A former Finance Minister and Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has hit at plans by well-connected Nigerians to sabotage her candidacy for the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The former Foreign Affairs Minister, who recently launched her bid for the WTO role had assured that she would use her experience to bring fresh ideas to the trade organisation.
In a press release made available to TheCitizen by Paul Nwabuikwu, her Media Adviser, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala disclosed that “as part of this campaign, these persons and their cohorts are peddling outright lies and distortions designed to invent a non-existent “scandal” in order to paint the candidate and her campaign in negative light.
An example of this is the effort to misrepresent the Campaign’s relationship with Mercury Communications, one of the organizations and individuals that have done voluntary, pro bono work for the Campaign.
As the attached statement confirms, Mercury was never formally engaged by Dr Okonjo-Iweala and its work for the Campaign was done strictly on volunteer basis.
Against this background, the attempt by these elements to manufacture a “controversy” in the local and international media by distorting the facts and creating falsehoods to link the Campaign with some of Mercury’s current or past clients to push a false impression is contemptible.”
Okonjo-Iweala, who was also the former Managing Director of the World Bank, regretted that “it is sad that the elements behind this campaign are placing their squalid concerns above the interests of the country.”
She urged all well-meaning Nigerians to ignore the condemnable effort of the saboteurs.
“Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is humbled that her campaign is progressing in the right direction and that her candidacy has been embraced by many Nigerians, including a growing number of spirited volunteers.
She deeply appreciates the strong show of support by both the Presidency and Nigerians, despite the efforts of the persons engaged in this pull her down (PhD) exercise.
She will continue to do her best to make her candidacy count for the country”, the statement added.