WE congratulate Nigeria’s Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina for his re-election as President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, by the Bank’s Board of Directors with the full support of other stakeholders on August 24, 2020.
It is a deserved victory because in politics, it is said that one good term deserves another. Adesina’s successful implementation of his High 5 Agenda (Light up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa) powered him through a very tempestuous re-election bid.
A strategic stakeholder of the Bank, the United States of America, had latched on to an internal whistleblower’s allegations of corruption against Adesina to call for his probe. An investigation and exoneration of him of all charges by the ethics panel of the Board of Directors was not enough to mollify America. President Donald Trump insisted on an independent probe which also later comprehensively cleared Adesina.
The entire African continent had come out fully in Adesina’s support knowing that the allegations lacked substance. Even former President Olusegun Obasanjo rallied other former African leaders behind him.
Adesina’s integrity triumph was not just a personal victory, it was victory for Nigeria’s international image which needs all the burnishing it can get. We are particularly proud of him because Adesina served as a successful Minister of Agriculture under the Goodluck Jonathan regime. That regime also endorsed his candidacy which the Muhammadu Buhari government has continued to uphold because we know the quality of the candidate we are pushing.
Happily, Adesina made not just Nigeria but also the entire Africa proud in his first five years. His High 5 Agenda increased the capital base of the AfDB by $113bn (up from $93bn to $203bn), gave 18 million Africans access to electricity and benefited 141 million farmers with improved technology. Also, 15 million business people had access to funds, 101 million received assistance in the transportation sector while 60 million more people were given access to better water and sanitation.
Adesina’s AfDB has also invested $10bn in Africa’s efforts to grapple with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Bank, in the past five years, has been more relevant to the people of Africa than it has ever been since it was founded on September 10, 1964.
We hope that the Bank will continue to provide the necessary catalysis for the social, economic, food security, infrastructural, environmental and educational uplift of all Africans in the next five years.
This is more so because of the toll the pandemic will wreak on the economies of African countries, leaving most of them seeking desperately for financial succour.
Adesina should also take greater care in all his undertakings knowing that the whistleblowers remain ever vigilant.