Exclusive :Shagaya Speaks on Okonjo-Iweala’s World Bank Bid, Calls for Presidential Lobby Committee



By  Ejike Umunnabuike Jr, Iyasiki Dan-Opulah & Lami Sheikh

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has been advised to ensure that Nigeria, makes history by having Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwuala, become the next President of the World Bank made up of no fewer than 187 member nations.Senator John Nanzip Shagaya, West Africa’s 5th   Military Field Commander of the defunct ECOMOG, now ECOMIL, gave the advice in an exclusive interview with Newsdiaryonline.com in Abuja.

To successfully actualize Nigeria’s noble bid in this direction, Shagaya has also called on President Jonathan, to instantly constitute a high-powered Presidential Lobby Committee  made up of eminent professionals with competences   that will help spearhead this all-important global diplomatic campaign drive in support of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iwuala’s candidature as the nation’s preferred choice.

Shagaya offered an insight into his advocacy thus, “ The bid for the Presidency of the World Bank by Her Excellency, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwuala, is not her bid but Nigeria’s bid”.

“This is because, if we have a Nigerian male or female, who has been recognized  by the world and he or she is bidding for a seat that would put Nigeria in a place of pride, I believe that Nigerians and the Federal Government, owe such emerging developments as lines of responsibility patriotic to support the bid”,  Shagaya, who at various times  was General Officer Commanding the1st Mechanized Division of the Nigerian Army and Force Secretary, Army Headquarters, respectively said.

Shagaya explained further “In this instance, I will strongly believe that the Nigerian government should throw her weight completely behind Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwuala. If we are able to get the job, fine and good. However, if we are not able to get it, at least, we would know that we have produced certain individual in the person of Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwuala, a highly brilliant and intelligent personality who is fit enough to have contested for that coveted office of the Presidency of the World Bank”.

He told Newsdiaryonline.Com, that, “when I said, we should support Dr.Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwuala, then it means that the Federal Government of Nigeria, must set up the kind of committee that I had suggested that should start lobbying immediately  those who have votes and those who have a say, in the choice of the three individuals already shortlisted for the World Bank Presidency Race.”.

He continued, “In doing this, such a presidential committee to be formed by Mr. President, should lobby those who traditionally have their votes at the end of the day for that seat to go to our daughter, Dr. [Mrs.] Ngozi Okonjo-Iwuala. It is not enough for us to seat and talk on the pages of Newspapers but to support that dream by putting some resources at the disposal of our embassies all over the world, especially in New York, USA, where very high lobbying should be going on by now”.

The initiator, author and sponsor of the Nigerian National Climate Change Commission Bill  2009, in the 6th   session of the Senate, Shagaya, painted a clear campaign drive  thus, “..In such lobbying action plans, taking New York as the centre of governmental activities, there should be for instance, some kind of arrangements of coffee sessions and dinner outings with Ambassadors, Heads of government and allied stakeholders, through emissaries of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

According the retired Army General and Nigeria’s former Minister of Interior, “this presidential committee, should be able to register Nigeria’s interests in vying for the post and that is the only way the international community, would take us serious”.

As the World Bank presidential title-chase goes into the arena of competitive global contention and re-enforced institutional lobbying, leading to a likely session of consensus-building after oral and written interview schedules for the three nominees, two of whom are of American and Columbian nationalities.

While the American nominee, Jim Young Kim, is being backed by President Barack Hussein Obama, the ColumbianDr. Mrs. Okonjo-Iwuala’s nomination, besides her home country, Nigeria, is being backed South Africa and some African Union members.But there have been hints of  a split among African support for Nigeria’s candidate.

As nominations for the interview in respect of all shortlisted candidates for the World Bank topmost job, closed on March 23rd, 2012, Nigeria’s nominee, who doubles as Finance Minister and Head of Nigeria’s Economic Team,  has intensified her campaign .But America is believed to be the stumbling block, a factors that makes lobbying by Nigeria even more imperative.

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