The announcement was made on Thursday June 4, through the Nigerian Embassy and Permanent Mission to the African Union (AU) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
President Buhari said in the diplomatic note that he was communicating Nigeria’s decision to withdraw the candidacy of Yonov Frederick Agah for the election and replacing him with Mrs Okonjo-Iweala.
Though he never revealed the reason for the withdrawal of Agah’s candidature, he solicited for the support of AU member-States, as well as Permanent Missions and Embassies in Addis Ababa for Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy during the elections.
The letter reads in part;
“The embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and permanent mission to the African Union (AU) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) presents compliments to all embassies and permanent missions in Addis Ababa and has the honour to inform that the Federal Government of Nigeria has withdrawn the candidacy of Ambassador Yonov Frederick Agah for election to the position of director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
“Nigeria is therefore pleased to request the support of esteemed AU member states as well as permanent missions and embassies in Addis Ababa in favour of the candidacy of Okonjo-Iweala.”
Mr Agah is currently one of the four deputy directors-general of the WTO. He was first appointed deputy director-general October 1, 2013 and reappointed for a second four-year term on October 1, 2017. His tenure runs out on October 1, 2021.