Obasanjo persuades Jonathan, 13 former African Presidents to support Akinwunmi, AfDB President


Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has succeeded in persuading former President Goodluck Jonathan and 13 other former Presidents in Africa to save Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), from investigation by foreign interests. The former African leaders agreed with the former Nigerian President to save the African financial and development institution from external ridicule and embarrassment.

Accordingly, the former African Presidents under the aegis of Concerned African Leaders

in a joint statement – Leadership of the African Development Bank: A Need for Caution – on Friday, acknowledged that Africa is facing an unprecedented challenge with the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that all hands must be on deck to tackle the pandemic. The leaders also acknowledged that Dr. Adesina Akinwumi, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), has done remarkable job in leading the Bank.  The African leaders noted that the Bank announced a $10 billion crisis response facility to support African countries; adding that the Bank also successfully launched a $3 billion “Fight COVID-19 social bond,” noting that this is the largest ever US dollar denominated bond in world history.

They recalled that all the shareholders of the Bank from 80 countries approved a general capital increase of $115 billion for the Bank, the largest in its history since establishment in 1964.

They also acknowledged that the Bank has been doing a lot for women, with a $3 billion fund to provide access finance to women in the continent, supported by G7 countries and Africa.

They also noted that the Bank’s presence and work have been highly visible and impactful across the African continent. “In less than five years, the Bank’s High five agenda has impacted over 333 million people, from access to electricity, food security, access to finance via the private sector, improve transport and access to water and sanitation,” they highlighted.

The Bank, they said, has maintained its stellar AAA rating among all global rating agencies. “The shareholders have all played very important roles in supporting the Bank to achieve these impressive results. This is why we are concerned with the recent developments at the Bank.

“Dr. Adesina, who some whistleblowers alleged to have violated the Banks’ Code of Ethics, has firmly and consistently declared his innocence of these allegations. “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.

“We understand that the Bank fully followed its rules, procedures and governing systems, which have served it well since African countries established it in 1964.

“Governance is all about respecting and abiding by rules, laws and established governing systems of organizations.

“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. The African Development Bank is a pride for all of Africa, and its President, Dr. Adesina, has taken the Bank to enviable heights,” the former African leaders highlighted.

They emphasized that at this critical time that Africa is battling with COVID-19, the Bank and its President should not be distracted. “Differences will always occur, but we urge that all shareholders work together. All shareholders should work with mutual respect, and honour the rules and procedures of the Bank and its governance systems that have served it well for 56 years.

“No nation, regardless of how powerful, has a veto power over the African Development Bank, and no nation should have such power,” the African leaders declared.

Those who signed the joint statement include: H.E Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria 1999-2007; H.E Boni Yayi, President of Benin 2006-2016; H.E Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia; 2012 –2018; H.E John Kufour, President of Ghana; 2001 –2009; H.E Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia 2006 -2018; H.E Joyce Banda, President of Malawi 2012 -2014; H.E Joaquim Chissano, President of Mozambique 1986 -2005; H.E Tandja Mamadou, President of Niger; 1999 –2010; H.E Goodluck Jonathan, President of Nigeria 2010-2015, H.E Mohamed Marzouki, President of Tunisia; 2011 -2014; H.E Benjamin Mkapa, President of Tanzania 1995 -2005; H.E Ameenah Gurib-Fakin, President of Mauritius 2015 –2018; H.E Rupiah Banda, President of Zambia; 2008 –2011; H.E Kgalema Motlanthe, President of South Africa 2008-2009);H.E Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania 2005 -2015.