Buhari backs Adesina’s re-election … despite US demands for independent probe into whistleblower allegations


The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has registered his support for head of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr. Akinwumi Adesina for his re-election, despite a US call for him to face a fresh ethics probe.

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, a former Nigerian minister for Agriculture, is battling to secure a second term as president of the Africa Development Bank, AfDB, in the face of opposition from Washington. The US is pushing for an outside investigation into whistleblower complaints including personal enrichment and favouritism, after Adesina was exonerated by an internal inquiry.

The Nigerian presidency said Buhari told Adesina at their meeting in Abuja that the country “will stand solidly behind him” in his bid to remain at the helm of the bank. “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, built on the record of his achievements,” a statement said.

Adesina is the first Nigerian to be in charge of the 56-year old AfDB, one of the world’s five largest multilateral development banks. He is the only candidate in an election that was set for late May but has been postponed until August because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nigeria, whose stake makes it the bank’s biggest shareholder, has made little secret of its support for Adesina. The bank chief repeated to Buhari his insistence that allegations against him were trumped-up and the US call for a new probe is against the bank’s rule. The 60-year-old is known for his bow-ties and flamboyant manner, but also for a managerial style that critics say is authoritarian.

In October 2019, the AfDB raised US$115billion (€105 billion) in fresh capital, an operation deemed a personal success for Adesina. It is the only African institution that has a triple A rating from credit rating agencies. The bank has 80 state shareholders – 54 of which are African while others are from the Americas, Asia and Europe.

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