Obasanjo, Jonathan, ex-African presidents oppose US, endorse Adesina

Former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan, among other ex-leaders have backed Adesina Akinwumi, the President of African Development Bank (AfDB).

The United States had called for his fresh probe despite his clearance by the Ethics Committee.

Adesina, Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture, had since denied all allegations against him.

In their joint statement forwarded to newsmen by Obasanjo’s spokesman, Kehinde Akinyemi, they said Africa is facing unprecedented challenge with COVID- 19 and that all hands must be on deck to tackle the pandemic.

The former leaders said Adesina has been doing a remarkable job in steering the organization.

They recalled that the Bank announced a $10 billion crisis response facility to support countries in Africa.

The ex-presidents noted that AfDB successfully launched a $3 billion “Fight COVID- 19 social bond, the largest ever US dollar-denominated bond in world history.

“Powered by his vision and leadership, the shareholders of the Bank from 80 countries, all approved a general capital increase of $115 billion for the Bank, the largest in its history since establishment in 1964. The Bank has been doing a lot for women, with a $3 billion fund to provide access of finance to women, supported by G7 countries and Africa”, they also said.

The leaders said across the continent, the Bank’s presence and work have been highly visible and impactful.

According to them, in less than five years, the Bank’s High 5 agenda has impacted over 333 million people, from access to electricity, food security, access to finance via the private sector, improve transport and access to water and sanitation.

They noted that AfDB has maintained its stellar AAA rating among all global rating agencies and that the shareholders have all played very important roles in supporting the Bank to achieve these impressive results.

The leaders said Adesina, “who some whistleblowers alleged to have violated the Banks’ Code of Ethics, has firmly and consistently declared his innocence of these allegations”.

The statement stressed that governance is all about respecting and abiding by rules , laws and established governing systems of organizations.

“In the case of the AfDB, while differences may exist among parties, the best way to address them is to first respect the rules, procedures and governance structures of the Bank. To do otherwise will be tantamount to undermining the Bank and its long and hard earned reputation, and that of its President.”

They describe AfDB as pride for all of Africa, and that Adesina has taken the Bank to enviable heights.

The former leaders added that Africa is battling with COVID- 19 and that the Bank and its President should not be distracted.

Ex-presidents who signed that the statement were Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan, Boni Yayi, Hailemariam Desalegn, John Kufour, Joyce Banda, Joaquim Chissano, Tandja Mamadou, Mohamed Marzouki, Benjamin Mkapa, Ameenah Gurib-Fakin, Rupiah Banda, Kgalema Motlan and Jakaya Kikwete.

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