Coalition of 28 support groups seeking Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina to contest 2023 Nigeria’s Presidential election, on Sunday picked up nomination forms, expressing confidence that he would not reject calls by millions of Nigerians to serve.
The coalition expressed this in Abuja while addressing journalists shortly after picking the APC Nomination and Expression of Interest forms for President for Adesina, who is currently the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Asked if the coalition had reached out to Adesina and his response, Mr. Ademola Babatunde, who led one of the coalition’s group, the Youth Arise Movement (YAM), said efforts were being made within and outside Nigeria to reach out to him.
Adesina was a former Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture.
Babatunde, however, said no definite response had been received from Adesina on the appeal by the group on him to run for the 2023 presidential election.
“We have looked at the situation of this country, and our conclusion is that we need Dr Adesina to come and solve Nigeria’s problems and because of this, we have put our resources together.
“It is very certain that Adesina knows very well that when he was contesting for the AfDB, President Muhammadu Buhari supported him wholeheartedly for the first and second terms.
“Such a person will not want to throw away the call of over 200 million Nigerians and also feel that he cannot defend the legacy and the goodwill of the president of Nigeria.
“It is a time for him to come and reciprocate the good gesture that President Buhari has given to him by accepting this form that we have struggled to purchase.
“It is not easy to gather N100 million but we have ensured that we gather as many people as possible to raise the money,” Babatunde said.
Babatunde, who is a former presidential candidate of the defunct Nigeria Community Movement Party (NCMP) in the 2019 presidential election, said the form would be presented to Adesina as soon as possible, urging him to accept the the and contest.
“It is a gift to serve this country and solve our problems. We are calling Adesina because it’s a call to save Nigeria and I think he is going to accept,” Babatunde said.
He also expressed confidence that the coalition would meet up with the APC deadline for submission of the forms, saying we have people on ground and we are very certain that he is a member of APC before we begin to do what we are doing.
On what informed the coalition to buy the forms, the President, One Nigeria Group, Mr. Mohammed Saleh, said they believed in Adesina’s capacity to solve the challenges currently facing Nigeria.
Saleh said Adesina had over the years demonstrated the capacity when he served as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and now the president of AfDB.
“What informed the decision of picking up the forms for him is that we have looked in and out of this country for a solution for Nigeria in 2023.
“ Adesina is a man of proven integrity and experience. He has done so much for Nigeria as Minister for Agriculture.
“He has solved the problems of so many farmers, created so many jobs by solving the corruption in the agricultural sector, particularly the fertiliser, when he introduced the e-wallet, which the farmers are enjoying now and created a lot of jobs.
“It has also helped millions of farmers in Nigeria which they are still benefiting and also as AfDB president, he has brought a lot of initiatives that solved Africa’s food security problem.
“So, we will like him to come back home and apply it here in Nigeria,” Saleh said.
Asked if they were sure Adesina was a member of APC and how they could woo the party delegates at the convention, Saleh said that was not a problem.
“When we get there, we’ll cross that bridge, don’t worry about that,” he said.
“The most significant thing is for us to get him agree and come and collect the forms, sign them for us and then join the race. That is the most significant thing at the moment.
“On the issues of delegates, all Nigerians including the delegates, even you, everybody in Nigeria knows that Adesina has the capacity to bring Nigeria back from the brink.”
He also expressed optimism that they would meet up with the APC deadline for submission of the forms, once Adesina accepted it.
Other members of the coalition include Prudent Youth Association of Nigeria, women groups, farmers, people with disabilities and other civil society groups.