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‘Nigeria’ll engage relevant people to make Okonjo-Iweala WTO MD’

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The Federal Government has said it will ensure that Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, emerges as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation by engaging relevant stakeholders.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said this in a statement on Thursday. It was signed by the spokesperson for the ministry, Ferdinand Nwonye.

“Nigeria will continue to engage relevant stakeholders to ensure that the lofty aspiration of her candidate to lead the World Trade Organisation is realised,” it stated.

The ministry noted that the former Managing Director of the World Bank had secured the support of the majority of the WTO members with only the United States opposing her.

It stated that a meeting of the General Council of the WTO had been scheduled for November 9, 2020, for the final decision on the election process.

It said, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that the third and final round of the selection process of the Director-General of the World Trade Organization was concluded on Tuesday, 27th October 2020, and the result was formally announced on Wednesday, 28th October 2020.

“The candidate from Nigeria, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has secured the support of the majority of the member countries but is yet to be declared and returned the winner.

“This is because apart from winning the election, all the 164 Member States of WTO were expected to adopt the winner by consensus, in accordance with the rule of procedure of the WTO.

“It is important to highlight that Dr Okonjo-Iweala has secured cross-regional backing with only the United States opposing the consensus.”

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Igboho: Yoruba monarchs, others in Benin Republic court

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Many supporters of embattled Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, have stormed the Cour De’appal De Cotononu for his trial.
Some traditional rulers of Yoruba-speaking areas in Benin Republic are leading Igboho’s supporters to the court ahead of the arrival of Igboho, who was arrested in the country last week.
A group, Isokan Omo Odua, had mobilised supporters for the embattled supporter as a sign of solidarity.
BBC Yoruba reported that anxious supporters were seen outside the court premises waiting for the arrival of Igboho.

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Nigerian-American financial analyst Adenle wins award

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An international non-profit based in Seattle, United States of America, Women in Voice (WiV), has awarded its DEI In Voice award to Dr Omolabake Adenle.

 

Adenle, a Nigerian- American quantitative financial analyst, who won the award – which recognises outstanding contributions to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in voice – “for making African languages accessible to voice solutions” had three other finalists in this category of the WiV awards.

 

Holder of a PhD in Bayesian Signal Processing from Cambridge University, the founder/chief executive officer of Aja.La Studios, which builds natural language and speech processing applications for under-resourced languagesm had in 2017 been a finalist in the 2017 Innovation Prize for Africa organised by the African Innovation Foundation.

 

Grateful for the WiV Award, she said it would help “contribute to the momentum needed to work towards making voice technologies accessible to all Africans” noting that “building a speech technology company that provides broad support of African languages is extremely challenging, (but) voice technologies will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of information and service access in Africa.”

 

It is her belief that ““digitising African languages will help make information more accessible to Africans.”

 

Formerly a vice president for quantitative and derivative strategies at Morgan Stanley in the United Kingdom, she started building African language-learning apps such as SpeakYorubaApp in her free time.

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Onochie to know fate on INEC job Tuesday

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The public is expected to know on Tuesday (tomorrow) the outcome of the screening of a Senate panel of the Special Assistant to the President on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, and five others nominated for appointment as national commissioner of Independent National Electoral Commission.

The panel, it was learnt, would submit its report to the plenary on Tuesday.

Onochie, Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah, Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi, Saidu Babura Ahmad, Prof. Sani Muhammad Adam and Dr. Baba Bila were screened last Thursday by the Senate Committee on INEC nine months after President Muhammadu Buhari forwarded a request to the Red Chamber to confirm them.

Onochie’s nomination had sparked outrage from the opposition lawmakers and some from the All Progressives Congress and civil society groups, who argued that she was “too partisan” to be a commissioner in an important institution like INEC.

Others accused her of being a card-carrying member of ruling APC.

But the presidential aide said she had stopped being a member of any political party since 2019.

The screening session became rowdy when a member of the panel, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti) suggested that Onochie be placed on oath to swear that she did not belong to any political party.

But the suggestion was opposed by other committee members, who noted that putting Onochie on oath was against the Senate rule.

The Senate Committee Chairman, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano), said his committee would look at all the documents before the panel, decide the nominees and forward its recommendations to the Senate.

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