President Muhammadu Buhari has said he shunned partisan politics to nominate Dr. Akinwumi Adesina for the President of African Development Bank (AfDB) in 2015 despite being in the opposition’s People Democratic Party (PDP) because he found him to be a good Nigerian and a competent hand.
President Buhari made the remark on Thursday while receiving Adesina, who was at the Villa to pay homage to the President for backing him in his hour of need.
Adesina who was inaugurated for his second term at the AfDB last week had to fight tooth and nail after his re-election bid initially ran into murky waters.
Recall Adesina served as the Minister of Agriculture under former President Goodluck Jonathan between 2011 and 2015.
“I have told so many people why I backed you,” President Buhari said.
“In 2015, at your first term, you were a Minister with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) government, and I was of the All Progressives Congress (APC). But you are a good Nigerian. So I recommended you the first time. You proved to be competent, you made us proud, and I recommended you the second time.”
The President commended Dr Adesina for his support for Africa in general, and Nigeria in particular, stressing that the infrastructural deficits the country has in roads, rail, power, could not be overcome without support.
“There can’t be sustainable development without infrastructure. Our efforts should be seen in the context of lack of resources, but you do your best to support us. I wish you all the best in your final term,” President Buhari said.
Nigeria is AfDB’s highest shareholder.
Adesina while thanking the President and the Nigerian people for their support, said he was proud to be a citizen of the country.
“Home is where dreams are born. Home is where nurturing is provided. It is where support is given for realization of dreams. I am glad to belong here,” Dr Adesina said.
“When I came in June, you received me, and I shared my successes, and the difficulties facing me. You listened, and said you would stand by me. And you did. You not only stood behind me, but also beside me. No greater honour for a man than for his Commander-in-Chief to be his Supporter-in-Chief, and his Defender-in-Chief,” he added.
Adesina said Nigeria gave him air, “when I badly needed it in my lungs,” and pledged to always support the country in his private capacity, and as AfDB President.
He then asked for a round of applause for the President, which was truly resounding.
President Muhammadu Buhari congratulated Adesina for his re-election.
“I congratulate you on your second and final term in office. Congratulations on winning the election. Nothing succeeds like success.”
Adesina had overcome stiff opposition last month to win an unprecedented 100% votes from the regionals and non-regionals that make up the Bank, and was inaugurated for second term of five years as AfDB President on September 1.