Former Nigerian President, Obasanjo Mobilizes African Leaders to Back AfDB’s Adesina against US Interference

 

Former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has called on African leaders to rally their support for the President of Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina who is currently facing an integrity problem over a petition written by a group of whistle-blowers in the bank.

In the petition, Mr. Adesina was accused of 20 breaches of the Bank’s code of conduct, including “unethical conduct, private gain, and an impediment to efficiency, preferential treatment, and involvement in political activities.”

The whistle-blowers said their allegations were in line with AfDB’s whistle-blowing policy, as Adesina’s alleged activities adversely affected the confidence and integrity of the Bank.

However, the Bank, however, found the allegations to be “frivolous.”

President Obasanjo in his letter to several former presidents in Africa frowned at interference from “some non-regional member countries of the Bank to frustrate Adesina’s re-election. At issues are some allegations made by some whistle-blowers that alleged that Dr. Adesina violated code of ethics as President. Dr. Adesina strongly denied the allegations as fabrications and misinformation to disparage and discredit him. The laid down due process at the bank, the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors, chaired by the Executive Director from Japan and with members who represent shareholder member countries evaluated the allegations over a period of 3 months”.

“The Ethic Committee of the Board of Directors, after examination of each of the 16 allegations of the whistle-blowers had dismissed each and all of the allegations as baseless and without any substantiation. The Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Bank following review of the Ethics Committee report exonerating Dr. Adesina concurred with the conclusions and exonerated Dr. Adesina of all the allegations. The Ethics Committee and the Chairman of the Board of Governors had performed their duties as laid down in the Rules and regulations of the Bank,” the former President wrote.

“Unfortunately, the US Government, through the US Treasury Secretary, has written a public letter (that was also distributed to the Press globally) to disagree with the conclusions of the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors and the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Bank. Instead of accepting the exoneration of the President of the Bank, they called for an “independent investigation,” he lamented.

“This is outside of the rules, laws, procedures and governance systems of the Bank. The US Treasury Secretary disparaged the Bank and ridiculed the entire governance system of the Bank, which has been in place since 1964. This is unprecedented in the annals of the African Development Bank Group. If we do not rise up and defend the African Development Bank, this might mean the end of the African Development Bank, as its governance will be hijacked away from Africa,” President Obasanjo warned.

 

AfDB President Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina (C) African Development Bank

 

President Obasanjo, Nigerian general, statesman, and diplomat, who was the first military ruler in Africa to hand over power to a civilian government,  however, proposed that Africa must speak with one voice to stop any attempt by the United States to dictate how to run the Bank, saying “I therefore propose that we all collectively issue a press statement to support the laid down procedures embarked upon to evaluate the allegations against the President of the Bank and to recommend that the Board of Governors as well as the Ethics Committee of the Bank should firmly stand by their process and its outcome.

We should speak against the introduction of alien practices being recommended by some parties given that such recommendation falls outside the laid down procedure, laws, rules, and regulations of the Bank. It is also critical that we emphasize the need for the AfDB to remain an Africa-focused development Bank rather than one which serves interests outside Africa.”

The letter was copied former presidents Boni Yayi, Festus Mogae, Hailemariam Desalegn, John Kufuor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Joyce Banda, Joaquim Chissano, Tandja Mamadou, Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe, Benjamin Mkapa, Jakaya Kikwete and Mohamed Marzouki, among others.