Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has challenged African leaders to rise up in defence of Akinwunmi Adesina, the embattled president of the African Development Bank, whom the US is trying to vilify and render ineligible for re-election in August.
The US, the first largest shareholder and non-African member, has called for an independent investigation of allegations (nepotism, disrespect for rules) some whistleblowers levelled against Adesina, despite the clearance the ethics committee has given to him.
Obasanjo, in a letter he wrote to the leaders, insisted the allegations are parts of an attempt by some non-regional member countries of the bank to frustrate Adesina’s reelection for a second term, and to hijack the bank control.
The first non-regional member pushing for Adesina removal is the US. Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finlandhve also backed the call for an independent probe. And some media reports have identified the US executive director on the bank’s board, Stephen Dowd, as the linchpin.
Dowd was nominated by President Donald Trump in 2017 to represent the US on the board.
Obasanjo accused the US of disparaging the bank and ridiculing its entire governance system, which has been in place since 1964.
“If we do not rise up and defend the AfDB Group, this might mean the end of the bank, as its governance will be hijacked away from Africa.”
He noted the ethics committee and the chair of the board acted in accordance with the laid-down procedures in dismissing the allegations.
Adesina doesn’t only have the support of the AfDB board of governors, he also has the sympathies of ECOWAS, AU, and other leadership bodies on the continent.
According to Finance Minister Ahmed Zainab, Adesina’s achievements include securing a general capital increase of $115bn, the largest ever in the history of the bank.
Zainab also developed a $10bn Crisis Response Facility to fight coronavirus in Africa, and also led the bank to launch a $3bn ‘Fight COVID-19’ social bond, the largest US dollar-denominated social bond in world history.