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Adesina’s date with history

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adesina’s-date-with-history

Lawal Ogienagbon

 

LEFT to the United States (US), Akinwumi Adesina would not be returning in a few days as president of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) which he has piloted in the past five years. As AfDB chief since 2015, Adesina,  who was Minister of Agriculture under President Goodluck Jonathan,  has run the multilateral agency in a classical manner. Some world leaders, seasoned industrialists and bankers have all attested to this fact and hailed his country of origin for nominating him to head the bank.

His brilliance stands him out anywhere, but what he has going for him is his humaneness and soft spot for the underprivileged. In his days as minister, farmers in the rural areas benefited from what was tagged the wallet revolution under which their accounts were credited in a fertiliser scheme. The scheme was devised to ensure that fertiliser got to the farmers. Under it, middlemen, who abound in the fraud which fertiliser distribution has come to be known for in the country, were cut off the chain.

Till today,  the peasant farmers remember him with nostalgia. So, when he was going to AfDB, their prayers were with him. Adesina was not going into an unfamiliar terrain since he has always been in one multilateral agency or the other all his life. But he never bargained for what came his way early in the year as his first five-year tenure was about to end. Some anonymous petitioners, who styled themselves as whistle-blowers, submitted a complaint against him. But, when they were put to the strictest test of proving their allegations against him, they failed.

In law, he who alleges must prove. It is not the duty of the respondent to prove his own guilt as he is deemed innocent until otherwise shown. Even at that, Adesina did something uncommon. He submitted a 200-page document detailing his innocence. In his defence, he responded to each and every allegation of the shadowy group. If a man could come out so boldly to meet his challengers, then such a person must be full of courage. Adesina displayed rare courage in the face of threat to his job. He showed that he was more interested in clearing his name than his job.

Remember the saying, a good name is better than gold? Adesina fought his accusers with his all because he did not want the good name bequeathed to him by his father to be soiled by  people who lacked the courage of their conviction. If his accusers were sure of themselves,  they would have come out in the open to meet him face to face and prove their allegations. They chickened out when it mattered most to appear before the AfDB Ethics Committee to sort things out. Without hesitation,  the committee threw out the allegations and acquitted Adesina. It was then the almighty US, the self styled global cop, waded into the fray. Why will the US poke its nose into a matter that has been settled,  according to the bank’s rules? many wondered.

Only the US can answer that poser. It demanded the reopening of the case and it was obliged because after all, it is the US and only a big person, according to a local proverb, does something big. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchi demanded an independent probe after rejecting the ethics panel’s report which cleared Adesina. The independent  panel comprised people of integrity. Led by former Ireland president Mary Robinson, the panel acquitted Adesina, holding that it “concurs with the ethics committee in its findings in respect of all the allegations against the president and finds that they were properly considered and dismissed by the committee”.

“We have considered the president’s submissions on their face and find them consistent with his innocence and to be persuasive. At the same time, it appears to us to be an undue burden to expect a holder of high office in an international organisation,  to prove a negative, in the absence of sufficient grounds. An attorney writing on behalf of the president also argues quite correctly…that a distinction should be drawn between alleged institutional failure at the bank and the conduct of the president”, declared the panel, which had Chief Justice Hassan Jallow of The Gambia and Leonard McCarthy, former head of special operations of South Africa,  as members.

The US wanted what the panel ruled against – that Adesina should indict himself when there is no evidence to that effect. Having been cleared now,  even by the panel in which it has so much faith, will the US allow Adesina to return to office and continue his good job at AfDB? The US may be the second highest shareholder in the bank after Nigeria,  which holds the highest shares, that does not give it the power to unduly interfere in the running of the organisation. The problems in AfDB predate the coming of Adesina as its president.  Therefore, as the Robinson panel said,   people and countries like the US should learn to draw a line between what are institutional issues and the style of the person that heads the organisation.

The panel made itself clear: Adesina has no case to answer, laying the matter to rest forever and ever.  The report has cleared the way for Adesina to return  to office three weeks from today,  some three months after he should have done so. What will be will be. Nobody,  no matter how powerful,  can stop what is ordained. Adesina’s return as AfDB president was only delayed,  it was not denied. This is his finest hour and by his conduct,  he has burnished Nigeria’s image. To the cynical world, looking for something to tar Nigeria and its foremost ambassador at AfDB, you have a long wait ahead of you.

EFT to the United States (US), Akinwumi Adesina would not be returning in a few days as president of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) which he has piloted in the past five years. As AfDB chief since 2015, Adesina,  who was Minister of Agriculture under President Goodluck Jonathan,  has run the multilateral agency in a classical manner. Some world leaders, seasoned industrialists and bankers have all attested to this fact and hailed his country of origin for nominating him to head the bank.

His brilliance stands him out anywhere, but what he has going for him is his humaneness and soft spot for the underprivileged. In his days as minister, farmers in the rural areas benefited from what was tagged the wallet revolution under which their accounts were credited in a fertiliser scheme. The scheme was devised to ensure that fertiliser got to the farmers. Under it, middlemen, who abound in the fraud which fertiliser distribution has come to be known for in the country, were cut off the chain.

Till today,  the peasant farmers remember him with nostalgia. So, when he was going to AfDB, their prayers were with him. Adesina was not going into an unfamiliar terrain since he has always been in one multilateral agency or the other all his life. But he never bargained for what came his way early in the year as his first five-year tenure was about to end. Some anonymous petitioners, who styled themselves as whistle-blowers, submitted a complaint against him. But, when they were put to the strictest test of proving their allegations against him, they failed.

In law, he who alleges must prove. It is not the duty of the respondent to prove his own guilt as he is deemed innocent until otherwise shown. Even at that, Adesina did something uncommon. He submitted a 200-page document detailing his innocence. In his defence, he responded to each and every allegation of the shadowy group. If a man could come out so boldly to meet his challengers, then such a person must be full of courage. Adesina displayed rare courage in the face of threat to his job. He showed that he was more interested in clearing his name than his job.

Remember the saying, a good name is better than gold? Adesina fought his accusers with his all because he did not want the good name bequeathed to him by his father to be soiled by  people who lacked the courage of their conviction. If his accusers were sure of themselves,  they would have come out in the open to meet him face to face and prove their allegations. They chickened out when it mattered most to appear before the AfDB Ethics Committee to sort things out. Without hesitation,  the committee threw out the allegations and acquitted Adesina. It was then the almighty US, the self styled global cop, waded into the fray. Why will the US poke its nose into a matter that has been settled,  according to the bank’s rules? many wondered.

Only the US can answer that poser. It demanded the reopening of the case and it was obliged because after all, it is the US and only a big person, according to a local proverb, does something big. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchi demanded an independent probe after rejecting the ethics panel’s report which cleared Adesina. The independent  panel comprised people of integrity. Led by former Ireland president Mary Robinson, the panel acquitted Adesina, holding that it “concurs with the ethics committee in its findings in respect of all the allegations against the president and finds that they were properly considered and dismissed by the committee”.

“We have considered the president’s submissions on their face and find them consistent with his innocence and to be persuasive. At the same time, it appears to us to be an undue burden to expect a holder of high office in an international organisation,  to prove a negative, in the absence of sufficient grounds. An attorney writing on behalf of the president also argues quite correctly…that a distinction should be drawn between alleged institutional failure at the bank and the conduct of the president”, declared the panel, which had Chief Justice Hassan Jallow of The Gambia and Leonard McCarthy, former head of special operations of South Africa,  as members.

The US wanted what the panel ruled against – that Adesina should indict himself when there is no evidence to that effect. Having been cleared now,  even by the panel in which it has so much faith, will the US allow Adesina to return to office and continue his good job at AfDB? The US may be the second highest shareholder in the bank after Nigeria,  which holds the highest shares, that does not give it the power to unduly interfere in the running of the organisation. The problems in AfDB predate the coming of Adesina as its president.  Therefore, as the Robinson panel said,   people and countries like the US should learn to draw a line between what are institutional issues and the style of the person that heads the organisation.

The panel made itself clear: Adesina has no case to answer, laying the matter to rest forever and ever.  The report has cleared the way for Adesina to return  to office three weeks from today,  some three months after he should have done so. What will be will be. Nobody,  no matter how powerful,  can stop what is ordained. Adesina’s return as AfDB president was only delayed,  it was not denied. This is his finest hour and by his conduct,  he has burnished Nigeria’s image. To the cynical world, looking for something to tar Nigeria and its foremost ambassador at AfDB, you have a long wait ahead of you.

 

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