AfDB: WHO WANTS AKINWUMI ADESINA’S JOB?
By Okofu Ubaka
That successive Nigerian administrations had unabashedly shown a proclivity for inefficiency and corrupt practices did not make every Nigerian that served under such governments corrupt and inefficient. Arguably though, despite the large scale corruption levelled against politicians there are a few individuals who were able to hold their shoulders high in the last PDP-led regime. Dr. Akinwumi Adesina remains one of the few politicians who served as a Minister of Agriculture under Dr. Goodluck Jonathan yet, he was adjudged incorruptible by most Nigerians.
Adesina is presently in the eye of the storm on account of objections raised to his AfDB presidency re-election bid. His control over the African Development Bank, AFDB as President has been fraught with unprecedented opposition right from the inception of his term in 2015 when he took over the reins of affairs of the financial institution from Donald Kaberuka, a Tanzanian.
Dr. Akinwumi’s ordeal is coming from one of the non African members of the institution. The US government has not shown any pretence on its position to have Dr. Adesina removed as the President of AFDB. Steven Mnuchin, representative of the US government on the executive board of AFDB has impeached the credibility of the ethics committee that acquitted Adesina of any wrong doing. He says: “we have deep reservations about the integrity of the Committee’s process. Instead, we urge you to initiate an in-depth investigation of the allegations using the services of an independent outside investigator of high professional standing”.
The moves to stop Dr. Adesina’s second term do not seem to have abated even after the bank’s ethics committee had issued him a clean bill of health. In all of this, the US Representative on the Board is insisting that Adesina must step down to allow for a fresh and independent investigation into the about 160 allegations against him. It is yet foggy why the US government is playing the bully by leading the onslaught against the Nigerian.
Apparently, those who want Adesina’s job are not the whistleblowers that had levelled what pundits referred to as concocted lies in violation of AFDB’s statutory rules. It was suggested that the reason the US government wanted Adesina out of the way was his afro-centric inclination and hard stand against importation of foreign expertise.
It is however unfortunate that the US government has succeeded in hand twisting the Bureau of the Board of Governors of AFDB to authorize an independent review of the report of the ethics committee which was earlier rejected by Steven Mnuchin, the US Representative in AFDB.
Some of reasons the US government did not want Adesina in office as the President of AFDB despite been cleared of all allegations border on the latter’s flamboyant living, preferential treatment and financial impropriety by the ethics committee of the institution.
Adesina in a 250 page response to the over 160 allegations bordering on financial improprieties and favouritism to his countrymen on appointments, promotions and award of contracts, called the allegations baseless and concocted lies.
It must be noted that the US government became a full member of AFDB in 1983. At a time President Shehu Shagari had cautioned against admitting non African countries as members. The institution has all 55 African countries as members and 26 non African countries as non African members. The AFDB was established to mobilize financial resources to support, sustainable economic and social development in Africa. Since its inception, the AFDB has financed projects running into $32.043billion inside and outside the shores of the African continent. Nigeria remains the biggest investor in the institution with over 9% shares.
All the period he was a Minister under the Peoples’ Democratic Party, Adesina was almost never in the news for the wrong reasons. As the Minister of Agriculture, he attracted considerable foreign attention to the agricultural section. He was innovative and changed the face of farming and the storage of farm produces in Nigeria. His e-wallet fertilizer and seeds distribution schemes were most impacting.
Prior to his being petitioned by a group of whistleblowers, Adesina had made a few overhauling moves at the AFDB which did not augur well with some persons and interest. So far, Dr. Adesina yet enjoys the overwhelming support of the continent’s top-notch personalities, including former and sitting Presidents. What remains to be seen is how far such support can be appropriated in dousing off the undue influence of the American government over most Africans countries considering the role of the former as the gendarme of the world.