BY CHINYERE OBIORA, LAGOS – Following his widely-acknowledged sterling performance at the continent’s foremost financial institution, President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Dr Akinwunmi Adesina for re-election as the President of African Development Bank (AfDB) for another five-year term.
Dr Adesina dropped the hints in Lagos on Sunday after being conferred with the Emeka Anyaoku Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding performance by the Hallmarks of Labour Foundation.
Speaking at the event, Adesina said; “I wish to immensely thank and appreciate President Buhari for nominating me for e-election for a second term as President of the African Development Bank and for being such a wonderful champion and supporter of my re-election.”
The former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development thanked the Buhari for the opportunity to serve Nigeria and the African continent.
He said: “When asked by former President Goodluck Jonathan to serve as Minister of Agriculture, it was duty calling me to the land of my birth.
“I served Nigeria to the very best of my ability. I thank God that Nigeria’s agriculture sector witnessed a much-needed transformation at the time.
`With the strong support of President Jonathan and the then President elect, Buhari, we campaigned very hard for the position of the President of the African Development Bank.
“It was a Nigeria effort, as all hands were on deck. This included our former presidents and heads of state, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, former Vice Presidents Atiku Abubakar and Namadi Sambo, and of course my dear indefatigable sister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who ran a spirited campaign for me.
“By God’s grace, I was elected President of the African Development Bank on May 28, 2015, exactly 24 hours after my term of office as Minister ended. Once again, Nigeria gave me air in my lungs.”
According to him; “At the African Development Bank, we have worked very hard. In my four years as President, we have connected 16 million people to electricity, provided 70 million people with improved agricultural technologies to achieve food security.
“We have also given nine million people access to finance from private sector companies, provided 55 million people with access to improved transport, and 31 million people with access to water and sanitation.
“In all, 181 million people have directly benefited from our investments. I am proud of all my staff and the Board of Directors whose hard work and relentless support have helped make this happen.
“The African Development Bank has continued to maintain its global AAA rating. Last year, the bank was rated the 4th most transparent institution globally.”
He said despite all its achievements, AfDB still has a lot much to do, adding; “We have gone some way climbing the steep mountainside of Africa’s development, yet there is still much way to go until we reach the mountaintop.”
The AfDB President, who admitted that Nigeria had invested so much in him, told the audience that; “Nigeria again is giving me air in my lungs, to keep on climbing.”
Adesina is the 8th elected President of the African Development Bank Group and was elected to the post on May 28, 2015 by the Bank’s Board of Governors at its Annual Meetings in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
Formally taking office at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan on September 1, 2015 for an initial five-year term, he became the first-ever Nigerian to be elected President of the bank since its establishment in 1964.