The Nigerian government has reacted to a recent statement credited to the Office of the Legal Council in the African Union (AU) which accused the country of violating its rules on the nomination of candidates for international jobs with regard to the choice of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for World Trade Organisation’s top job.
The Nigerian embassy and permanent mission to the AU denounced claims that Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination contravenes laid-down rules; describing such insinuations as “unguarded.”
The Nigerian envoy in a memo addressed to members of the ministerial committee on candidature and four organs of the African Union including the bureau of the chairperson and office of legal counsel stated that the Legal Council’s position failed all parameters of objectivity and unbiased submission.
The AU’s office of legal counsel, had on Thursday, argued that Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination came after the November 30, 2019 deadline set by the ministerial committee on candidature for member countries to present their candidates.
This, it said, was to allow member states to endorse a consensus candidate at the February 2020 ordinary session. However, an agreement could not be reached on the consensus candidate.
However, the Nigerian government in its release maintained that Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination did not violate any known AU laws or conventions as it was a replacement of Yonov Agah who was previously nominated for the job.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was a two time minister of finance and previously ran the foreign affairs ministry in Nigeria. She has also held important positions in several multi-lateral financial organisations.