By Emeka Anaeto, Business Editor
Some close associates of the President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, Nigeria’s Akinwunmi Adesina, have indicated that he may have stepped on some sensitive toes with some reform measures he executed in the bank in the current tenure.
Adesina has been under attack by some non-African shareholders and some executive members of the organisation over alleged infractions which they cited as reasons why he should not be re-elected for a second term.
But speaking in a webinar on Wednesday, Ada Osakwe who worked in AfDB and also worked with Adesina when he was Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture, said she knew the opposition to his re-election would come given the various changes he was pushing to reposition the bank, which according to her, may not have gone down well with some interest groups.
She cited the issue of recapitalization of the bank which Adesina executed, a development which literally freed the bank from the stranglehold of some non-African stakeholders.
She stated: “He has displayed purposeful leadership and stewardship at the bank and should not be distracted. He led one of the impactful tenure at the AfDB.”
Another associate, Mr Kola Masha, who also worked with Adesina at the agric ministry noted that he was passionate about assembling talents towards achieving desired change and goals, adding that such dispositions had created cliques against change.
He stated: “What is always important to him is the caliber of individuals he works with. He doesn’t care where you come from, but most importantly, he is committed to having talented individuals work with him to add value.
“In any situation, when you are trying to change the status quo, there would always be elements that would resist that.”
Some of the allegations against Adesina for which a second wave of investigations have been launched against his re-election was that he brought some people into AfDB without due process while others were forced to exit.
Alluding to the integrity of Adesina contrary to the allegations, Mr Temitope Aroge, Managing Director of Arog Bio Allied Services Limited, one of the early beneficiaries of the Youth in Employment Agric Program (YEAP), created by Adesina at the ministry of Agric, said he was chosen for the YEEP of the federal government without even knowing Adesina or anybody in the ministry.
According to him, “Adesina has also gone to the AfDB to escalate this model and for about four years now there have been programmes all over Africa for young people whereby entrepreneurs across the continent, from Tunisia, South Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana, are brought together yearly, given recognition, inspired and also mobilized.
“Other multilateral agencies and private sector organisations now picking interest in entrepreneurs in Africa, which is unprecedented.”
Also speaking, Adesina’s school mate, Mr. Tunji Olugbodi, who is the Managing Director, Verdant Zeal Limited, an integrated media and marketing company, said Adesina had carried the integrity for which he was known in school into public service.
According to him, with what Adesina is doing at the AfDB, a second colonization of Africa by non-African interests should not be allowed to happen.