‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja
Daily Courier – The tenure of Mr Akinwunmi Adesina as president of the African Development Bank is on the line, following his significant interest in the Nigerian presidential race and the subsequent purchase and submission of the presidential nomination form of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by three groups identified as Northern Coalition, Coalition of Farmers and a youth forum.
Adesina had last week publicly rejected the presidential nomination form purportedly bought by these groups, saying that he was fully engaged and committed to his work at the regional bank.
However, Daily Courier gathered that his interest in the Nigerian presidency sent shock waves amongst some stakeholders and members of the institution’s board and this has ignited a move to determine his continued tenure as the AfBD president.
Media reports that Adesina’s name is on the final list of 28 presidential candidates being screened by the APC National Working Committee has eliminated speculations surrounding his being actively interested in the No. 1 citizen’s job in his country, as it is now clear that the AfBD president, indeed, submitted his nomination form.
The Board of the regional bank is shocked that Adesina is actively seeking the Nigerian presidency while still actively serving as its president.
Section 10 of the Code of Conduct for Executive Directors of the African Development Bank and the African Development Fund sub-titled ‘Partisan Political Activities’ prohibits serving executive directors of the Bank from participating in active politics in their home countries or elsewhere. The document stated: “PARTISAN POLITICAL ACTIVITIES: (i) Although Executive Directors are elected representatives of governments from their constituencies, they shall during their tenure of office as Executive Directors refrain from participating in active politics in their home countries or elsewhere. Such activities are not only inconsistent with Executive Directors’ duty to devote their full time and attention to the Bank, but may also embarrass or result in inappropriate publicity for the Bank as an international financial institution, insulated from the internal politics of member countries.
(ii) This prohibition is without prejudice to an Executive Director’s civic rights and responsibilities in his/her home country.
(iii) An Executive Director who accepts or assumes public office in any country shall resign as Executive Director.”
Those familiar with the matter said that Adesina’s tenure as AfDB president is clearly threatened going by Section 10 of the Bank’s Code of Conduct.
“If the rule says that an Executive Director who accepts or assumes public office in any country should resign as Executive Director , it is clear that Adesina has violated the rules because there is no way the APC screening committee will have his name if he did not submit his form which indicates expression of interest”, a source said.
The Board meeting will determine whether the Nigerian-born AfDB president will retain his position or not. “Adesina committed a serious transgression because Sections 10 and 12 of the Bank’s Code of Conduct are clear on how to conduct himself”, the source said.
Section 12 of the Bank’s Code of Conduct states:
“CONFLICT OF INTEREST (i) Executive Directors must avoid any situation that poses a conflict, or the appearance of a conflict, between their personal interests and the performance of their official duties. They shall avoid any action, which might result in or create the appearance of:
(a) using their position as Executive Director for private gain;
(b) giving unwarranted preferential treatment to any organisation or person;
(c) impeding the efficiency of the Bank;
(d) losing complete independence or impartiality of action; or
(e) affecting adversely the confidence of member countries or the public in the integrity of the Bank.”
While Mr Adesina had publicly rejected the form bought and submitted on his behalf and payment of the mandatory N100 million, it is not clear how he will wriggle out of the political quagmire when the ruling party has officially confirmed Adesina’s name as among the presidential aspirants to be screened from Tuesday, May 24.