By Ikechukwu Eze, Media Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Ex-President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has congratulated his former minister of agriculture and President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina over his emergence as the 2017 World Food Prize laureate, describing him as a man of exceptional work ethic.
The former President defined Dr. Adeshina as the man who transformed agriculture in Nigeria by introducing several innovations that changed the face of farming, boosted the capacity of farmers and expanded the nation’s ability to feed herself.
Media adviser to the ex-President, Ikechukwu Eze in a statement in Abuja said Dr. Jonathan stated this in a letter of goodwill to Adesina which the former President personally signed.
Jonathan also noted that during Adesina’s years as agriculture minister, staple food prices remained stable, even in the face of serious challenges like the devastating floods of 2012 and the “difficulties occasioned then by global economic recession.”
The letter reads:
“I wish to most sincerely congratulate you for your emergence as the World Food Prize Laureate for the year 2017.
“I am not surprised that such a highly prized honour has being conferred on you, given your outstanding and exemplary performance as my former Minister of Agriculture.
“I must state that I have met many men in my years on earth, but few have the intellect and the exceptional work ethic you possess.
“During your years as Nigeria’s agriculture minister and driver of my administration’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), you introduced several innovations like the e-wallet fertilizer and seed distribution system which cut out the middle man, eliminated corruption and expanded Nigeria’s ability to feed herself.
“You oversaw a programme that reduced our food import bill by almost 50%, and working with others in my administration, you helped Nigeria become one of only a handful of nations in the world to reasonably reduce hunger levels between 2011-2015, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute.
“Under your guidance, Nigeria came out of the devastating floods of 2012 without a famine. I am always delighted by the fact that within that period, and throughout the period of our administration, staple food prices remained stable, even with the difficulty occasioned then by global economic recession.
“I believe that these accomplishments and other laudable achievements you recorded in your continuing service to humanity, set you apart as the most deserving candidate for this award.
“I am proud of you, Akin. Please accept my congratulations on behalf of my family, and all those who served with me during my administration.”