Nigeria: Govt, Obasanjo Express Support for Adesina, AfDB President

African Development Bank President Adesina Akinwunmi, addressing a town hall meeting.

Abeokuta — Apparently miffed by the United States of America's stance on the alleged ethical impropriety allegations leveled against the African Development Bank (AfDB's) President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, by some faceless 'Concerned Staff' of the bank, the Federal Government yesterday charged the Board of development finance institution to ignore the U.S call and follow laid down processes to protect and preserve the bank.

This is even as a former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, also lent his voice to oppose the U.S' stance in a letter addressed Obasanjo, in his letter dated May 26, 2020 and addressed to 13 former African leaders, advocated the collaboration of the leaders to jointly defend the Bank.

The Federal Government, in a letter with Ref No. HMFBNP/OHMFBNP/ADB/ECR/2020 dated 28th May, 2020 written by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, written to the Board chair, Madame Kaba NIALE and sourced by Daily Trust, asked the Board to stand by the report of its Ethics Committee on the trumped up allegations leveled against the Nigerian-born AfDB President.

The letter reads in part: "The Nigerian Government has been following very closely the above matter, subsequent to the conclusion and admission of the formal report of the Ethics Committee and decision of the Chair of the Board of the Governors, Honorable Minister Kaba NIALE of Cote d'Ivoire.

"The Ethics Committee, following three months of work to examine the whistleblowers' allegations made against the President, dismissed each and every one of the allegations of the whistleblowers against the President as unsubstantiated and baseless.

"The Nigerian Government welcomes this conclusion of the Ethics Committee and the decision of the Chair of the Board of Governors", the minister stated.

According to her, the U.S 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 AfDB's president.

In his letter, Obasanjo expressed worry that despite Adesina's performance at the Bank, there were plots to frustrate his re - election slated for August this year.

The former President wrote: "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

"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," Obasanjo added.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of the Board of Governors of the African Development (AfDB) on in a statement issued yesterday by its chair, Madame Niale Kaba, debunked media reports that it had asked the Bank's president, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, to face a fresh probe.

Kaba maintained that the Board had not taken any fresh decision on Adesina as falsely reported in the media.

She stated, inter alia that: "I must emphasise that there is no governance or constitutional crisis at the African Development Bank Group. It is indeed false that the President of the Bank Group has been or is being asked to step down from his position.

"Everyone must allow the Bureau to do its work and allow due process to reign. All the Governors will be carried along in resolving the issue", Kaba assured.

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