FORMER presidents of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan have joined thirteen other former leaders of African countries to drum up support for the embattled President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, praising him for taking the bank to great heights.
In a statement, the fifteen ex-presidents described AfDB as the “pride of the continent,” and cautioned that at this critical time that Africa was battling with COVID-19, the bank and its president should not be distracted.
According to the former heads of state, governance was all about respecting and abiding by rules, laws, and established governing systems of organisations.
They added that in the case of AfDB, while differences might exist among the parties, the best way to address them was to first respect the rules, procedures and governance structures of the bank.
In the statement, they noted that, “to do otherwise will be tantamount to undermining the Bank and its long and hard earned reputation, and that of its President.
“Differences will always occur but we urge that all stakeholders work together. All concerned stakeholders 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 AfDB, and no nation should have such power.”
The ex presidents believe that the AfDB had performed remarkably well under the leadership of Adesina and “the Bank is a pride for all of Africa, and its President, Adesina, has taken it to enviable heights.
”At this critical time that Africa is battling with COVID-19, the Bank and its President should not be distracted.”
They specifically lauded Adesina on the bank’s intervention of $10 billion crisis response facility to support African countries and the inauguration of $3 billion “COVID-19 social bond,” the largest ever denominated bond in the history of the world.
They added that the bank’s presence and work had been highly visible and impactful, stating that in less than five years, the bank’s agenda had impacted more than 333 million people across the continent.
The United States Treasury Department had called for an independent probe of corruption allegations levelled against Adesina after being cleared by the bank’s ethics committee.
Those who signed the statement are: Olusegun Obasanjo (President of Nigeria; 1999-2007), Boni Yayi (President of Benin; 2006-2016), Hailemariam Desalegn (PM of Ethiopia; 2012 – 2018), John Kufour (President of Ghana; 2001 – 2009), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (President of Liberia; 2006 – 2018), Joyce Banda (President of Malawi; 2012 – 2014), Joaquim Chissano (President of Mozambique; 1986 – 2005), Tandja Mamadou (President of Niger; 1999 – 2010), Dr. Goodluck Jonathan (President of Nigeria; 2010-2015), Mohamed Marzouki (President of Tunisia; 2011 – 2014), and Benjamin Mkapa (President of Tanzania; 1995 – 2005).
Others are Ameenah Gurib-Fakin (President of Mauritius; 2015 – 2018), Rupiah Banda (President of Zambia; 2008 – 2011), Kgalema Motlanthe (President of South Africa; 2008-2009) and Jakaya Kikwete (President of Tanzania; 2005 – 2015).