Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday assured President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, that Nigeria would stand solidly behind him to get re-elected.
Buhari gave the assurance while hosting Adesina on a courtesy visit at the State House, Abuja.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari said his support for AfDB goes beyond party lines and that he would remain consistent in his support because no one has faulted the step he took.
“In 2015, when you were to be elected for the first term, I wrote to all African leaders, recommending you for the position. I didn’t say because you were a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) minister, and I belonged to the All Progressives Congress (APC), so I would withhold my support. I’ll remain consistent with you because no one has faulted the step I took on behalf of Nigeria,” Buhari said.
The President pledged that Nigeria would work with all other leaders and stakeholders in AfDB to ensure the re-election of Adesina for a second term, built on the record of his achievements during his first term.
Giving a background to what was happening in the bank, Adesina said the 16 allegations raised against him were trumped up, “and without facts, evidence and documents, as required by the rules and regulations of the bank.”
He added that the Ethics Committee of the bank cleared him of all the allegations, and calls for fresh investigation by the United States of America, were against the rules.
“My defense ran into 250 pages, and not a single line was faulted or questioned. The law says that report of the Ethics Committee should be transmitted to the Chairman of Governors of the bank. It was done, and the governors upheld the recommendations. That was the end of the matter, according to the rules. It was only if I was culpable that a fresh investigation could be launched. I was exonerated, and any other investigation would amount to bending the rules of the bank to arrive at a predetermined conclusion,” Adesina said.
Meanwhile the House of Representatives has charged the board of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to stop Adesina’s harassment over alleged unethical practice.
The House also mandated the ECOWAS and pan-African parliament to investigate the issue and resolve same and report to it within a reasonable time.
Similarly, the green chamber urged the Federal Government to call on all African leaders to intervene in the issues relating to the AfDB president.
This followed the adoption of a motion by the minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu, in his lead debate. He said Adesina informed the House that recently a group of whistleblowers accused him of 16 breaches of the banks code of conduct, some of which allegedly included private gains, impediments to efficiency, preferential treatment and involvement in political activities.
He noted that on” investigation by the ethics committee of the board of directors, the allegations were found to be frivolous, unsubstantiated, lack merit and therefore exonerated Dr Adesina on all the 16 allegations.