By Stephen Ubanna
Former President Goodluck Jonathan minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumi Adesina and now President , African Development Bank, AfDB, appears to have become a major pillar of President Muhammdu Buhari, in financing the Administration Programmes. The Value News learnt that in the last two years , AfDB , at the instance of the Adesina, has doled out millions of dollars to the Buhari Administration to support its Agricultural programe.
Political watchers, believe that the Nigerian born AfDB President may have used his position to support the government because of the role played by the Katsina born Nigerian President to see to his emergence as the President of the Bank. That much was confirmed by the AfDB President when he visited Buhari at the Presidential Vila where they held a closed door meeting on Tuesday, April 23, 2019.
He noted that without his support he would not have been AfDB President. It is not surprising why he has thrown his weight behind the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, government , to achieve its electioneering Campaign promises to the people , particular, Agricultural development. An elated Adesina was happy that his efforts in supporting the government through the Bank has not been a wasted effort. ”I acknowledge the progress being made in the Nigerian’s economy while listing the achievements of the bank in the country since his presidency”, he said.
Many believe that the bank could achieve that much in the nation’s Agricultural sector in the last four years because of strict management of the loans from the bank to avoid been looted by political office holders. The President who could not hide his feelings about the support of the bank cited ”its critical gesture in 2016 during the critical period of the economic recession through the issuance of $600 million budget support facility”.
Given the bank’s contribution to the growth of the country’s Agriculture and infrastructural development, Buhari was said to have pleaded with Adesina the AfDB, president not to turn his back on the country . He was said to have used the opportunity of the visit to ask for the bank’s ”continued support to the nation’s Agricultural development to be self dependent in food production and other vital areas of the economy.”We still have significant work ahead in the provision of electricity supply, small scale Cottage Industries and promotion of agro- industrial zones coming up in the country,” he revealed.
According to him, the focus of his Administration would continue to be on ”
Note that Buhari , had used the services of the AfDC boss to reach out to Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, UN, to co-chair , a special session to raise a $50 billion fund to finance inter-basin water trasfer scheme to revive the LakeChad Basin. Adesina, who did not hesitate in carrying out the assignment was said to have contacted the UN Secretary General who gave his words to participated in the fund raising programme . Presidency sources disclosed that the former Nigerian Agricultural minister had already conveyed the response of the Guterres, the UN , Secretary General to the President.
According to him, the President has charged the Bank to lead a team to source for the $50 billion for the inter -basin water transfer project . The Nigerian born AfDB helmsman disclosed that the bank has jumped into the offer because of the size of the capital required in the project which was ”unavailable to the Lake Chad member countries which include Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
At present the four lake Chad Basin Countries are involved in fighting the Islamic Fundamentalists , Boko Haran in the north east . The Countries had contributed soldiers to the Multi-National Joint Task Force, MNJTF, which are prosecuting the war, which had been restricted to Borno state , and occasional attacks in Yobe state.
Note that thousands of people from the four countries who had depended on the Lake Chad Basin for their daily livelihood , appears to have become jobless , over the last nine years , due to the shrinking of the lake facility, a situation that may have aggravated the crisis in the region.
The AfDB boss gave kudos to the President for coming up with the fund raising idea to revive the Lake Chad Basin which would restore back the lost glory of the of the Lake. ”It used to be a 25,000 Kilometres lake but had shrieked to less than one tenth of its size because of the Boko Haram Insurgency”, he said.