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Buhari rejects AU’s submission, insists on Okonjo-Iwela for WTO DG position

Buhari rejects AU’s submission, insists on Okonjo-Iwela for WTO DG position

President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has dismissed the submission of the African Union Legal Council faulting the nomination of its former Minister for Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela for the post of World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General.

In a letter by through its mission to AU, the country insisted that the substitution of names which threw up Okonjo-Iwela’s name is not a fresh nomination and has not violated any regulation.

It warned that the country will not be a party to any propaganda or actions that destroy the vision and objectives of the African Union, “by supporting a willful, obviously partisan and outlandish interpretation of rules and decisions”.

The letter, in full, reads:

“The permanent mission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will not be a party to any propaganda and/or actions that supplant the vision and objectives of the African Union, by supporting a willful, obviously partisan and outlandish interpretation of rules and decisions.

“It is obvious that the OLC is stubbornly trapped to the unfounded notion that the candidature of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a fresh submission and cleverly refraining from recognizing it as a replacement for Ambassador Yonov Frederick Agah, an earlier submission, duly made in line with all known rules.

“By the same token of illogic, does it then mean that a country whose candidate steps down as a result of natural causes or act of force majeure becomes ineligible to replacing such candidate according to OLC? Such a conclusion is not just patently wrong, but worrisome and grossly uninformed.

“Hence, Nigeria’s substitution/replacement of Ambassador Yonov Frederick Agah with Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as a candidate for DG-WTO cannot be treated as a fresh nomination for the position, and as such cannot be said, or even imagined not to conform with any of the rules of procedure deliberately highlighted by OLC to mislead.

“To state that Nigeria is latching on its sovereign right to change existing rules of procedure and relevant decisions of the executive council as well as decisions of other policy organs, is very unbecoming, unfortunate and a gross misinterpretation and misrepresentation of facts from an office established to be dispassionate, neutral and professional

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“OLC has substantially failed to substantiate how the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in exercising her sovereign right, flouted any of the said decisions or rules of procedure, as none of them categorically precludes the substitution of a candidate by the member-states.”

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