Nigerians Use #BelikeNgozi Challenge to Pay Tribute to New WTO Boss Okonjo-Iweala

Nigeria’s former minister of finance Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Monday made history by becoming the first female and first African Director General of the World Trade Organisation.

Thousands of Nigerian women are celebrating Okonjo-Iweala’s achievement by copying her style of dress, often characterized by a native “Ankara” print with a scarf to match.

The trend, called #BelikeNgozi Challenge, started after businesswoman Temie Giwa-Tubosun promised to give 100,000 naira to anyone who could dress up and look like Okonjo-Iweala the most.

On why she decided to do the challenge in honour of the new WTO boss, Giwa Tubosun said: “I love her. Her story inspires me. She is a Nigerian-American like me and we’re both mothers.”

“I have been a fan of Aunty Ngozi Okonjo Iweala (NOI) since I found out about her, way back when I was in graduate school. I am a total #Stan and I have been stanning for years,” she wrote on Instagram, accompanied by a video of her dressed up like Okonjo-Iweala-Iweala.

Images and clips of several women, and a few men, donning Ankara headscarves and native wear quickly spread on Nigerian twitter, and by Tuesday, the hashtag had gone viral, becoming one of the biggest trends on the social network.

Okonjo-Iweala has promised to prioritize fair trade and access to Covid-19 vaccines when she takes office on March 1.

Experts say Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment could boost the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, which took effect last month.

Rita Osakwe

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