Buhari, Obasanjo fail to save Adesina, as AfDB succumbs to U.S. pressure on independent investigation

June 8, 2020
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President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and former President Olusegun Obasanjo may have failed to save Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) from independent investigation by external forces after the AfDB President had been exonerated from all allegations by the Ethics Committee  and the Board of Governor, clearing him from accusations of misconduct.

President Buhari and several other former African Presidents had made statements warning that independent investigation of the AfDB instigated by the United States (US) negates the principles and procedures of the Bank. They had admonished the boards of the Bank resist such external inference that could destroy the basic values, autonomy and operational capacity of the AfDB in the future. However, other conflicting interests in the AfDB support the independent investigation as that would strengthen their aspiration for the AfDB President which Adesina is seeking re-election for second tenure.

The conflicting interests in the African continent, in alliance with the US, compelled AfDB Bureau of Board of Directors to insist on independent investigation of the allegations by whistleblowers which was decided at a meeting last Thursday.

The AfDB Bureau of Board of Governors at a meeting last Thursday, issued a communique endorsing the U.S demand for independent investigation of Adesina.

The Bureau of the Boards of Governors, in the communique signed by the Chairperson, Niale Kaba, indicated that the Bureau reiterated that it agreed that the Ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors performed its role on this matter in accordance with the applicable rule under Resolution B/BG/2008/11 of the Board of Governors.

The Bureau also reiterated that the Chairperson of the Bureau of the Board of
Governors performed her role in accepting the findings of the Ethics Committee in accordance with the said Resolution.

The Communique at a turning point, declared: “However, based on the views of some Governors on the matter and the need to carry every Governor along in resolving it, the Bureau agrees to authorize an Independent Review of the Report of the Ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors relative to the allegations considered by the Ethics Committee and the submissions made by the President of the Bank Group thereto in the interest of due process.

“The Independent Review shall be conducted by a neutral high calibre individual with unquestionable experience, high international reputation and integrity within a short time period of not more than two to four weeks maximum, taking the Bank Group’s electoral calendar into account.”

The Bureau, however, agreed that, “within a three to six month period and following the independent review of the Ethics Committee Report, an independent comprehensive review of the implementation of the Bank Group’s Whistle-Blowing and Complaints Handling Policy should be conducted with a view to ensuring that the Policy is properly implemented, and revising it where necessary, to avoid situations of this nature in the future.”

It would appear that President Buhari and other African leaders may have been overwhelmed by the US in the affairs of the continent’s development Bank. The locus of authority and control is gradually shifting from the African leaders whose petit bourgeoisie delight in alliance with the US to attain their narrow interests.

Though, Adesina had responded to the allegations, but those aspiring for his job find strong tool in the allegations to eliminate him from the contest for re-election for the President of the Bank.

The entire episode, however, showcases Nigeria’s lowest ebb of diplomatic relations and foreign policies.

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