IN the build-up to the general elections in Nigeria last year, one state stood out as the epicenter of change. That state is Kwara in the North-Central region in the country which by sheer determination removed the cloak of agelong servitude with their popular battle-cry song: O to ge or Enough is Enough. The Holy book in the words of the preacher, also called Ecclesiastes, also says in its third chapter, “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Albert Einstein was rejected in school because his teachers considered him “uneducatable” (a slow learner) but he later broke records as a science researcher. Our own, Chief Obafemi Awolowo (1909 – 1987) a.k.a the best president Nigeria never had and proprietor/founder of the nation’s longest surviving national daily newspaper, was born into poverty, but through sheer determination to succeed became a global sage and reference point to good governance by virtues of his enduring legacies in the defunct Western region he was privileged to lead in the first republic. He later became a civilian vice-chairman of a full-military Federal Executive Council.
Someone once asked James Corbett, the former heavy weight boxing champion, what it took him to be a heavyweight champion and he said “fight one more round.” As a student of History, my teacher, at CMS Grammar School, Lagos at Higher School Certificate (HSC) class, a Briton married to a Nigerian, taught me that the famous Russian war General, Blucher, was beaten in nine out of ten battles, but he refused to give up until he won the tenth, which turned out as the most important and decider battle!. For some preceding weeks now, keen watches of news would have noticed an interesting story trending about African Development Bank (AfDB). A brief background about AfDB here may be apposite: Nigeria is AfDB’s biggest shareholder followed by the United States of America (USA) other shareholders of AfDB include 54 nations on the continent and 27 countries in the Americas, Europe, Middle-East and Asia.
The bank has under its president, Nigerian-born Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, former Minister of Agriculture in the last regime of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, recorded phenomenal growths and accolades across the globe in all its parameters of operations since he took over the bank few years ago. In the bank’s recent achievements are an AAA rating from Fitch, Moody’s investors service and S & P Global Ratings. Apart from the above, leading African leaders, including South-African President, Cyril Ramaphosa and his Nigerian Counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari, had commended Dr. Adesina for his hard-work and efforts in uplifting Africa from her depth of squalor. However, some powerful blocks within the bank’s top echelon, inspired and led by the USA, are not happy and comfortable with Dr. Adesina’s rising profile, especially as he on his way to securing another term of five years as AfDB president, being the only candidate qualified for the bank’s election in August this year.
In order not only to frustrate Dr. Adesina from reaping the fruits of his labour but also to drag his name in the mud, as it is common with some elements within the bank, submitted a 16-point petition to the Chairman (U.S.A) Board of Governors. In a frivolous and unintelligent pack of allegations by a self-styled, nebulous and faceless “Group of Concerned Staff Members” in an e-mail of 9th January, 2020 to the Ethics Committee of AFDB’s Board of Directors alleged Dr. Adesina of corruption and “Nigerianisation” of the Bank. The Ethics Committee, in its wisdom, through its chairman, Mr. Takuji Yano, who is the institution’s Japan Executive Director, declared all the allegations as “spurious and unfounded.” What happened next were the scenes of bad blood, (in Nigerian parlance bad-belle) against Dr. Adesina, maybe because of the colour of his skin or his origin (being third world?) as the U.S Secretary, Department of Treasury, Mr. Steven Munuchin, faulted the grounds upon which the Ethics Committee exonerated Dr. Adesina from all the allegations!
In his biased/undisguised hatred for Africa as represented by the easy-going, Dr. Adesina, his traducer, Mr. Munuchin said, “It was not yet time to make such a declaration, until an independent outside investigator of high professional standing has undertaken an evaluation of the facts of the allegations.” Any unbiased observer would no doubt be at sea as to what further any, “independent outside investigator conducting its assignment based on the Bank’s Article 3 of Resolution No. B/BG/2008/11, which contained the AfDB’s whitsleblowing and complaints handling policy.” The article empowers the Ethics Committee to conduct a preliminary examination of a complaint or allegation received by it to determine whether it is based on apparently solid justifications with a view to submitting it to the chairperson of the Board of Governors. If the preliminary examination of the complaint or allegation reveals it was “frivolous or not based on any objective and solid facts, the Ethics Committee is empowered to dismiss it, which was what the committee did in the instant case. The Ethics Committee in its unbiased stance stated clearly that, it met the general counsel of the Bank, “not only to seek further clarification on its mandate but to also solicit the legal advice on the admissibility of the petition as filed”. The above painstaking steps were not the only efforts of the committee in its search for truth, it also held informal meetings and conducted point-by-point examinations to confirm their substantive validity.
Furthermore, in the committee’s continuous search for truth and in order not to punish the innocent for an offence he never committed, it invited the petitioners to request additional documentation to clarify their allegations. The shameless and faceless petitioners chickened out, opting to maintain the anonymity of its members or better still remain the fleeing-masquerades they are! Whereas, on the part of the accused gentleman, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, in confirmation of the age-long saying that “a clear conscience fears no allegations”, he promptly responded to all the beer-parlour allegations of his traducers, with water-tight supporting documents and legal references.
At this point, reason would have prevailed and the sleeping dog would have been allowed to lie and the loose-talkers made to apologize and heavily reprimanded for gross misconduct, insubordination and peddling falsehood.
But rather than taking this honourable way to end the persecution of Adesina, his accusers being emboldened by their hand of Esau in Jacob’s voice, called for another “independent outside investigation by Mr. Munuchin, thereby exposing themselves to an unparalleled ridicule.
While pondering on the persistent diversionary and unending investigations on the frivolous allegations against Dr. Adesina, I consulted a new wig, (Nigeria’s euphemism for a young lawyers) on a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Scheme on “Trite Law”. The young innocent-looking Advocate said “it is only applied in a hostile environment to inflict psychological torture on a perceived offender”
The questions begging for answers from the Donald Trump’s administration are: For how long would the Black Africans, bow and tremble before the white demagogues in White House? Has the Racists in America forgotten that Nigerians, nay Africans earned our independence on our feet and not on our bellies? Let this ring out loud and clear that, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, the thorough-bred academic, incorruptible, foresighted, technocrat, unassuming, honest, committed and God-fearing family man is beyond the bullying tactics of the USA. Does USA need to be reminded that her share in AfDB is 5% to Nigeria’s 9.7% shares?
Any further request to subject Dr. Adesina to another round of investigations to be headed by Mr. Munuchin’s puppets would be resisted firmly and decisively.
On the demand of any further investigation, let USA eat the humble pie and let Dr. Akinwumi Adesina do the work heaven has ordained him to do in AfDB, otherwise his accusers would be fighting God.
- Olatunde, is a journalist, public-speaker and media-consultant.
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