President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday met with the newly appointed director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former finance minister, who is on a four-day official visit, was accompanied to the villa by the minister of industry, trade and investment Niyi Adebayo; foreign affairs minister Geoffery Onyeama; and minister of state for industry, trade and investment Maryam Katagum.
According to presidential spokesman Femi Adesina, the president told the WTO DG that she earned it despite the robust support Nigeria gave to her candidacy for the position.
“You also earned it. We are happy you made it, but you earned it with your record of performance both at home and abroad,” he said.
Buhari lauded Nigerian women once again, pointing to key positions they hold like minister of finance, budget and national planning, head of the civil service of the federation, and many others. He said it is the same way his administration would encourage the youths, “so that they can be ready for the challenges of the future.”
Okonjo-Iweala thanked Buhari for the pulsating support she received from her own country in the race for the position.
She said: “You nominated me, you wrote hundreds of letters, called up hundreds of world leaders. Without your personal and direct intervention, it may not have worked. The people of Nigeria also supported me massively. The youths were wonderful, always encouraging, backing me up on social media.
“Mr President, the world recognises what you have done. Since its establishment, only men have led the WTO. Now, a woman has emerged for the first time, and she’s a Nigerian. We are so honoured.”