By Idowu Abdullahi,
Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, and his then Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, have thrown their weight behind the embattled President of the African Development Bank President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, over the corruption allegations leveled against the latter.
Following the bank’s whistleblowers allegation of embezzlement and favoritism against Adesina as the President of the Bank, the United States Department of Treasury had demanded an independent probe of the allegations.
The US demands followed the declaration by the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Board of the Governors of the bank which cleared Adesina from the allegations and certified him free of the charges leveled against him. However, the allegations and demand for independent probe by the US may not be unconnected to Adesina’s bid to return as the AFDB President for a second term of five-year.
But, Obasanjo, while reacting to the US demand, said the insistence of independent investigation by the US was against the rules, laws, procedures, and governance systems of the bank which had cleared Adesina, who was Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture.
The ex-President, through a letter to the Board and African former leaders, maintained that the clearance from the internal mechanism to checkmate allegations of wrongdoings like the bank’s ethic committees was enough to put the matter to rest.
“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.”
He urged former African leaders to support the AFDB boss by issuing a joint statement “to support the laid down procedures embarked upon to evaluate the allegations and recommend that the Board of Governors, as well as the Ethics Committee of the Bank, should firmly stand by their process and its outcome,” the letter read.
On his part, Atiku while corroborating his former boss call for solidarity through his social media page on Thursday, urged Africans, including the leader, and the led to rise in unison by supporting Adesina in preserving the dignity of the bank from invasion.
In 2015, after 50 years of AfDB with Nigeria being its largest shareholder, I travelled around Africa at the instance of @MBuhari to lobby African Heads of States to support Dr @akin_adesina. Even now, we should all stand up and support Dr Adesina, Africa and @AfDB_Group. -AA
— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) May 28, 2020