Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has stated that the governance of the African Development Bank may be hijacked away from Africa over the calls of the United States for an independent investigation of the bank’s President Akinwunmi Adesina.
A group of anonymous “concerned staff members” has leveled different accusations against Adesina over his handling of the bank. Among these are claims of over-representation of Nigerians and questionable contract awarding procedures. He has since been cleared of any wrong doing.
In a letter to the board of the bank, the former Nigerian president warned that the US call for an independent probe is disparages and ridicules the bank.
He said: “Unfortunately, the US government, through the US treasury secretary, has written a public letter (that was also distributed to the press globally) to disagree with the conclusions of the ethics committee of the board of directors and the chairman of the board of governors of the bank.
Instead of accepting the exoneration of the president of the bank, they called for an independent investigation.
“This is outside of the rules, laws, procedures and governance systems of the bank. The US treasury secretary disparaged the bank and ridiculed the entire governance system of the bank which has been in place since 1964.
“This is unprecedented in the annals of the African Development Bank Group. If we do not rise up and defend the African Development Bank, this might mean the end of the African Development Bank, as its governance will be hijacked away from Africa.”
Obasanjo also advised that it is “critical” to emphasise the need for the AfDB to remain an “African-focused development bank rather than one which serves interests outside Africa.