Nigerians are recreating the distinctive signature style of new World Trade Organization boss Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to celebrate her confirmation for the role.
The former Nigeria Finance Minister was appointed by the WTO on Monday. She is the first woman and African to lead the global trade body.
To honor this feat, Nigerians are donning her signature look: a full outfit and head tie in African wax cloth known as Ankara, a single strand necklace, and clear glasses. Her supporters have also taken up the moniker, #AnkaraArmy to rally behind the WTO chief.
In the run-up to the WTO announcement, Twitter user and Life Bank founder Temie Giwa-Tubosun, proposed a cash prize for the winner of the challenge which she shared under the #NOIGoesToWTO hashtag.
“Hillary [Clinton] had a pantsuit army. We are going to create an #AnkaraArmy for NOI! Get ready, the date is February 15th..,” Giwa-Tubosun tweeted days prior to the announcement.
“Let’s do this. On the day Prof. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is to be named as the Director General of the World Trade Organization, we all dress up like her. In ankara, with a scarf, necklace just like hers. Share photos too. #justlikeNgozi,” Twitter user, Jane Whyte said.
he challenge has since been shared more than 30,000 times under different hashtags, including #BeLikeNgoziChallenge as the women say how inspired they are by an African woman holding such a powerful position.”
Thank you for giving my daughter and so many African girls someone to look up to,” one Twitter user, journalist Tolulope Adeleru-Balogun, whose daughter took part in the challenge said.
Okonjo-Iweala received the outpouriung of support with gratitude.
“Thank you for all your messages of support.I’m delighted and honored to see so many getting the “gele” right,” she said, referring to the head tie.
Okonjo-Iweala spent 25 years at the World Bank as a development economist, rising to the position of managing director. She also chaired the board of Gavi, which is helping to distribute coronavirus vaccines globally. Her term at the WTO will begin on March 1 and will initially run until August 2025.