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Okonjo-Iweala denies presidential ambition, calls it “utterly ridiculous”

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Okonjo-Iweala denies presidential ambition, calls it “utterly ridiculous”

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has denied nursing any Presidential ambition in the 2020 general election.

Okonjo-Iweala, who was a two time Nigeria’s Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the economy, has refuted some media reports linking her to having interest in contesting for Nigeria’s presidential seat in 2023, describing such rumour as utterly ridiculous and not true.

Her reaction follows suggestions from some Geneva trade officials who were quoted as saying that she would be leaving her job as the WTO Director-General to run in the 2023 presidential election in his home country, Nigeria.

However, in a statement on Friday, October 1, 2021, to Bloomberg News, Okonjo-Iweala denied claims that she is set to resign from her WTO position as part of plans to contest for the country’s number one post as she has no interest in running for Nigerian presidency in 2023.

In her statement to Bloomberg, she said, “I just got here. I am enjoying what I’m doing. It is a very exciting job and I am trying to have some successes here.” She described the rumours as “utterly ridiculous”, maintaining that she is focused on doing her job as the WTO chief and achieving some milestones with the organisation.

What you should know

Recall that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala began the year with a plan to score quick negotiating victories that she said would help restart the dysfunctional Geneva-based trade body, but she has been faced with the frustrating reality of things remaining unchanged in WTO.

She was reported to have earlier this year, repeatedly told ambassadors and staff that she could easily walk away from the job, and reminded them she had not bought any furniture for her temporary home in Geneva.

An early departure of the WTO’s top trade official would add yet another layer of chaos to an organisation suffering from an existential crisis that may lead governments to conclude the WTO is not a credible forum for addressing their shared challenges, the medium stated.

The WTO chief has been at the forefront of the push for Covid-19 vaccine equity and told President Muhammadu Buhari during a recent visit to Nigeria that she is persuading vaccine manufacturers to invest in Africa as the drive for COVID-19 vaccination continues globally.

Her drive for Covid-19 vaccine equity has also earned her accolades globally.

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