Adesina: Obasanjo, Nigerian govt rebuff U.S. pressure on AfDB

May 28, 2020
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Akinwumi Adesina: Obasanjo, Nigeria rally in support

Former Nigerian leader, Olusegun Obasanjo and the Nigeria’s finance minister, have all slammed the attempt by the United States to pressure the African Development Bank to embark on another probe of the bank’s president Akinwumi Adesina.

Obasanjo and Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, in separate letters, said the independent probe is outside of the rules of the bank.

Obasanjo went further to rally former African leaders to issue a joint statement rejecting the U.S. demand for a new probe, after the Ethics Committee of the bank had exonerated Adesina over allegations made by some whistleblowers.

What the U.S. Treasury Secretary wants is outside the “laws, procedures and governance systems of the Bank”, Obasanjo wrote.

“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”.

“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”.

Nigeria’s finance minister Zainab Ahmed in a separate letter to the AfDB Board chairman, Mrs. Kaba Niale, said since the Ethics Committee has exonerated Adesina over the allegations of the whistleblower, it is superfluous to set up another probe.

“The Ethics Committee has conducted and completed its work following the rules, laws, procedures and guidelines as laid down by the Resolution of the Board of Governors. That Resolution calls for the Ethics Committee to submit its report and supporting documents, to the chair of the Board of Governors.

The Chair of the Board of Governors followed the laid down rules, procedures, guidelines and the governing laws of the bank and ruled appropriately that she concurred with the report and conclusion of the Ethics Committee that dismissed all allegations against the President”.

She urged the board to reject the call for a new probe as it runs counter to the governance rules of the bank.

Adesina was initially scheduled to be re-elected for a second term on 29 May. The election has now been rescheduled for August 25-27.

Adesina, a former Nigerian minister is Africa’s sole candidate. He has been endorsed by both the ECOWAS and the African Union.

And the election is expected to be a coronation, until the Whistleblowers came up with their 15-point allegations against Adesina.

Adesina has vehemently denied all the allegations as baseless.

Now Read Obasanjo and Zainab Ahmed’s letters:
Letter from H_E Obasanjo on AfDB May 2020

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