Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has called for a united front of all African leaders against the latest request for a fresh independent enquiry on Akinwunmi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), by the US Secretary of Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, describing the act as “contempt” by the United States.
Earlier this year, a group of AfDB employees, wishing to remain anonymous, accused their president of patronage in the appointment of fellow Nigerians to important positions, or in the award of certain contracts.
However, in a thorough investigation conducted by the AfDB, Akinwumi Adesina was completely cleared of all allegations leveled against him in early May 2020.
But the United States, led by its Secretary of Treasury, is demanding for a new investigation on 22nd May, 2020. Steven Mnuchin, US Secretary of the Treasury, expressed “reservations” about the investigation by the ethics committee of the African Development Bank and requested a new one, which would be led by “an independent external investigator.
Reacting to this latest development by the United States of America, a group of Concerned African Leaders led by HE Obasanjo, a former President of the biggest shareholding country in the bank, cautioned the US in a powerful letter.
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In the letter signed by 12 ex-African heads of state including Thabo Mbeki from South Africa and John Kufour from Ghana, Olusegun Obasanjo, 83, the former president of Nigeria (1976-1979 and 1999-2007) warned that however powerful a nation is, it did not have any singular authority over the operations over the bank and its governance systems.
“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 letter read.
Olusegun Obasanjo, together with the 12 ex African leaders, comes to the rescue of his compatriot Akinwunmi Adesina, hoping that their intervention will bring the controversy to an end.
Akinwunmi Adesina is seeking re-election in August 2020 for a second and last five-year term as head of the AfDB. At present, he is the only candidate.