Africa: AfDB Leadership - African PR Practitioners Warn Against Undue Interference

3 June 2020

The African Public Relations Association (APRA) has kicked against any form of undue interference in the ongoing investigation of the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina.

The group insisted that due process must be followed in the matter.

President of the association, Mr. Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, on behalf of the executive council of the association, this known in a letter to the chairperson and board of AfDB.

In the letter, Badejo-Okusanya stated: "Without prejudice to previous, on-going or future investigations at the bank, we insist that they must all follow the extant rules of the bank. APRA will frown at undue influence outside the bank's established channels.

"As an African institution, albeit with some non-regional stakeholders, AfDB must solve its problems within the context of Africa which is the principal stakeholder."

It went further to state that, "the APRA as the self-appointed reputation driver for Africa, with a strong pro-Africa vision, believes that it is in our collective interest and integrity, that one of the strongest reputation assets of the continent, the AfDB, is not sacrificed on the altar of international politics."

APRA noted that for four years running, the AfDB received triple-AAA ratings from four major global agencies, which was an incontrovertible proof that the institution was moving the continent forward and fulfilling its mandate.

The letter cited, AfDB's establishment of regional offices that has brought the Bank's impact closer to Africans. This it considered as being positive.

Part of the Bank's achievements also listed by the association, was the up-shoot in its loan income from $563 million in 2015 to $803 million in 2017. APRA placed on record that these achievements were under the administration of Adesina, which it stated was a clear testament to his vision and exemplary leadership.

The letter urged the chairman to take objective decisions with a 'keen eye on history', while APRA continues to monitor developments at the bank.

APRA is the umbrella body for the practice of public relations in Africa with a mandate to drive the continent's positive narrative.

The federal government recently intervened to checkmate a plot by the United States and other non-African shareholders of the AfDB to deny the multilateral agency's President a tenure renewal.

Nigeria had rejected the US' call, already supported by Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, for an independent panel to probe allegations of wrongdoing against Adesina by some Bank staff, after the AfDB president had been cleared by the bank's authorities. In addition, Nigeria's former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, had also weighed in on the issue, urging former African heads of government to intervene to save Adesina's job.

In a letter addressed to the Chair of the Board of Governors of AfDB, Nigeria's Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, had said the fresh investigation being demanded by the US and its allies was outside the laid-down rules, procedures and governing system of the bank and its Articles as they relate to the Code of Conduct on Ethics for the president.

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