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Rise up, defend AfDB from External Influence Obasanjo, Ahmed to African Leaders

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Olusegun Obasanjo, a former Nigerian president, in a letter to some former leaders on the African continent, has reached out to rally their support for Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), whose reelection bid has been challenged by whistle blowing allegations of supposed inappropriate conducts. Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria’s minister of finance has also written a letter to the chairman of AfDB’s Board of Governors, requesting external influences to undermine the bank’s laid down processes are rejected .
If not for the coronavirus outbreak, Adesina’s reelection would have been held yesterday (May 28), but now postponed to 25-27 August, as noted in Ahmed’s letter, and as a sole candidate, Adesina was bound to coast to victory.
Former President Obasanjo, in a letter dated May 26, extolled Adesina’s work at the AfDB, saying he has “performed very well in this position over the past five years”. Obasanjo in the letter, also stated that Adesina has “taken the bank to great heights. In 2020, he led the bank to achieve a historic general capital increase, raising the capital of the bank from $93bn to $208bn”, further described as the highest in the history of the bank since its establishment in 1964.
He explained that despite these achievements and Adesina’s endorsement for a second term by the whole of Africa, “there are some attempts led by some non-regional member countries of the bank to frustrate his re-election.”
“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 from Africa,” he said.
Obasanjo then proposed to the former leaders that they should “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 recommenced by some parties given that such recommendation falls outside the laid down procedure, laws, rules and regulations of the bank.”
Copied in the letter were Boni Yayi, former president of Benin Republic, Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana; Hailemariam Desalegn, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia; John Kufour, former President of Ghana; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia; Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi.
Others are Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique; Tandja Mamadou; former President of Niger; Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, both former Presidents of South Africa; Benjamin Mkapa and Jakaya Kikwete, both former Presidents of Tanzania; and Mohamed Marzouki; former President of Tunisia.
In another letter yesterday, May 28, Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria’s minister of finance, wrote Kaba Niala, chairman of AfDb’s Board of Governors, stating that the Nigerian Government had been following developments at the bank closely subsequent to the conclusion and submission of the formal report of the Ethics Committee.
“The ethics committee, following three months of work to examine the whistleblowers’ allegations made against Adesina, dismissed each and every one of the allegations as unsubstantiated and baseless,” wrote Ahmed in the letter.
She also stated that the call for an “independent investigation” of Adesina “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 President”.
Also highlighting achievement’s recorded under Adesina, Nigeria’a finance minister reiterated the Bank’s general capital increase of $115 billion, as well as a $10 billion Crisis Response Facility for Africa to fight the Coronavirus pandemic. Separately, she highlighted the $3 billion “Fight COVID19″ social bond, described as the largest US dollar denominated social bond ever in world history.
While noting that the board of Governors must uphold the rule of law and respect the governance systems of the Bank, Ahmed stated that “If there are any governance issues that need improvement, these can be considered and amendments provided for adoption inline with laid down procedures.”
She concluded the letter by commending the chairman, Board of Governors for the action taken so far, and urged that “the bank’s laid down process be followed to protect and preserve our bank.”

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