By Njideka Agbo
Akinwunmi Adesina was born to a farmer in Oyo state in 1960. Known for his history of breaking records, he graduated with a first class in Agricultural Economics from the Obafemi Awolowo University in 1981. By 1988, he had earned his PhD in the same course at Purdue University, US.
An exemplary pacesetter, his Thesis was chosen as the Outstanding PhD Thesis Award. That same year, he won the Rockefeller Foundation Social Science Post-Doctoral Fellowship. This fellowship propelled his career path forever.
Having served in Rockefeller Foundation after his fellowship for 10 years where he held leadership positions, Adesina was elected as the vice president of Policy and Partnerships for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). In 2010, the Goodluck-Jonathan-led government appointed him Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
His time as Minister saw a massive improvement in the agricultural standards in Nigeria. Such was the record of this great man that Forbes Africa magazine named him the Person of the Year in 2013.
After his tenure ended in 2015, he became the first Nigerian to be president of the African Development Bank, a position he still holds today.
The dogged Adesina was appointed again by the United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to be a member of the Lead Group of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement. In another appointment, Ban Ki-moon chose him as one of the 17 leaders of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). By 2017, he was given the 2017 World Food Prize (WFP). The development-conscious Adesina donated his prize money to developing the African youth towards agriculture.
A man of integrity, he is forever grateful to serve his nation.