- Role CoS Gambari played
The Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday met amidst intrigues with the President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, behind closed-door in the State House, Abuja, administrative capital of Nigeria.
Details of deliberations at the meeting facilitated by the Chief of Staff to the Nigerian President, Professor Gambari, a diplomat of repute, was not made to known to journalists. It was however suspected not to be unconnected with the hot blood generated by call for independent probe of Adesina.
The Chairman of AfDB Board of Governors, Niale Kaba on May 5, 2020 indicated that Dr. Adesina had been exonerated of allegations against him by whistleblowers, which were thoroughly investigated by the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors, and a recommendation made to Governors of the African Development Bank, and African Development Fund.
However, the US Department of the Treasury, on May 25,2020 said Washington was dissatisfied with the outcome of an internal inquiry that had exonerated Adesina.
The US Treasury Department called on the AfDB to carry out an independent probe into alleged ethics breaches by its president, Akinwumi Adesina.
In a statement later issued by the aide to Nigeria’s President, Mr. Femi Adesina, Mr. Buhari was declared that he would stand by the AfDB President.
“President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria will stand solidly behind Dr Akinwumi Adesina in his bid to get re-elected as President of the African Development Bank (AfDB),” Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Adesina, read.
The President spoke at State House, Abuja, Tuesday, while hosting Dr Adesina 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 would withhold my support. I’ll remain consistent with you, because no one has faulted the step I took on behalf of Nigeria,” said President Buhari.
The President pledged that Nigeria would work with all other leaders and stakeholders in AfDB to ensure that Dr Adesina was elected for a second term built on the record of his achievements during his first term.
The African Union had already endorsed the incumbent AfDB President as sole candidate for the continent, but some other stakeholders are trying to ensure that Dr Adesina is re-investigated on some allegations, and rendered ineligible to run.
Giving a background to what was happening in the bank, Dr Adesina, a former Nigerian Minister for Agriculture, 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,” Dr Adesina said.
Stressing that the motive was to soil his name, and that of the bank, the AfDB President said he was proud to be Nigerian, and 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.
While commiserating with President Buhari on the death of the former Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, Dr Adesina described Professor Ibrahim Gambari, new Chief of Staff as “a man of integrity, and of global standing.”