Obasanjo’s support for an Adesina’s presidency

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ON May 2, 2021, an article attributed to former President Olusegun Obasanjo where he thumbed Dr. Akinwumi Adesina as the best person to occupy the position of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria come 2023 came out in a national newspaper, The Vanguard.  If a poll is conducted today, asking Nigerians who the cap of Nigeria’s presidency best fits, certainly most Nigerians will support Obasanjo’s choice of the President of African Development Bank and a one-time Minister of Agriculture in the country. In the Diaspora, we are giving support to the efforts being made to co-opt Adesina into the forthcoming presidential race. We have examined his contributions and personal commitment towards a better Nigeria and Africa at large.

As Nigeria’s political barometer, Obasanjo’s residence has become a beehive of activities for politicians and political groups seeking his endorsement! Obasanjo is not shy to quick criticisms of leaders for non-performance in office, especially leaders who came to elective positions through his support. We are, therefore, not surprised that Obasanjo would endorse Dr Adesina for the highest office in the land. However, we are certain that Adesina’s presidency will not suffer any shortcomings to face the criticism of “Baba,” as Obasanjo is fondly called in Nigeria!

We also know that Obasanjo has indicated his retirement from partisan politics but not from politics and global leadership. We recall how Obasanjo successfully identified and supported the candidacy of the incumbent President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in 2015; former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 and the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2007. It can be said that Obasanjo has a knack of knowing a winning horse!

Just about a month ago, Osa Umweni, the political and economic analyst who authored the call for Adesina to run—Run Adesina, Run—concluded that in view of the gloomy economic scenario of Nigeria, “the leadership of the country shouldn’t be left in the hands of jokers or buccaneers.” He said, “2023 is not the time for a leadership experiment. It is the time for solid, pragmatic and purposely leadership, not one to crown a political life journey.” This author and analyst posited that “The successor to Nigeria’s incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, whose second-term tenure is coasting to the finish point, must be one who has paid his dues in the economic sphere cum international ecosystem. When Dr. Adesina was given the opportunity to serve as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, he distinguished himself from the pack of ministers and his predecessors as a selfless servant to all Nigerians. He worked tirelessly with his team to transform the mindset of millions of smallholder farmers and the youth that “agriculture is a business, not a development program.”

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He advocated for policy and institutional reforms that attracted private sector investment commitments of over $5 billion into Nigeria’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda.

As minister, Adesina worked with global political and economic leaders to onboard Nigeria’s membership in “The G7 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition – Nigeria Cooperation Framework.” This eventually led to the institutionalisation of the Nigeria Agribusiness Group comprising 21 executive leadership team members. Adesina stood against all odds to wipe what was then considered before his tenure in office an open secret, the widespread corruption in the fertiliser supply chain through the electronic wallet system, the Growth and Enhancement Support Scheme. He added over 20 million tons of food to the domestic supply chain and uplifted millions of smallholder farmers out of poverty. We can go on and on!

Of course, Adesina has, since his service as agriculture minister, been two-term president of the AfDB but not without a fight in his re-election with assault by then US President, Donald Trump, and Secretary of Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, on the integrity of his character as leader of the bank. He won the battle with an unprecedented support of his re-election coming from all African presidents including Nigeria’s past and present presidents and former heads of state. Globally, Dr Adesina has enjoyed the recognition of world leaders, including the United States, Canada, France, United Kingdom and, most recently, the United Arab Emirates. Dr Adesina has recently engaged with President Joe Biden’s administration and his top officials, including Vice President Kamala Harris and the Secretary of Treasury, Janet Yellen, on climate financing among other global economic challenges facing Africa and Africans at home and in the United States.  It is therefore not surprising that Obasanjo, himself, a globally recognised leader in domestic and international politics, has gone so far as to beckon on Dr Adesina as one best prepared and fit for the job of the President of Nigeria after the incumbent, Buhari.

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Recognising the urgent need for economic resurgence, President Buhari invited Adesina to articulate a roadmap for Nigeria’s economic resurgence at the 2021 Midterm Ministerial Performance Review Retreat. The retreat had all the Nigerian high echelon of functionaries, including the executive, legislature as well as state governors, present, as Adesina did what he knows how to do best: Economic predictions and analysis. Knowing Adesina, we are sure his presidency will usher in a robust economic resurgence that will, in addition, put an end to our children drowning in the high seas of Africa and Europe in their quest for a better life.

When elected President of Nigeria, Adesina’s support of the Nigerian youth and the #EndSARS movement is sure to turn our youth into successful entrepreneurs, into the future millionaires and billionaires of Africa through hard work, commitment and perseverance. Adesina will undoubtedly prioritise investments in national and food security, in infrastructure development to secure the lives and properties of all Nigerians, in industrialisation and in human capital development. Joblessness of our youths will surely become a thing of the past in Adesina’s presidency. Youth and women empowerment in real economic terms must include a safe and secure Nigeria, the One-Nigeria where youths can dream again of a better life without the senseless and cowardly acts of banditry, insurgency and terrorism.

The time is now for “President Adesina of Nigeria” to be fully prepared to emerge and be elected to the Office of the presidency of Nigeria come 2023. It’s the right time to deepen and rebuild the socioeconomic and political foundations of our beloved country. Let us all, therefore, join hands with those who have identified and supported Dr Adesina in Nigeria, at the AfDB, on the world stage and more, including our very own, President Buhari, and all other former presidents and heads of state, to bring this dream to a reality! To the electorate, we challenge you to join hands with these detribalised political leaders, to work together and focus on taking advantage of the diversity of tribes, ethnicity, culture, religion, gender and socioeconomic class of today to rebuild a stronger and better Nigeria for all Nigerians, both at home and abroad.

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The time is now for the rebuilding of the ruins of divisive politics in Nigeria, the time to turn-back the economic headwinds of the COVID-19 pandemic and the collateral damage of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. We believe that Adesina is the man of the hour, the altruistic visionary leader who has the capacity and leadership attributes that are required to garner domestic and global support to wipe out insurgency and banditry, terrorism and senseless killings of innocent Nigerians in our own land. The 2023 presidential election is the right time to elect the right man to get the job done. That man of the hour is Dr Adesina, the candidate to usher in the One-Nigeria of our dreams.

Together, let us join hands to once again beckon on Dr Adesina to join the nomination and electioneering process that could lead to his emergence as the next president of Nigeria.

  • Bello is the Chairman and Founder, Shine Bridge Global Inc., Chesapeake-Virginia, USA; he writes via [email protected]

Contact: [email protected]

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