The embattled president of the African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina, on Tuesday visited President Muhammadu Buhari at Aso Villa.
The visit comes days after the Bank directed a “new and independent” probe of the Adesina, a former agriculture minister of Nigeria.
The bank is believed to have yielded to pressure from the US government to probe allegations levelled against Adesina by a whistleblowing team at the bank.
Adesina has maintained he is still president of the continent’s development finance institution and that is he is innocent of all charges levelled against him.
The allegations come at a time Adesina is due to be considered for a second term as the bank’s president.
And it is believed the moves against him are calculated to reduce his chances–and by extension the chances of Nigeria–of scoring a second term.
The independent probe ordered comes three months before the Bank’s annual general meeting, where Adesina being the sole presidential candidate, is expected to be ratified for a second term.
Part of the accusations of the whistle blowers against Adesina include claims of giving contracts to acquaintances, appointing relatives and friends to strategic positions, and giving preferential treatment to Nigeria, his home country.
Adesina’s visit to Buhari comes in the midst of efforts being made against his second term as president of the bank.
Last Friday, 15 former African presidents–among them, former Nigerian presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan–declared their support for Adesina after that call for a fresh probe by the US.
In a May 26 letter, Obasanjo wrote to 13 African leaders, calling for a joint effort to defend the Bank from being “hijacked”.
In a separate report on Daily Trust, Nigerians vented frustration on social media and urged Buhari to rise to Adesina’s defence.
Adesina went into a meeting behind closed doors with Buhari, and the details of their talks will not be known until later.
Obasanjo expressed worry that despite Adesina’s performance at the Bank, there were plots to frustrate his re – election slated for August this year.
Apparently miffed by the United States of America’s stance on the alleged ethical impropriety allegations leveled against the AfDB’s President, Dr Adesina, by some faceless ‘Concerned Staff’ of the bank, the Federal Government on Thursday charged the Board of development finance institution to ignore the U.S call and follow laid down processes to protect and preserve the bank.
The Federal Government, in a letter with Ref No. HMFBNP/OHMFBNP/ADB/ECR/2020 dated 28th May, 2020 written by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, written to the Board chair, Madame Kaba NIALE and sourced by Daily Trust, asked the Board to stand by the report of its Ethics Committee on the trumped up allegations leveled against the Nigerian-born AfDB President.
The letter reads in part: “The Nigerian Government has been following very closely the above matter, subsequent to the conclusion and admission of the formal report of the Ethics Committee and decision of the Chair of the Board of the Governors, Honorable Minister Kaba NIALE of Cote d’Ivoire.
“The Ethics Committee, following three months of work to examine the whistleblowers’ allegations made against the President, dismissed each and every one of the allegations of the whistleblowers against the President as unsubstantiated and baseless.
“The Nigerian Government welcomes this conclusion of the Ethics Committee and the decision of the Chair of the Board of Governors”, the minister stated. According to her, the U.S call for an independent investigation of the president 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 AfDB’s president.
Adesina still in charge
Meanwhile, the Bureau of the Board of Governors of the African Development (AfDB) in a statement issued on Thursday by its chair, Madame Niale Kaba, debunked media reports that it had asked the Bank’s president, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, to face a fresh probe. Kaba maintained that the Board had not taken any fresh decision on Adesina as falsely reported in the media.
She stated, inter alia that: “I must emphasise that there is no governance or constitutional crisis at the African Development Bank Group. It is indeed false that the President of the Bank Group has been or is being asked to step down from his position.
“Everyone must allow the Bureau to do its work and allow due process to reign. All the Governors will be carried along in resolving the issue,” Kaba assured.