At a time the nation’s existence is gravely threatened to its marrow, following tensions of various sizes and shapes emanating from every nooks and crannies of the fatherland, the country’s flag, last few days flew higher than those of the G-7 countries and other nations of the world for a good reason.
Akinwunmi Adesina, our former Minister of Agriculture, current president of African Development Bank (AFDB) and our own major export abroad has given us a convincing reason to laugh and smile at each other again, while for once ‘walking’ a little bit ‘away’ from ‘the trouble with Nigeria.’
The former Minister who was one of the revelations of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration and a major take-home for the President Muhamadu Buhari’s Administration was solely responsible for the turn around the country witnessed in the Agricultural sector under Jonathan.
While as a minister, Adesina brilliantly introduced Growth Enhancement Support System Scheme (GES) into his sector. And by the singular decision ended four decades of corruption in the fertilizer sector; thereby, eliminating the middle men and scaling up food production by 9 million metric tonnes in the first year.
And to further enhance the process, Mr. Adesina introduced an Electronic Wallet System, which allows smallholder farmers receive electronic vouchers for subsidized seeds and fertilizers directly on their mobile phones and enable them to pay for farm imputes from private sector agricultural input dealers.
The new way of doing Agricultural business as intelligently introduced by the former minister is believed to have enhanced food security for over 30 million people in rural farm households, especially women farmers who were previously marginalized under the old distribution system.
The system which was the first of its kind in Africa had back then, attracted interests of adoption from big countries such as China, Brazil and India, thereby making Nigeria the cynosure of other countries.
It was for the above feat that both local and ‘foreign investors in the sector signed over $4 billion of executive letters to boost the sector;’ Just as the ‘World Bank, African Development Bank (AFDB) and other development finance institutions put up over $2 billion in support of the then minister’s bold initiatives.’
These feats above were the factors that delivered him up for appointment by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban ki moon, as one of the 17 global leaders, along with Bill Gates, the richest man in the whole world, to help the world achieve the millennium Development goals.
And Adesina’s name soared until it landed as the Forbes Africa person of the year 2013, after he clearly and meritoriously defeated about four other powerful nominees from other countries to the admiration of many Nigerians who have nicknamed him ‘Africa’s leading development entrepreneur.’
The above strides were the reasons Adesina’s nomination as president Africa’s Development Bank was a smooth ride. A position he holds and bestrides it’s scene like the colossus he is, with confidence, brilliance and intelligence.
While the dusts of the above accolade were yet to settle, Akinwunmi, our own strong brand in the mold of other proven technocrats like Professor Charles Soludo, former CBN Governor, Ibe Kachikwu, Present Minister of States for petroleum, Okonjo Iweala and a host others have landed another prize.
This time, it is 2017 World Food Prize Laureate; an award usually issued to persons who have helped to improve the quality, quantity or availability of food in the whole world. Adesina whose name was selected on Monday in Washington D.c becomes the 46th recipient and sixth African to be honored thus.
Coming at a time the nation writhes in pain over its life and future, following the quest and agitation for its balkanization by the forces of separation, Nigerians cannot but spare the least of our time in honor and respect of the Gem of Nigerian Brand.
We salute Adesina in this feat and pray the almighty God to throw up more technocrats who are as selfless and indefatigable as the AFDB president, who would come to the rescue of the country in times as difficult as the one Nigeria found itself.
Gwiyi Solomon Writes from Abuja.