NIGERIA has foreclosed any possibility of an ambush at the forthcoming elections of African Development Bank (AfDB) president due to take place this Thursday by almost doubled its voting rights.
In May this year, the US government had sought to get AfDB president, Nigeria’s Akinwunmi Adesina, removed. In a letter written to the bank’s board of directors, the US treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, openly rejected the decision of the bank’s ethics committee to clear Mr Adesina of all the allegations brought against him by some whistleblowers.
As a result, the AfDB board of directors asked an independent panel led by former Irish president Mary Robinson, to investigate Mr Adesina. AfDB is Africa’s largest multilateral development financial institution and the US is the bank’s second largest shareholder after Nigeria.
However, Nigeria threw its weight behind its former agriculture minister, seeing the US demand as a witch-hunt, with former president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo writing to 12 former African leaders, asking them to oppose the US plans. Earlier this month, the independent panel led by Mrs Robinson, said it was satisfied with the findings of a bank probe initiated after an unidentified whistle-blower accused Mr Adesina of handing contracts to acquaintances and appointing relatives to strategic positions.
Being the only candidate and having got the all-clear, Mr Adesina is certain to be re-elected for another four year term. He has now received a further boost after Nigeria increased its voting rights to 16.8% from 9.3% of the bank whose share capital is subscribed by 80 members, 54 of them being African.
In 2015, Mr Adesina was challenged for the job by Chadian finance minister Kordje Bedoumra and Cape Verde’s agriculture minister Cristina Duarte. However, he is not being challenged this year and it is unlikely his candidacy will be rejected as the next two biggest shareholders are Germany with 7.4% of the vote and the US with 5.5% of the vote.
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic on March, the AfDB issued a $3bn social bond to help African countries deal with the fallout from the pandemic and launched a $10bn crisis-response facility for African nations. Its shareholders include 54 African nations and 27 countries in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia.