Launch diplomatic offensive against Trump, Obiano tells Buhari

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Willie Obiano, governor of Anambra state, has tackled the Trump administration for opposing the emergence of Okonjo Iweala, Nigeria’s candidate for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) director-general.

In a statement on Thursday, Obiano asked President Muhammadu Buhari to mobilise a “diplomatic offensive” to clear the way for Okonjo-Iweala’s emergence as WTO DG.

Okonjo-Iweala was chosen as the final candidate for the much-coveted role by a key group of ambassadors.

While a consensus among the 164 WTO members is needed to seal her choice, the United States is said to be against her emergence, settling instead for Yoo Myung-hee, the South Korean candidate.

In the statement signed by C. Don Adinuba, Anambra commissioner for information, Obiano asked Buhari to mobilise African and European Union leaders to back Okonjo-Iweala.

“All that is needed is a great diplomatic offensive before the formal announcement of the winner on November 9,” he said.

“The people and government of Anambra State, therefore, call upon President Muhammadu Buhari and other African leaders to immediately set in motion the machinery to get the United States to do the right thing by supporting the most qualified and the most popular candidate.

“The Trump administration wants South Korean Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee, who has the support of only 55 nations, about 50 per cent of Okonjo-Iweala’s vote. It needs not to have its way.

He also accused US President Donald Trump of always being against Africans at the international stage.

“Earlier this year it opposed the re-election of Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture and African Union’s choice, as the African Development Bank President based on unsubstantiated allegations like nepotism,” he said.

“It is difficult to understand why the Trump administration should be on a collision course with Africans on international assignments … acts like this help fuel criticism that the administration may not be free of racism.

“The people and government of Anambra State are of the opinion that President Buhari needs to do more to urgently mobilise not just African leaders, but also the EU and, indeed, the rest of the world to get the United States to do the right thing.”

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