Nigeria today (March 1, 2021) becomes the first country in the world to have her citizens occupy the leaderships of trade and commerce bureaucracies of her continent and the entire world simultaneously, as Nigeria-born Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala steps in as the 7th Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in Geneva, Switzerland.
Already, Nigeria has Dr. Akinwumi Adesina as the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Professor Benedict Okey Oramah, President and Board Chairman of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). Adesina, serving his second term on the job, was first appointed on May 28, 2015 and Professor Oramah also serving a second term was first appointed on September 21, 2015.
All the three Nigerians, Okonjo-Iweala, Adesina and Oramah got the continental and global positions with the full support of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and direct decisive policies and actions of President Muhammadu Buhari, confirming the success of the international relations policy of the present government and the propriety, President Buhari enjoys, across the world.
In a congratulatory message to the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Buhari, the new Director General of WTO, Okonj-Iweala and Nigerians across the globe, the Chief Executive Officer of Midas Communications, a global PR firm, Alhaji Kehinde Olaosebikan pointed out that information available shows that Nigeria is the first country in the universe to lead the world of trade globally and continentally, concurrently.
Olaosebikan declared that with the occupation of the three eminent positions by Nigerian citizens, Nigeria under the leadership of President Buhari has recorded an unprecedented accomplishment in the world, saying: “No other country of the world, whether in Europe, Asia, South America, North America, Antarctica or Oceania has had the rare privilege of having her citizens occupying the three trade and investment positions at the same time.”
Before Okonjo-Iweala’s assumption of office, six countries, namely; Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Thailand, France and Brazil had produced Directors General of the Organization but none of the nations was privileged to have her citizen as head of either the development or investment bank or organization of her continent at the same time.
Europe had produced three past Directors General of the WTO in Peter Sutherland of Ireland, (Jan. 1, 1995 to April 30, 1995); Renato Ruggeria of Italy (May 1995 to August 30, 1999) and Pascal Lamy of France,( September 1, 2005 to August 8, 2013), and in all these periods, neither of these countries had her citizen as the President of European Investment Bank. (Sir Brian Unwin of the UK from1993 to 1999; Phillippe Maystadt , Belgium, from March 2000 to December 201, and Werer Hoyer led the European Investment Bank during those periods.)
Supachan Panitchpakdi of Thailand that served as the Director General of the organization between September 1, 2002 and August 31, 2005 was the only WTO President produced by Asia and during the period, Japanese Tadao Chino was the President of Asian Development Bank.
The tenure of the immediate past Director General of WTO, Robert Azevedo of Brazil from South America coincided with the Presidency of Luis Carranza of Peru as the President of the Latin American Development Bank.
New Zeeland did not also produce the President of the Oceanic Development Bank during the tenure of Mike Moore as the Director General of the World Trade Organization from September 1, 1999 to 31 August 2002.
Today, the world has Okonjo-Iweala as the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Adesina as the President of African Development Bank (AfDB) and Oramah as the President of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
Okonjo-Iweala had on October 20, 2020, after visiting President Buhari in Aso Rock Villa, in the heat of build up to her selection, when Americans tried to block her from emerging as the WTO DG, told State House correspondents of the huge support and encouragement she was getting from the President.
Her words: “Mr. President put a smile on my face. I am very proud of my country.”
President Buhari had earlier told her “I assure you that we will do all that we can to ensure that you emerge as the Director General of WTO, not only because you a Nigerian, but because you are a great Nigerian… I will immediately make those calls.”
Commending President Buhari for achieving the record feat for Nigeria, the Public Relations guru urged the President to continue giving his total support to Nigerians seeking global and continental positions and recognitions so that “our country would persist to enjoy bumper prestige worldwide.”
To Nigerians, Olaosebikan says: “It is a moment to be proud of being a Nigerian. It is also a time for all of us to be more dedicated, committed to the cause of our motherland and contribute our best in whatever we are doing and wherever we find ourselves.
“As the largest black nation in the world with over 200 million people, we can effectively provide profound leaderships in all spheres of life, across the globe and this is what the Black World is expecting from us, Nigerians.“