African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina has ruled himself out of running for the presidency of Nigeria after recent speculation that he is preparing a bid, while Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Godwin Emefiele’s candidacy has lapsed after he has missed a deadline to step down from the Bank.
“While I am deeply honored, humbled and grateful for all the incredible goodwill, kindness, and confidence, my current responsibilities at this time do not allow me to accept to be considered,” Adesina wrote in a statement released by the AfDB.
“I remain fully engaged and committed to the mission that Nigeria, Africa and all the non-African shareholders of the African Development Bank have given me for Africa’s development.”
Meanwhile, Emefiele missed a 16 May deadline to resign from the CBN, which he has led since 2014, and did not submit his All Progressives Congress candidacy forms by May 13, according to the party. His lawyers had previously asked a federal court to allow him to lead the bank while competing in the APC presidential primaries.
Nigeria’s presidential election will be held in February 2023. The incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, is prevented from standing for a third term under term limit rules.
Adesina, who has led the African Development Bank since 2015, served as Nigeria’s minister of agriculture from 2010 to 2015 under President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party. Media reports in Nigeria speculated that he would run as a candidate for the ruling All Progressives Congress.
But in a statement that leaves little doubt that the presidency is not in his sights, Adesina expressed thanks to his supporters.
“I have been extremely humbled by several calls from Nigerians at home and abroad that I should consider running for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I am very touched by all who have gone to great extent, with such huge sacrifices, of their own volition, to consider me worthy to be proposed for potential consideration. The coalition groups of youth, women, farmers, physically challenged and well-meaning Nigerians that have done this have expressed their genuine free will, political right, freedom of expression and association for my consideration, with the interest of Nigeria at heart.”
The statement puts an end to speculation around his future at the African Development Bank just days before it holds its annual meetings from 23-27 May in Accra, Ghana.