It’s the first day of the International Women’s Month and women in Nigeria and the continent had great reasons to raise their heads high.
Global headlines as well as blogs across the country were screaming early Monday, with photos of newly elected Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as she resumed at its Geneva Headquarters, Switzerland adorned in her signature Ankara outfit and trademark head tie.
As on 15th February, when she was announced boss of the WTO, Nigerians across gender and ethnic divides were beyond excited and as usual, took to their social media handles to express their joy. They did this, sharing photos of her alighting from her car and being received into office by ranking officials of the trade body and a few journalists.
For many, it was a thing of pride to see the woman of the moment resume the exalted office in her attire promoting her African roots. A number of users also used the opportunity to take a swipe at Nigerian companies for insistence on corporate outfits among their staff members, rather than African wax fabric material arguably indigenous to the people of the continent, and reflective of her cultural heritage.
On the flipside, amid the celebratory photos of her first day look, analysts have been debating NOI’s chances of success at the organisation.
In an article by Reuters, titled ‘New WTO chief calls for tripling of vaccine production,’ it was stated that some analysts question 66-year-old Okonjo-Iweala’s ability to revive the body in the face of so many challenges including persistent US-China trade tensions and growing protectionism heightened by the pandemic. These fears the medium attributed to the fact that the director-general role holds few executive powers.
Although largely unsaid, many would also be expecting so much of her on the role, being the first African and woman to occupy the office; especially after such a hard-fought yet merited win.
From her maiden speech as new chief of the WTO on Monday, it is clear that one of her immediate priorities would be to get member states on to work with pharmaceutical companies to license more COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing in developing countries in order to triple global production.
Given her robust experience however, working at the World Bank, Nigeria’s Finance Ministry on two previous occasions, as well as sitting on the board of several global organisations, the odds are in favour to deliver.
She would undoubtedly be in the spotlight or be the ‘Hi-target’ (as we have termed it) for the next four years and we are all rooting for her to do exploits.
Congrats again NOI! Happy Women’s month.
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Journalist, Political Analyst and Satirist with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.