All the eight candidates contesting the presidency of the African Development bank (AfDB), including Akinwunmi Adesina, Nigeria’s minister of agriculture, rounded off their campaign at the weekend and are awaiting declaration of the winner.
The declaration of a new president will be made during the annual general meeting (AGM) of the bank in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on May 28.
The weeklong annual forum of continental financial institution comprising 54 member states and 26 non-member states, which include the United Kingdom and the United States, began in Abidjan on Monday.
Adesina expressed optimism that he would be declared president because he had consulted widely.
Olukayode Oyeleye, special adviser to the minister on media, told NAN via an e-mail that his boss recorded tremendous support from African nations and other stakeholders beyond Africa during his campaign.
“The minister has embarked extensively on campaigns and recorded tremendous support from African nations and other stakeholders beyond Africa,” he said.
“Now, campaign is ending. It is time to expect his declaration as president by the bank’s board, and that is coming up later in the week. His presidency will prioritise the development in energy sector across the continent, ICT and urban infrastructure.
“Emphasis will be on private sector growth and a shift in emphasis from aid dependence. Supporting programmes that will create employment for youths, promote venture capitalism and private equity in the continent’s economy.”
According to him, the minister will also dwell on reviving rural economy through agricultural transformation and strengthen regional integration and economy.
The seven other candidates in the election are Sufian Ahmed from Ethiopia, Jaloul Ayed from Tunisia, Kordjé Bedoumra from Chad, Cristina Duarte from Cape Verde.
Others are Samura Kamara from Sierra Leone, Thomas Sakala from Zimbabwe and Birama Boubacar Sidibé from Mali.
On April 30, AFDB published the ‘voting powers’ to be used in the computation of the votes during the election, on its official website.
All the 54 regional members have a combined 3,844,574 votes with voting powers of 59.722, while 26 non-regional members, including the UK and US have 2,592,862 votes and voting powers of 40.278.
The voting powers indicated that Nigeria has the highest, 595,838 votes, with voting powers of 9.256.
AfDB operates under the leadership of the president who serves as the legal representative of the bank, the chairperson of the board of directors and the chief of staff of the bank.
The president conducts the current business of the bank under the direction of the board of directors.
The president is elected by the board of governors and serves a five-year term, which is renewable once.
Donald Kaberuka, the outgoing president, is a national of Rwanda. He was elected in July 2005, and began his first term on September 1, 2005 and was re-elected in May 2010.
Adesina has enjoyed support from Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s incoming president, despite serving under outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan.
Buhari sent Atiku Abubakar, an ally of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, to solicit support for Adesina.
Commenting on his decision to assist Adesina, Buhari said even though he was not consulted, he intervened because of the love he has for the country.
“I was not consulted but I took up the case of AfDB because it’s an international appointment and I would like Nigeria to gain,” he told Daily Trust.
“Though Akinwumi Adesina is a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government minister, I want Nigeria to get this appointment, which will be of benefit to us as a nation. I sought the support of some Nigerians who are close to us, like the former vice-president Atiku Abubakar, who is a friend to South African president.
“South Africa will be voting at the AfDB. We need them to support Nigeria.”