Abuja was at its best when el-Rufai was minister -Akinwumi Adesina


Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), says Abuja was at its best when Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, was the minister of the federal capital territory (FCT).


Adesina made the comment on Friday at the commemoration and send-off ceremony organised for Nteranya Sanginga, the outgoing director-general of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), held at the IITA Conference Centre, Ibadan.


The AfDB president described el-Rufai as an “amazing governor” with good leadership qualities.


El-Rufai served as FCT minister from 2003-2007 under the leadership of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo.


 “You can never be leading except your know where you’re leading people and governor el-Rufai knows that very well because you’ve been an amazing governor of Kaduna state. And also when you were minister, in terms of Abuja, Abuja was at its best,” Adesina said.


Speaking about the celebrant, Adesina said he is very proud of the achievements of Sanginga, whom he calls his twin brother.


He expressed confidence that Sanginga would deliver and transform the IITA, adding that it was on that basis that he nominated him as DG of the institute in 2011.


Adesina revealed that, though he is an economist, he “wanted to be a microbiologist” because of the good work done by Sanginga and his team.


“I’ve known Sanginga since 1995 when I was working as an economist at the IITA. Competence has nothing to do with the colour of your skin or the grey matter of your hair,” he said.


“Sanginga led IITA to incredible heights of world-class science. He made IITA the most sought-after international agricultural research centre in the world.


“I spent 10 years of my career at the CGIAR and I can tell you without any doubt that Dr Sanginga is the best and the most accomplished DG in the history of IITA.


 “Sanginga came to Nigeria 41 years ago as a Ph.D. student, Sanginga leaves Nigeria as the director-general of IITA; Sanginga came to Nigeria as a Congolese, Sanginga leaves Nigeria as a Nigerian.”


According to Adesina, the effort of the Sanginga-led IITA team ensured that despite the 2012 flooding disaster in Nigeria, “there was no famine, there was no hunger”. This was achieved because the institute mobilised and delivered maize seeds and other grains needed to curb the effects of the flooding.

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