Uche Usim, Abuja
As the alleged gang up against the re-election of Dr Akinwunmi Adesina as the President of the African Development Development Bank (AfDB) persists, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning insist the President is innocent of all the alleged infractions he was said to have committed.
The duo, in separate letters, has urged the board of the regional bank to ignore calls for an independent investigation of Adesina by the US.
Adesina was accused of favouritism but has been absolved of the allegations by the bank’s ethics committee.
Obasanjo and Ahmed thus urged Kaba Niale, the Chairman of the AfDB Board of Governors, to follow laid down processes to protect and preserve the bank’s integrity.
“The call for an independent investigation of the president is outside of the laid down rules, procedures and governing system of the bank and its articles as it relates to the code of conduct on ethics for the president,” Ahmed wrote.
In his letter, Obasanjo 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.
“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.”
Obasanjo also advised that it is “critical” to emphasise the need for the AfDB to remain an “African-focused development bank rather than one which serves interests outside Africa.