Former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and other African leaders on Friday, May 29, 2020 threw their support behind the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwunmi Adesina.
The African leaders rallied support for Adesina through a statement they jointly signed and made available by Mr. Kehinde Akinyemi, the media aide to Obasanjo.
Some whistleblowers recently alleged that Adesina had violated the bank’s Code of Ethics, but he had since firmly and consistently declared his innocence of the allegations.
The United States is insisting on a further probe in spite of the fact that Adesina had been exonerated by the Board of Directors of the bank following an earlier probe.
The African leaders, however, insisted that the bank had fully followed its rules, procedures and governing systems, which had served it well since it was established by African countries in 1964.
“The Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors, a legal oversight body of the Bank, made up of representatives of shareholders, cleared Dr. Adesina of all 16 allegations, declaring them as baseless and unsubstantiated and exonerated him completely.
“The Chairman of the Board of Governors, based on the report of the Ethics Committee, declared Dr. Adesina exonerated.
“Governance is all about respecting and abiding by rules, laws and established governing systems of organisations.
“In the case of the AfDB, while differences may exist among parties, the best way to address them is to first respect the rules, procedures and governance structures of the Bank.
“To do otherwise will be tantamount to undermining the Bank and its long and hard earned reputation, and that of its President,” they said.
The leaders cautioned that the continent should not allow itself to be distracted, particularly when it is battling with the coronavirus pandemic.
The ex-presidents, who took time to roll out the achievements of the AfDB, noted that the bank had performed remarkably well under the leadership of Adesina.
“The bank is a pride for all of Africa and its President, Dr. Adesina, has taken it to enviable heights.
“At this critical time that Africa is battling with COVID-19, the bank and its President should not be distracted,” they stated
Signatories to the statement are: Olusegun Obasanjo (President of Nigeria; 1999-2007), Boni Yayi (President of Benin; 2006-2016), Hailemariam Desalegn (Prime Minister of Ethiopia; 2012-2018), John Kufour (President of Ghana; 2001-2009), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (President of Liberia; 2006-2018), Joyce Banda (President of Malawi; 2012-2014), Joaquim Chissano (President of Mozambique; 1986-2005), Tandja Mamadou (President of Niger; 1999-2010), and Goodluck Jonathan (President of Nigeria; 2010-2015).
Others include: Mohamed Marzouki (President of Tunisia; 2011-2014), Benjamin Mkapa (President of Tanzania; 1995-2005), Ameenah Gurib-Fakin (President of Mauritius; 2015-2018), Rupiah Banda (President of Zambia; 2008-2011), Kgalema Motlanthe (President of South Africa; 2008-2009), and Jakaya Kikwete (President of Tanzania; 2005-2015).
By Olawale Jokotoye