (Honduras) and Amb. Harald Aspelund (Iceland) during the third and final stage of consultations from 19 to 27 October.

The General Council chair explained that since the process to replace former Director-General Roberto Azevêdo began, the ultimate objective of this measured and clearly defined selection process has been to secure a consensus decision by members. He praised the membership for their adherence to the guidelines and for their robust participation in the exercise.

“The entire membership remained fully engaged in and committed to this process. The facilitators and I are grateful for this consistently very positive response. Throughout the process it has been clear that all Members have attached the greatest importance to this appointment,” said Amb. Walker.

He paid tribute to all eight of the candidates who participated in the DG selection process and in particular to Yoo Myung-hee of the Republic of Korea who had advanced to the third round in this process.

“Ms Yoo has vast experience which she has acquired in a number of leading positions and her outstanding qualifications are highly valued by all Members.”

The General Council agreed on 31 July that there would be three stages of consultations held over a two-month period commencing on 7 September.

During these confidential consultations, the field of candidates was narrowed from eight to five and then two as Amb. Walker, Amb. Castillo, chair of the Dispute Settlement Body, and Amb. Aspelund, chair of the Trade Policy Review Body, posed a single question to each delegation: “What are your preferences?”

The consultation process taken by facilitators has been set by guidelines established by the General Council in a 2002 decision. According to these guidelines, the key consideration in determining which candidate is best poised to achieve consensus is the “breadth of support” each candidate receives from the members.

During the DG selection processes of 2005 and 2013, breadth of support was defined as “the distribution of preferences across geographic regions and among the categories of Members generally recognized in WTO provisions: that is (Least developed countries), developing countries and developed countries”. The Chair said he and his colleagues were guided by the practices established in these General Council proceedings and he further explained that the decisions made clear that “breadth of support means the larger membership”.

The process for selecting a new Director-General was triggered on 14 May when former Director-General Mr Azevêdo informed WTO members he would be stepping down from his post one year before the expiry of his mandate.

He subsequently left office on 31 August. Amb. Walker immediately proceeded with the procedures for the appointment of the Director-General that were agreed under the 2002 guidelines. These guidelines require the General Council Chair to begin consultations with members on DG selection as soon as possible and “may establish expedited deadlines as necessary in consultation in Members”.

WTO: Despite her emergence, US blocks Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was slated to be the new Director-General of the World Trade Organization. She will be the first woman, and the first African, to lead the institution. But there was an unexpected glitch in the process.

But in a last ditch move, the United States representative at World Trade Organization took to the floor to insist that South Korea’s candidate remained a contender, and that Washington will not recognise Okonjo-Iweala as the consensus candidate for appointment as director-general.

In response to this, the General Counsel has postponed its announcement of the new Director-General until a further meeting, which is scheduled for 9 November; after the US presidential elections.

A panel at the WTO recommended her today for the position.

Today’s announcement that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is to be the new director-general of the World Trade Organization would have been a tremendous boost for Africa and lines her up for one of the toughest jobs in the international system.

Our sources in Geneva say that she had won the support from the vast majority of member states, including the EU, Japan and China, but not the United States.

She will have to lead the charge for a revival of multilateralism, in the negotiating chambers of the WTO and for a better deal for developing economies, as well as for the practical matter of how reforming trade and patent rules can allow the distribution of life saving vaccines and therapeutics as the coronavirus pandemic rips across the world on its second wave.

JUST IN: Ngozi Okonjo Iweala Elected DG WTO

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been appointed as the first female leader of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Dr Okonjo-Iweala was appointed the new Director General DG of the WTO on Wednesday.

She is the first African and the first woman to head the WTO.
According to sources from the European Union, she emerged victorious in the contest over her South Korean rival Ms Yoo Myung-hee, by a wide margin.
She polled 104 votes from 164 member countries to defeat the South Korea’s trade minister at the final stage of the race.

Okonjo-Iweala’s victory is expected to be announced formally by the WTO later today.

Okonjo-Iweala has said she will bring a fresh pair of eyes and ears to the WTO.

She was a two term Finance Minister of Nigeria and former MD of World Bank
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Okonjo-Iweala Makes Strong Case for Africa, Woman DG at WTO Conference

Nigeria’s former minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is running for the office of the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) yesterday appeared at a press conference held as part of the selection process towards the appointment of the next DG of the global organization at the WTO headquarter in Geneva.

The session consisted of a presentation to the General Council encompassing the 164 members of the WTO and was followed by a 30-minute press conference. Okonjo-Iweala in her presentation made a strong case for an African candidacy. She also pushed for a woman to occupy the DG role.

One of the questions Okonjo-Iweala was asked was what she would tell the American President with respect to getting the US to remain part of the WTO with the body having been criticized by the incumbent Donald Trump as being unfair to US interests.

To this Dr, Okonjo-Iweala affirmed, “I would say to the president that the WTO delivered for all countries, including the United States in the past. It is because of the multilateral rules-based trading system that we have had prosperity and lifting of millions out of poverty, and it’s been shared prosperity.

“We could do it again. I would say to him or him that where the trading system has failed, we need to fix it so that it can be more inclusive, it can benefit more people.”

Thank Governor Ikpeazu for your road, Okonjo-Iweala tells Isingwu people

Former Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has urged the people of Isingwu Autonomous Community to endeavour to appreciate Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu for his role in ensuring the construction of the Umuda-Amato-Ossah Road.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala stated this at her Umuda-Isingwu Country Home while receiving a delegation of Isingwu Eze-in-Council, Isingwu Welfare Union and all Associations in Isingwu, Ohuhu, Umuahia North LGA, Abia State who came to thank her for the role she played in attracting the road to the community.

She stated that she is aware of the controversy over who should take credit for the road and noted that it should not arise as if Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State had not paid the counterpart funding for the project, the World Bank would not have released their own portion of funding for the road. She asked the people to also thank the Governor for his part while thanking her, noting that more of such partnerships and collaboration is needed to bring development to the State.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala disclosed that the road was one of the recurrent wishes of her late father in law and urged the Executives of Isingwu Welfare Union and Isingwu Community to take steps to get the road named after her father in law as a mark of honour for his love for the community.

She expressed delight at the honour done her by the Community in coming to pay her the thank you visit and urged the delegation to also thank her husband, Dr. Ikemba Iweala who always ensured they returned to the village every year wherever they were which fuelled her love for Isingwu Community.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala promised to continue to do whatever she can to assist the community while urging them to continue to be peaceful and progressive for the development of the community.

Okonjo-Iweala, Uncle at Loggerheads Over Delta Traditional Stool

The death of Obi of Ogwashi -Uku in the Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State, Obi Chukuka Okonjo has sparked off crisis between her daughter, a former Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and her uncle Patrick Okonjo.

This is following the naming of a successor allegedly , Dr . Ngozi Okonjo – Iweala.

It was gathered that the main anger of some members of the Umu Obi Obahai Royal Family was that Okonjo -Iweala anointed her younger sibling as successor to the throne without the approval of the ruling council.

A contender to the stool , Patrick Okonjo , a lawyer and brother to Okonjo – Iweala ’ s father had in a press statement accused the former minister of usurping the functions of the royal family and men who should traditionally announce the death of the traditional ruler as well as his successor.

The statement read in part, “ It is sacrilegious of Ogwashi- Uku custom and tradition for a princess to announce the transition of a monarch or proclaim another . It is a purely traditional function.

“Late Okonjo was never an Obi of Ogwashi – Uku under our tradition but a mere regent . Accordingly , his first child cannot be Obi as deceitfully inferred by Ngozi.”

But the royal family of Ogwashi – Uku faulted the claims that the newly crowned Obi Ifechukwude Okonjo , was installed in error.

In another statement jointly signed by the acting Diokpa; Umu Obi Obahai Royal family , Prince Emmanuel Ohei , and others, on Monday , the family said , “We want to make this known : Patrick Okonjo does not speak for the family ; he speaks only for himself as he has always done .”

The statement noted that the new Obi was rounding off traditional processes and would soon begin his reign .

A Public Response to President Buhari’s Reflections ‘Why Did I Became Nigeria’s President at this Perilous Times?’

by Ena Ofugara – Edited by Okoro Benedict Chinedum

The greatest Jihad is the one over self – Prophet Mohammed

This essay is timely especially at a time that President Buhari seem to have made his reflections public about his ascendancy to the office of the President. Why am I Nigeria’s President now? Others ruled when oil sold for 146 dollars per barrel. Mr President Sir, when life gives a Fulani man soup, he does not complain that he has no cassava to make garri or akpu. Rather, he makes tuwo of rice and helps himself with the soup. Mr President sir, on your assumption of office, I wrote an article immediately that you started too early with complaints. At the time, you were full of lamentation about the empty treasury. It was like a man who deceived another man’s wife to abandon her matrimonial home but turns around to tell her that he has no money to take care of her. If you knew that you cannot manage the country without oil selling for $146 dollar per barrel, why did you keep contesting? Why did you not leave Atiku or Tambuwal to inherit the APC structure created by Tinubu? You saw yourself as am an embodiment of the solution to Nigeria’s woes. You were thus advertised to the anger of sanity. To think that all you ever think of is oil is understandable. You have never worked for anything. Not even your salary or meals. As a youth, you joined the army without merit. In the army, your uniform and gun are paid for with oil money from the Niger Delta. You became Governor and enjoyed federal allocations generated from oil from the Niger Delta. Then, you became Minister of Petroleum and then NNPC Managing Director. Of course more free oil money. Then, you became president. You enjoyed the free house in Dodan Barracks free money, you went to prison; there again you had access to free house and food. You came out and became PTF boss, the richest ministry under Abacha. Because you have not worked for anything, but got everything, you cannot account for $2.8m that was blown by whirlwind under your supervision.
Since you left office, as a former President, everything has been free! free!! free!!!. Even your drivers and cooks and gardeners, the government pays them for you, free, free, free. Look around, Atiku has invested and run his companies and make a profit, even as Nigeria is going through hard times; Atiku is calculating and thinking how best to MANAGE his huge investments. Tambuwal has a chamber. El Rufai has his building firm business. These people have understood good and bad times and know how not to blame the breeze, sun, moon, cloud etc during hard times. They know they must pay their workers. Every Igbo man with a store knows this. They may complain a bit but then they shut up and work with what they have. Iya Basira that sells kpomo at Oyingbo knows how to cut her kpomo when the economy is good and how to cut it when it is bad. That’s the harsh realities that the poor widow and millions of Nigeria peasants go through without salaries to run their homes. This is the unfriendly weather that Nigeria youths brave and confronts on a daily basis. Mr President, sir, unfortunately, your addiction to free and easy life is your undoing. We were not surprised that Dasuki obliged you a car and some cash. These free gifts from Dasuki run into an amount that can feed about a million Nigerians in a year. Mr President, sir, it is your disposition to remain your old self without leveraging on the time you have had since you left power to educate yourself further and learn new things that have made your current venture into Aso Rock a national blackout. You are still stuck in your primordial fantasies for cattle rearing. You have refused to rear your head as a model in cattle rearing business by adopting modern day techniques. Mr President, sir, you are indeed a phenomenon. As a Fulani man, you did not even need WAEC to enter the army. You used a Principal’s promissory note ‘THAT YOU WIIL PASS’. Whether you passed or not is a conjecture outside the scope of this piece. It is evident that Tinubu and Amaechi did all the work in your campaign. You did not even read the APC 100 days covenant. You road on the false compositions of “Sai Baba” “Sai Baba”. The chant has made you think you know it all and must not develop yourself. Obasanjo went back to school after his Presidency. Gowon has gone back to school and Ojukwu cannot deceive him with “CONFEDERATION” anymore if he were still alive. Gowon has a proper grasp of the meaning of such word. He has improved himself. Mr President, sir, with every due respect, YOU HAVE NOT RISEN UP TO ANY CHALLENGE. A barrel of oil at $36 is a challenge to be faced squarely by any president who has run a business. It is a task for any man that has run for the post of President of Nigeria more than any Nigerian, leaving or dead.
Such a man will know that it is no time to buy BMW or budget N39billion for propaganda (Ministry of Information). Such a man wouldn’t merely say “that is bad” when confronted in a media chat that Senators are taking a car loan when such is contained in his budget. Such a man will painstakingly look at every item in the budget with a view to limiting expenditure, ensuring there is no leaks or wastage. Atiku is doing that with his companies right away. El Rufai is doing it. Every Igbo man in government is doing it with their ‘SECOND ADDRESS’ (businesses). Osinbanjo is a professor and has invested some using N5Million on books. Mr President, sir, the record has it that your learning ended in 1985. We are not surprised that Germany still resonates like West Germany in your brain. That’s a paltry reflection of how ‘informed’ you are in this era of computer and wireless communication. That’s an inkling into how you can handle modern economics and its dynamics. I entertain the fear that you are gradually becoming a myth. With your complaints, His Excellency, sir, your blame game is a primitive tactic that the Athenians weeded out their democratic culture long ago. Do you mean that you were not expecting challenges at the office? Did it not occur to you that IBB killed the naira (as you claimed)? How come went about promising people that you will make naira equal to the dollar and you will find Chobok girls and provide “sekooority”? Today, under your most revered leadership sir, $1 – N345 and 1 Pound – N450. Its been 9 months, WERE IS YOUR ROADMAP?
Nigeria is not the only country affected by oil slump. In fact, many countries have no oil. Do countries grind to a halt because they have no oil? Their leaders still run these countries without complaints? His Excellency, sir, nature has called upon you at this time to stand up and lead your country. You must take it AS IT IS. Oil will never sell for $100 per barrel ever again, except crude could cure cancer or elongate life. Mr President, sir, please kindly note some pieces of advice stated below it could be of help in salvaging an already precarious situation.
1. Please take back the budget and apologise to Nigerians for the shoddy job. It will give your cabinet some maturity. Get experts to do a better job. That budget is a proof that you are surrounded by wolves. I am afraid what their grand plot would turn out to be if its made public like the budget. You can pick Mr Kalu Aja, a young but brilliant Nigerian. He can refocus the expenditure and make each naira count.
2. Swallow your pride and use people like Akin Adesina, head of Africa Development bank. Arunma Otteh is Vice president of World bank. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala remains a financial goddess. Use them and get financing.
3. Promote made in Nigeria goods. All government official cars should be Innoson. There’s made in Nigeria bullet proof in the West, use them. Let us keep the money in this economy
4. Please redirect the N40 billion for the search for oil search in Sambissa forest to farming, gemstone and metal search in the North and middle belt and to Bitumen in Ondo.
5. Bend down see where the coal in Enugu can take us.
6. Ensure there is peace in Niger Delta and in the East. Whatever is spent to achieve peace is more reasonable and will not be regretted. Peace is cheaper.
6. Review your administration’s position on the Maritime University, second Niger bridge etc. You can punish the fraud without stopping the projects. These are laudable projects.
7. Get Northern youths into the Almajiri schools and build more. Pay parents in the North to send kids to school. We will complain in the south, but ultimately, this is the best way to fight the insurgency in the North.
8. Buy weapons and motivate the army. Act as though Boko Haram started in your time and give it a hard fight. We will encourage you from the rear.
9. Get The best advisers. No one expects you to know everything. Your advisers right now have shown they aren’t good enough. His Excellency, Sir, I repeat, your advisers and the economic team right now aren’t good enough.
10. Every Nigerian loves this country, don’t always think that you are the only one who loves Nigeria more than others. That perception is delusional. A great Nigeria is possible, Nnamdi Kanu can still work with you in making Nigeria great, only if you believe.

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