By Stphen Ubanna
Akinwumi Adesina, a former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development under former President Goodluck Jonathan of the then ruling People’s Democratic Party government and now President of the African Development Bank , AfDB, can now heave a sigh of relief.
This is because president muhammadu Buhari appears to have mobilised support to facilitate his return to office for a second term . The Presidential support is coming despite the rising opposition against him from both within and outside the African Continent to forestall his re-election bid which was being championed by the North American country of the United States , which has 6.5 % , which makes it the second largest shareholder next to the oil rich Nigeria
. Trouble was said to have started for the Nigerian born ADB President when he might have played into the hands of the whistle- blowers and aggrieved Staff opposed to his running of the African lender bank over the last four years. The whistle blowers and the aggrieved Staff had raised some weighty allegations that he had used the Bank’s resources for self promotion and personal gain, while also paying out huge but undeserved huge severance packages to Staff who had resigned their appointment previously and favouring close acquaintances in the award of juicy contracts from the Bank and appointment into strategic positions his fellow Nigerians.
The allegations in may have exposed the rift tbetween the unnamed Staff and the Nigerian born AfDB President. But the Nigerian government will not take it. The Katsina state born Nigerian President may have seen the gang up against Adesina , as an un declared war by the US, against Nigeria.
Given the direction the matter is taking, Adesina, the AfDB President had flown to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory , FCT, on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, to have a word with the President at the Presidential Villa. The duo were said to have met behind closed door. Some top government officials including Hajia Zainab Ahmed , minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning were said to have been invited into the meeting to make their own contribution to ensure that Adesina was not disgraced out of office going by the way the US was going about it.
The visit was said to have provided an ample opportunity for the embattled AfDB President to state his own side of the case to the government officials, insisting that’’ they were trump up charges against him by whistle-blowers and the Staff’’.
The presentation of his defense which clearly showed that he was innocent may have given the President the encouragement to reassure him of Nigeria’s support for his re-election bid. ‘’I wrote to all African Leaders, recommending you for the position in 2015, despite coming from different political persuasions and I will not withhold my support for you this time around’’, he had assured him.. This may have gladdened Adesina’s heart who was said to have left the Villa a happy person back to Abidjan, the Capital of CotedÍvore and the Headquarters of the AfDB.
True to his words the prsident was said to have reached out to the leadership of the African Union, AU, who were said to have endorsed Adesina, the incumbent AfDB Prsident as the sole Candidate despite the opposition of the US.
Recall that some other countries from Europe, Middle East, Asia, North and South America which also have shares in the Africa Lender Bank, had teamed up with the US, to call for an Independent Investigation of the allegations raised against Adesina, the AfDB President by the aggrieved parties.
Hajia Zainab Ahmed, minister of Finance , Budget and National Planning , may have spoken the mind of of the Nigerian President who is not happy with allegations leveled against Adesina, by the whistle –blowers and aggrieved Staff, was said to had urged the Board of Governors of the Bank to ignore the calls for an Independent Investigation of the AfDB President, an indication o the government daring the Us govrnment.
Ndidi Elumelu, a former member of the House of Representatives, who could not hid his feelings noted that after the Bank Ethics Committee had cleared Adesina, the AfDB President of the alleged charges, against him, the US, has no moral justification to pile up pressure on 55 –year old Financial Institution to seek for a re-trial of the case, ostensibly to force Adesina out of office and whittle down Nigeria influence in the Bank.
An aggrieved Elumelu was said to have asked the Femi Gbajabiamila led House to investigate the allegations which he described as’ trump up’, urging the government and all other African leaders to intervene in the crisis to save the situation from degenerating. He averred that ‘’if this sort of witch-hunt and unnecessary harassment is not quickly checked and discouraged, it may become a recurring decimal, in the Bank’’, that will destroy the goodwill which the Bank had enjoyed over the years.
Recall that former Presidnts Olusegun Obasanjo and Jonathan,, who threw up Adesina into prominence, as his minister of Agricure and Rural development where he distinguished himself, had teamed up with thirteen other African Leaders tosupport the AfDB president in order to continue his good work in the Bank.
The Board of governors of the 55-year old African Financial Institution were said to have met last Tuesday at Abidjan to discuss whether to bring in an outside investigator into the allegations concerning Adesina, the AfDB President over his running of the African Lender Bank as demanded by the US and some other Foreign stakeholders which had rejected an initial inquiry that cleared him.
As at press time , it could not be ascertained the decision that had been reached on the matter by the Board of the 80 member Bank. Political Observers fear that the decision that might be taken by the Board of governors may make or mar the AfDB.