The President of African Development Bank (AFDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, may join the 2023 presidential race on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), The Nation has learnt.
There are indications that Adesina might pick the nomination and expression of interest forms next week before the deadline.
Adesina, a former Minister of Agriculture, is the first Nigerian to occupy the top job at the development finance institution.
He has served in several high-profile positions internationally, including that of the Rockefeller Foundation.
He is serving a second term as AfDB President, which will elapse in 2025.
Although Adesina is yet to formally indicate his interest the race, a body of Nigerians in the diaspora — Diaspora Support Group of North America and Europe mobilising support for him to join the race.
Last week, Adesina, met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja.
The Convener, Diaspora Support Group of North America and Europe Dr. Tony Bello who spoke with The Nation on Saturday, said there’s 100 percent assurance that the support groups will pick up the forms for Adesina once he is drafted into the race.
According to Bello, the support groups are excited about the extended deadline for the sale of forms to May 10 by the APC.
Bello noted that Adesina is most qualified, better prepared and the best option.
He said: “We believe if we are able to convince Adesina to join the presidential race, under the platform of APC, that would be the best.
“We are excited that there’s possiblity that we’ll be bringing him on board. I don’t know if he’s a card-carrying member but we believe that Adesina would be considered by the leadership of the party.
“It is not too late for him to join, the expression of interest form and nomination form were extended, and there’s still time especially for those who are waiting to make decision.
“We are working with many other groups in Diaspora, and we are calling on him to join the race. We work as a team, and we are aligning our interest. Other groups across Nigeria are also working hard to promote his candidacy. We’ve global influence and local support groups across Nigeria, and we are getting others to talk to him (Adesina).
“It is a 50:50 chance at this stage, and there’s 100% chance that we’ll pick the forms for him.
“He has the capabilities to fix Nigeria. He has humble beginnings, and every Nigerians can relate to his life story especially how he grew up, and most importantly his decisions have always been based on merit. He is a detrablised Nigerian. He’ll bring visionary leadership to the country and help restore past glory.
“On the African stage, he has demonstrated that he has what it takes, if Nigeria succeeds, then Africa succeeds. We’ve had conversation with him, we are getting others involved. We need a technocrat at this stage of our democracy. We are working with many persons underground.
“Once we pick up the form, I believe we would have other persons who will join us. Groups such as Youths group including youth arise movement, prudent youth, women for a secured Nation, Northern Coalition progressives, Diaspora Group of North America and Europe.
“We do not belong to any party, we are looking for the interest of Nigeria, and looking for who can lead us, and someone who can manage the country especially issues such as insecurity, economy, others.”
In the race are former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, State Minister for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, Labour and Employment Minister, Chris Ngige, former Imo governor, Rochas Okorocha, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State and former Abia governor and serving senator, Orji Uzor Kalu. They are all from the South-east.
Aspirants from the South-south are the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River, former Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.
Those from the North-west are Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State and former governor of Zamfara State, Sani Yerima.
In the South-West, those who have shown interest are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Governor Kayode Fayemi ; Ibikunle Amosun; Boroffice; Mr Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim; Pastor Tunde Bakare and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole.
Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello is the only aspirant from the North-central region.