2023 Presidency: Adesina's decline is another act of great leadership

The African Development Bank president has announced he will not be running for the highest political office in the country.

Akinwunmi Adesina

While many of the aspirants contesting for the 2023 presidency within the All Progressives Congress have raised eyebrows largely due to their personality and track record holding political office, the same can't be said of Akinwunmi Adesina.

The incumbent president of the African Development Bank has more rave reviews thanks to his time as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and it was no surprise he was in the discussion of the next presidency.

A coalition of political groups went ahead to purchase the much-talked about ₦100 million nomination form without Adesina's consent which was outright wrong.

Not once had Adesina ever given a hint that he was interested in running for president in the past. His continued silence was not going to help either but he finally let the cat out of the bag when he officially announced on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, he would not be in the race.

"I have been extremely humbled by several calls from Nigerians at home and abroad that I should consider running for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I am very touched by all who have gone to great extent, with such huge sacrifices, of their own volition, to consider me worthy to be proposed for potential consideration," Adesina said in a statement.

"...While I am deeply honored, humbled and grateful for all the incredible goodwill, kindness, and confidence, my current responsibilities at this time do not allow me to accept to be considered.

"I remain fully engaged and committed to the mission that Nigeria, Africa and all the non-African shareholders of the African Development Bank have given me for Africa’s development. I remain fully focused on the mission of supporting the accelerated development and economic integration of Africa. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria."

This writer had previously called any ambition for Adesina to run for president as "ridiculous". The announcement of his non-participation in the presidential race only affirmed that.

It was very clear that Adesina, though with a good reputation, did not have the kind of leverage some of the frontrunners such as former Lagos governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and current Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, have. Why then risk ending a noble position at the AfDB for a wild circus that has potential to get ugly? That is not something someone of Adesina's stature should be engaging in, at least for now.

Adesina's recent action is a good sign of leadership and a testament to the high reputation he has. He has demonstrated that he is not after a political tussle that leads the country nowhere at this time but is rather after more important things like improving the living conditions of Africans and mobilizing resources for the continent’s economic and social development, all in making Africa more vibrant and prosperous. That benefits even Nigeria both in the long and short term.

If anything, Adesina has only boosted his reputation even further and is building his name for an appropriate time when he will have a better shot at running for the presidency under a better political climate.

Even if he never intends to run for president in the near future, his actions and decision-making will stand the test of time.

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