Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), finds herself at the center of a heated controversy following a photograph she posted on social media from a leadership summit in Paris, France. The photograph in question has sparked criticism as it allegedly cropped out President Bola Tinubu, who attended the summit on ‘A New Global Financing Pact’ hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.
President Tinubu’s presence at the summit provided him with a platform to advocate for a range of crucial issues, including the expansion of the fiscal space, economic justice for Africa amidst the global energy transition, and the immediate need to address pressing challenges such as poverty and climate change on a global scale. However, the controversy surrounding the photograph shared by Okonjo-Iweala has overshadowed these significant discussions.
One notable critic of Okonjo-Iweala’s post is Adamu Garba, a prominent member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Garba expressed his disappointment with the former Nigerian Minister of Finance, accusing her of intentionally disregarding Tinubu’s presence in the photograph. He argued that Okonjo-Iweala should not have used such a picture that seemed to slight Tinubu, considering his active participation and contributions to the summit.
Garba: “If she likes, let her not acknowledge or recognize the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The same Nigeria that did everything for her to become who she is today, the leader of the same party, APC, which gave her the wherewithal to get her current office as DG of WTO.
“If doing so is to spite Tinubu as a person, she should know that Tinubu is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Whoever spites at him has done so against the government and the people of Nigeria. And we noted that. Indeed, rebellion is the greatest of all sins.”
Unsurprisingly, the controversy quickly spilled onto social media platforms, with Nigerians taking to Twitter to express their opinions on the matter. While some echoed Garba’s sentiments and condemned Okonjo-Iweala for her choice of photograph, others defended her, highlighting the potential for unintentional cropping or the absence of any malicious intent.
@LydiaTeeanaJaja: “Wow so she literally cropped out the part President Tinubu was showing.
“God cannot be mocked and that’s why Peter Obi can never be President of Nigeria. The Igbos will learn the hard way.”
@jadesolar_01: “This is Ngozi Okonjo Iweala who became the DG of WTO with the support of the APC administration, today she went for a summit in France and intentionally cropped out President Tinubu from all her pictures, the south Easterners are the most dangerous people to share country with.
“Iya agbaya like you, the hatred all of you have for south west will end up consuming you, whether you like it or not Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is your president for the next 8 years, and as far as Nigeria is concerned, no Igbo man will ever become the president of this great Nation.”
As the debate rages on, the focus has shifted away from the crucial discussions that occurred during the summit, with the controversy over the photograph becoming the dominant narrative. It remains to be seen how Okonjo-Iweala will respond to the criticism and whether the incident will impact the relations between the WTO and the Nigerian political landscape.