WTO DG Okonjo-Iweala has spoken on running for Nigeria President in 2023.
Truetells Nigeria reports that the Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has declared that she is not interested in vying for Nigeria’s presidency in 2023.
Reacting to rumours about her purported intent to contest at the polls and resign her position with WTO barely seven months into her four and a half-year term, Okonjo-Iweala described the rumour as “utterly ridiculous and not true.”
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.”
But New York-based Bloomberg News, reported that despite beginning the the year with “a plan to score quick negotiating victories that she said would help reboot the dysfunctional Geneva-based trade body;” insiders revealed that the WTO chief is threatening to walk away from the job.
Seven months into her 4 1/2-year term, Okonjo-Iweala has fully grasped the frustrating reality of the WTO’s historical inertia, even privately floating the idea of resigning if no headway can be found on critical issues, the medium stated, quoting five trade officials in Geneva who declined to be identified.
This year, Okonjo-Iweala has reportedly told ambassadors and staff that she could easily walk away from the job, reminding them that she hasn’t bought any furniture for her temporary home in Geneva, the officials said.
Okonjo-Iweala’s early departure would add yet another layer of chaos to an organization 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.
Deep divisions and a lack of trust are not new for the WTO, which requires consensus agreement among all 164 members to finalise multilateral accords.
The organisation’s rigid negotiating structure and disparate interests of its diverse membership have precluded the organisation from delivering anything substantial for the better part of the past decade.
Last year, Okonjo-Iweala’s predecessor — Roberto Azevedo — cited the lack of progress at the WTO as his primary reason for resigning from the organisation a year before his tenure was scheduled to end, according to Bloomberg News. `
Some Geneva trade officials told the medium that they suspect Okonjo-Iweala wants to run in the 2023 presidential election in her native country of Nigeria.
Okonjo-Iweala didn’t comment about her threats to resign but denied any interest in running for the Nigerian presidency, calling such speculation “utterly ridiculous and not true” in a statement to Bloomberg News.
“I just got here. I am enjoying what I’m doing,” she told Bloomberg News in a television interview. “It is a very exciting job and I am trying to have some successes here.
The true test of Okonjo-Iweala’s leadership will come in November, when she hosts the WTO’s 12th ministerial conference — a gathering of the organisation’s highest decision-making body, Bloomberg states; noting that, to date, WTO members have failed to make significant headway on the three priority areas Okonjo-Iweala identified for potential outcomes at the biennial meeting.