Why Akinwunmi Adesina's presidential bid is a ridiculous move [Pulse Contributor's Opinion]

The Africa Development Bank head's name is among those in the wacky race for Aso Rock within the All Progressives Congress.

It's the month of May in the year 2022 and the political atmosphere in Nigeria is very electric and tense.

As usual the All Progressives Congress are dominating the headlines with multiple politicians purchasing the much-talked-about ₦100 million nomination form.

Indeed, more than 20 individuals have purchased the form, meaning more than ₦2 billion is now in the APC coffers ahead of the highly-anticipated party primaries in Abuja at the end of the month.

Serious questions are being asked on the intention and credibility of some candidates such as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, who is not ready to resign from his current post but rather is keen to continue and challenge it in court.

One man whose name has been circulating in the news lately over his presidential ambition is the current President of the Africa Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina. The former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development is highly-revered for his time as minister between 2011 and 2015 under the government of Goodluck Jonathan.

He is renowned for reforming the fertiliser supply chain which was soiled with corruption. This earned him the 2013 Forbes African of the Year. The feat also made Adesina a likeable figure in the country and he took that same reputation to the AfDB where he raised the institution's capital from $93 billion to $208 billion, the highest in the bank's history.

The fine works of Adesina have made him to be perceived as the most ideal candidate for the presidency in some quarters.

Talks about him becoming the president have been in discussion on social media as far back as 2019. The Rockefeller Foundation fellow has, however, not come out to say he is considering running for the highest political office in the country, neither in the past, nor in the present.

Regardless of his silence, some political groups have come out to get him the APC nomination form. A coalition of more than 20 political support groups took that bold step and put their faith in Adesina to fix the country.

"We are 28 groups, precisely, that came together after very serious consultations, and deliberations on the way forward for a better and united Nigeria," Ademola Babatunde of the Youth Arise Movement told the News Agency of Nigeria.

"We unanimously decided that though the money is outrageous, but if we truly want a better future for ourselves and our children, we must put our resources together to obtain the forms for Adesina.

"We are very much aware of the critical time that Nigerians and our country, Nigeria, are going through.

"If we fail to support a candidate of credible and worthy note, like Adesina, we will eventually hand over this country to mediocre, who will finally destroy our commonwealth.

"This is one of the supports we are fundamentally and passionately determined to render for ourselves by putting Adesina forward to Nigerians."

While it is good that political support groups can make such bold moves, it is rather wrong for it to be done without Adesina's consent or interest. It is something that makes the whole nomination form process rather shabby and bizarre, similar to how the form was purchased for ex-president Jonathan who until now is a member of the People’s Democratic Party and never announced that he has switched to APC and is contesting to complete a second term under the party. The Bayelsa State native rightly called the move an "insult".

Of course, Adesina can step down from his role as AfDB chief and run for the presidency. It is his constitutional right to do so. It will, however, be a wrong move that can put all the good work and reputation he has built into ruin.

There is no doubt that Adesina's reputation is the kind that can change the fortunes of Nigeria, something the electorate eagerly yearn for after 61 years of continuous failed leadership.

The problem is that he will be coming out to contest less than a year to the polls and that might be too short a time to win the hearts of the majority.

The intention to contest has to be something done years in advance before an election cycle. That way there is proper planning and strategy that might work in his favour. An example of such is former United States President, Donald Trump, who floated the idea of becoming head of state as far back as the late 1980s when he was critical about how the government was being run in America.

His popularity grew over the years and when he ran during the Republican primaries ahead of the 2016 elections, he swept every candidate under the rug and clinched the GOP nomination ticket in amazing style.

If Adesina wants to have a real chance of winning the Nigerian presidential race, he needs to do things differently. He needs to defy the format of enticing party delegates and voters with cash gifts and not make vague promises on the campaign trail like 24-hour power supply, creating millions of jobs in less than a year, supporting the very vulnerable in society with financial incentives and other unsustainable promises that only make mockery of him when in power. This has been the case since 1999 and it does not have to be the same with Adesina because it leads the country nowhere.

Adesina has a fine name and reputation to protect and it is better he stayed away from the political spotlight and focus on his second five-year term with the AfDB rather than be potentially dragged in the mud. That will be extremely damning to everything he has built with his name.

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Disclaimer: This article is the opinion of a Pulse Contributor, it doesn't reflect the opinions of the company.

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