President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Dr. Akinwumi Adesina of Nigeria’s support in his bid to seek a second term in office as the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The President gave the assurance on Tuesday through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, while hosting the AfDB President on a courtesy visit.
“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 wouldn’t withhold my support.
“I’ll remain consistent with you because no one has faulted the step I took on behalf of Nigeria,” President Buhari said.
The President pledged that Nigeria would work with all other leaders and stakeholders in AfDB to ensure that Dr Adesina is elected for a second term based on the record of his achievements during his first term.
The African Union had already endorsed the incumbent AfDB President as the sole candidate for the continent, but some other stakeholders have held the opinion that Dr. Adesina should be re-investigated over some allegations, and rendered ineligible to run.
Dr. Adesina while giving a background on the development at the AfDB, explained that 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 while the Ethics Committee of the bank cleared him of all the allegations, a fresh investigation was called for.
“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,” Dr Adesina added.
He stressed that the motive of a fresh investigation would be to soil his name and that of the bank.
The AfDB President, however, noted that he was proud to be a Nigerian and therefore, thanked President Buhari for his unflinching support.
“You helped me to get elected in the first place, and you have supported me robustly all along, and the African Union unanimously endorsed my re-election” he declared.
Speaking further, Adesina commiserated with President Buhari on the death of the former Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, and described the new Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, as “a man of integrity, and of global standing.”