Reps seek African leaders, ECOWAS parliament intervention into AfDB crisis

The House of Representatives on Tuesday called for the prompt intervention of African leaders, ECOWAS Parliament and Pan African Parliament in the lingering African Development Bank (AfDB) crisis.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion of matter of urgent national importance sponsored by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu who decried ongoing ‘attempts to tarnish the image and hard-earned reputation of Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of African Development Bank on trumped-up allegations’.

Worried by the development, the House mandated the ECOWAS Parliament and Pan African Parliament to investigate the matter and resolve the crisis.

Similarly, the House urged the Federal Government to also call on all African leaders to intervene in the lingering crisis with the view to protect the Bank.

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In his lead debate, Hon. Elumelu called for the House intervention with the view to safeguarding the Bank which was established via an agreement signed by 23 African Governments at a conference convened by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Khartoum, Sudan in August of 1963.

“The House further notes that in 1964 the agreement came into force with a mission of fighting poverty and standard of living on the African continent as well as promoting the investment of public and private capital through the implementation of projects and programs that are likely to contribute to the economic and social development of the African Region.

“The House is aware that on the 8th of May 2015, a distinguished Nigeria and one-time minister of agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina was elected the presumptive president of the African development bank and is the first Nigeria to hold such office.

“The House is further aware that the AFDB under the leadership of Dr Adesina has been very remarkable in steering the organisation and its presence highly visible and impactful in less than five years of his headship.

“The House is concerned that recently a group of whistle-blowers petitioned Dr Adesina accusing him of 16 breaches of the Banks code of conduct, some of which includes private gains, impediments to efficiency, preferential treatment and involvement in political activities, which Dr Adesina has continued to deny.

“The House is further concerned that on an 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 16 allegations, the chairman board of governors being satisfied that the committee had done a thorough job having followed all known rules and procedures of the bank in handling such cases declared Adesina exonerated.

“The House is worried that though the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors followed the established law governing AfDB in arriving at their decision in absolving Dr Adesina of the allegations, the United States Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin in a letter to the chairperson of the bank, Niale Koba, rejected the verdict of the Committee and called for an independent investigation into the allegations against Dr Adesina, whose tenure is due for renewal given the fact that he is the only contender to the office.

“The House is also disturbed that this interference portends grave danger to the independence and laws governing the establishment of this organisation and if not addressed will be tantamount to undermining the hard-earned reputation of the bank.

“The House is troubled that this action may be an attempt to discredit Dr Adesina from seeking another term at the helm of Africa’s largest multilateral lender, former African leaders in their wisdom led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and signed by 11 other former African Head of States and endorsed by 4 former African Leaders issued a press statement showing the grave danger it portends to disregard the laws governing an institution such as the AfDB as well stating in clear terms that no nation no matter how powerful has veto power over the African Development Bank.

“The House is further troubled that if this sort of witch-hunt and unnecessary harassment is not put to check and discouraged, it may become a recurring decimal thereby destabilising the stability the bank has enjoyed for decades and the intended results on a steady decrease,” he warned.

Tribune Online reports that to this end, the House urged the Board of African Development Bank on the need to halt further harassment of its President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina over the trumped-up allegations.

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