Uche Usim, Abuja
Barely 24 hours after 15 African Heads of State declared their support for the re-election of Dr Akinwunmi Adesina as the President of African Development Bank (AfDB), the Friends of Trump in Nigeria called the MAGA Group, have written to President Donald Trump of the United States to intervene in the current face-off between the US Treasury Secretary and Adesina.
The strongly-worded letter to Trump describes in detail how the recent position of the US Secretary of State, Robert Munichin was frighteningly damaging the American interest across Africa at a time of Chinese insistent resurgence on the continent.
The MAGA Group noted that the current American position calling for a further probe of the AfDB President was self-destructive as it amounts to Washington shooting itself in the foot as the crisis was already demonizing the US in the eyes of Africans.
The letter signed by three leaders of the group, Dr Robert John, Chief Arowosaye Enitan and Abdulahi Usman reads in part:
‘It is with deep anxiety and shock that we write to seek Mr President’s intervention on the seeming lingering dispute over the leadership of the African Development Bank. We are not by any means disputing the rights of the United States government to have a say as to how the bank is run and managed. We also acknowledge the correctness of US policy of enforcing good governance and accountability in the management of multilateral institutions. This is even more critical as the US is a major shareholder in the bank.
‘We, however, wish to note that in the current face-off over AfDB probe of Dr Adesina, the United States is picking a wrong target. Mr President may want to know that the AFDB President is a western American trained scholar with years of international service before assuming the AfDB presidency. His tenure is not in anyway anti-West and if anything he has advanced the course of African development in a way that reduces the old burden on Washington. The philosophy of regions taking serious charge of their lives while America rebuilds is perfectly in line with Mr President’s outlook.
‘Mr President should also note that the bank has its rules and regulations which were complied with by the Ethics committee and the Board of Governors in their exoneration of Dr Adesina of spurious charged levelled against him. To insist on bypassing the rules has the potential to hurt American goodwill and undermine its leverage in the ongoing geopolitical and geoeconomic warfare. Washington cannot afford to be fighting her friends across Africa who have unanimously endorsed Adesina as the best of Africa since assuming the presidency of AFDB.
‘It should also be emphasised that Adesina’s records of performance in the last four years have been unprecedented. He increased the capitalisation of the bank and ensured that funds are channelled to genuine intractable challenges facing the continent. Whatever grouse anybody within your administration may have against Adesina, it will be too heavy a price to pay if the goal is to deny him a second term in office.
‘The consequences may be too damaging to contain in term of American reputation on the continent. We urge you to direct the Treasury Secretary to engage Dr Adesina and dialogue on how to continue to accommodate American interest as a major shareholder. Washington will achieve a lot through such productive engagement than attempting to pull down the house,’ the group concluded in the letter.
On Friday, former heads of governments across Africa, including two ex-Nigerian presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, threw their weight behind Adesina, who is battling allegations of impropriety.
The allegations were levelled by some whistleblowers who said he violated the banks’ Code of Ethics.
Adesina is currently battling 16 allegations levelled against him by a group. He has maintained he is innocent.
The United States is insisting on a further probe despite the clean bill of health given to Mr Adesina by the board of directors of the bank.
The embattled official has said the move to get him out, perhaps at all costs, is linked to his re-election bid and not as a result of any fraudulent activity on his part.