By Lubem Gena
A former World Bank Treasurer, Mrs. Arunma Oteh has called for a halt in the peddling of what she described as ‘frivolous allegations’ against the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) one into bat for her former colleague, Dr. Akunwumi Adesina.
In an interview with CNBC Africa Regional office in Lagos monitored by our correspondent, she described Dr. Adesina as a committed leader who operates with high level of integrity.
She maintained that most of allegations of favouritism in terms of employments, placements and promotion does not appear genuine to her since the bank’s internal control mechanisms makes such activities almost impossible.
“The African Development Bank has always had rigor, continues to improve its governance practices, a board, the leadership of the institution, the various organs, the independent mechanisms within the organization, the internal auditor, the inspection mechanisms that report directly to the board. So these institutions are rigorous in terms of cooperative governance.
“I was the head of the Capital Market Regulator in Nigeria so issues of cooperative governance, understanding where private sector institutions stand. The quality of governance of these institutions are extremely world class and particularly the African Development Bank.
“So my appeal really is that we dispense of this issue. That we stop this culture of frivolous allegations around the times of elections. And allow the African Development Bank to support the African continent at this important time”, she stated.
On the numerous landmark achievements by the President, she emphasised that, much have been achieved by Dr. Adesina who Oteh said deserves no character assassination.
“…And today I know that there are 81 shareholders. Last year, in that collaborative and cooperative nature there was a replenishment of the fund, there was a capital increase. And I think this is a show of confidence not just by African countries but also by the non-African country shareholders of the excellent work that Dr Adesina and his team have undertaken in the last 5 years.
“I, of course have looked on with interest and their many, many achievements. Transforming the power sector, revolutionizing agriculture, but importantly putting youth and women at the centre of development. I’ve been struck also by some of the very important initiatives that catalyze resources by the private sector that bring partnerships between the public sector and the private sector. Initiative like the African Investment Forum, which in a short term has catalyzed a lot of resources for the African Development Bank and for Africa’s development more so.
“But it’s also focused on trying to make sure that those issues that prevent the acceleration of Africa’s development at tackled that government, private sector and the honest brokers, development banks like the African Development Bank, like the Europe Investment Bank, like IBRD, the Development Finance Cooperation of the United States that they all at the table trying to make sure that the environment that support Africa’s development is taken account of.
“I’ve also been struck that this has not distracted Dr Adesina and his leadership team because I’ve seen what they have done in respect to responding and supporting African countries in response to the Covid-19 crises. And I do think that this is extremely important given the difficult times that we face.
“Permit me to also use this opportunity given to appeal to shareholders and particularly to the Ministers of finance who comprises, who gather the most senior decision-making body of the African Development Bank, the board of governance to speedily bring closure to this issue so that Dr Adesina and his team continue to do the great work that they’ve been doing in supporting African countries at this critical time. I mean these are unprecedented times in terms of the Covid-19. Dr Adesina is someone of the highest integrity. His track record over his 35year career shows that”.