By Emmanuella Anokam
Abuja, Nov. 7, 2020 A trade expert, Dr Olumuyiwa Alaba, has called on the Nigerian government to intensify diplomatic lobbying that will ensure that Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala emerges as the new Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Nov. 9.
Alaba gave the advice on Saturday in Abuja in an interview with newsmen.
The WTO General Assembly will hold in Geneva on Nov. 9 to ratify the appointment of a new boss for the WTO.
The U.S. has opposed the recommendation by the Nomination Committee of the WTO that the 164 member-countries appoint Okonjo-Iweala as the new director-general of the global body.
Alaba, while reacting to the opposition by the US, tasked the Nigerian government to lobby other countries the same way it did for Dr Akinwunmi Adesina who eventually was re-appointed as the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
“Although this (WTO) is much more global than the AfDB we need more resources to lobby. I see Okonjo-Iweala winning if America did not get to the point of lobbying other countries against her,” he said.
He noted that the current state of WTO would pose a great challenge to whoever stepped in as the director-general because it needed “serious reforms“.
The trade expert explained that because of the growing relations between Nigeria and China, America would be weary to support someone whose allegiance to it is not total.
He said that the American government had issues with China, as the former strove to protect its interest.
“The steering of the activities of the WTO is really controlled by America and China and if the duo are still at loggerheads it will be difficult for anybody supported and backed by China to be supported by America.
“Going by records America will find a way not to support whoever China supports. This is not the issue of whether the person is qualified or not, it is about issue of global politics.
“Nigeria nominated Okonjo-Iweala despite being an American citizen. Nigerian relations with China are actually growing which America does like and so America does not see her as someone who might be able to protect its interest,” he said.
According to him, the WTO General Assembly election may not even hold on Nov. 9 because Geneva may experience another lockdown due to new cases of COVID-19 pandemic.