May 31, 2023

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OBJ urges African leaders to resist external influence on AFDB

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Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has faulted a demand by the United States Treasury to probe the President of the African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina, who had earlier been cleared of all allegations by an investigative body.
In a letter written to 12 former African Presidents including President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and John Kufour of Ghana, Obasanjo said Africa must stand up and not allow its institutions to be unduly controlled by non-African countries.
Obasanjo said after allegations of unethical practices were levelled against Adesina, the ethics committee of the board of directors chaired by the executive director from Japan and with members who represent shareholder member countries, evaluated the allegations for three months and the 16 allegations were found to be false.
The former President said after Adesina was exonerated, the US government insisted that there must be a fresh investigation by an independent body, a demand which is inconsistent with the rules of the bank.
The letter read in part, “Instead of accepting the exoneration of the President of the bank, they (US treasury) called for an independent investigation. This is outside of the rules, laws, procedures and governance systems of the bank. The US treasury secretary disparaged the bank and the ridiculed the entire governance system of the bank which has been in place since 1964.
“If we do not rise up and defend the African Development Bank, this might mean the end of the AfDB as its governance will be hijacked away from Africa.
“I therefore propose that we all collectively issue a press statement to support the laid down procedures embarked upon to evaluate the allegations against the President of the bank and recommend that the board of governors and ethics committee of the bank should firmly stand by their processes and outcome.”
Obasanjo said under Adesina, the AFDB had witnessed unprecedented growth and doubled its capital base from $93bn when he took over in 2015, to $208bn today.
The former President said Adesina had also ensured that the bank maintained its AAA credit rating.
He noted that amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Adesina exhibited leadership traits by swiftly putting together a $10bn intervention for African countries.
Obasanjo said Adesina’s achievements prompted ECOWAS nations as well as all 55 African Union member states to endorse him for a second term.
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