By Robby Akeju –

President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has defended his integrity on the allegation of breach of protocol and overzealousness of his security aides during the final burial rites of the mother of Chairman of Channels Television, Mr. John Momoh.

He described the allegation as “absolutely not true and really absurd. There was nothing like this at all. Someone must be upset about something. Anyone who knows me will know I go around my business quietly.

“This is nothing but mudslinging. I was Minister for four years and never did anyone, once, ever complained. I queued even at airports as a Minister and my staff knew my number one principle: treat people with humility and respect.”

Also, International broadcaster, respected journalist and world-acclaimed policy maker, Victor Oladokun, who was with Adesina at the event, declared that it was unfortunate that anybody would try to malign an easy-going person like Adesina.

He said what happened at the event was a complete opposite of what some people try to portray in the social media.

He said: “Some big shot had parked his stretch Rolls Royce in a way that blocked Adesina’s car and many others from exiting their parking spots. If his security detail was as high handed as the writer makes out, it could have been a different story. Akin never said one word. He waited for minutes till the situation was resolved”.

One of the critics had written on the social media:

I witnessed the most absurd breach of Protocol and Order of Precedence by this Adesina guy on Sunday at John Momoh’s final burial rites for his late Mother. I left the function at about some few minutes to five. As I was waiting for my driver to bring my car, the diplomatic numbered SUV of Adesina arrived with the paraphernalia of large number of security details and another escort vehicle, intimidating everybody as they moved to the entrance of the event.

“To my utter dismay and disgust, when they got to the venue, Adesina sat in the car surrounded by the security details blocking everybody that wanted to move until John Momoh came out to usher him into the venue of the event. This man is just the President of the African Development Bank. He is not a serving head of state. He is not the Secretary General of the African Union. He has no diplomatic status equivalent to that of a sitting head of government.

“This is also the man, if we are to believe the social media noise, that he is a potential presidential candidate in 2023. Why do we continue to get our priorities totally wrong in this country? Can we really mature to the real level of a serious nation state at this rate? The Police Force now perform escort duties to business men and women in direct violation of their core mandate. Do we really think in this country?”

But Oladokun declared: “I honestly wish I knew the identity of who it was who posted the comments on Akin Adesina. That’s his perception. However, it is far removed from what happened”.

Oladokun elaborated on security arrangements for Adesina during official and private visits.

“Security is mandatory for Akin Adesina. It is a requirement of the bank in every African country he visits. This and the diplomatic privileges he enjoys has been accorded his predecessors for ages.

“His security detail in Abidjan and when he travels tends to consist of two other vehicles and his. He is not allowed by Bank regulations to go anywhere without his security detail. It is not a choice. It is a bank required protocol.

“I was in the vehicle with him. We were coming in from Iwo where he had gone  to give a lecture. After a six-hour journey on mainly the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, we arrived the venue which was packed to the brim. As is the case, his security detail went in to find out if there was space for himself and the few of us who were with him. Somehow, word got to John who graciously throughout the day would either meet some guests at the door or see them off to the door.

“Actually, when we were leaving, I said to him ‘do you want to let John know you are on the way?’ He said, “No, don’t let me bother him. I’m sure he’s busy with other guests’

“We then headed toward the door. John literally came from ‘nowhere’ to embrace and thank Akin. After which we then took a group photograph at the door to the Event Centre with other guests. Immediately after, we left, again with the security detail, for two other late evening events.

“Last week, shareholders of the Bank raised our share capital from $93 billion to $208 billion, the largest increase in the Bank’s 55-year history and a testimony to his leadership and reforms.

“Security wise, to not have the minimum security presence required is a serious institutional risk, especially in the event of any unfortunate incident.

“Truth is, Akin hardly goes out and rarely attends public events such as we did last week. He is not energised by that and pretty much keeps a very low profile. He was brow beaten and berated as a Minister in Government. Its amusing to see this person make a different kind of allegation.

“Talking about blocking traffic, when we got set to leave this packed venue, for a while we could not. Why? Some big shot had parked his stretch Rolls Royce in a way that blocked Akin’s car and many others from exiting their parking spots. If his security detail was as high handed as the writer makes out, it could have been a different story. Akin never said one word. He waited for minutes till the situation was resolved.

“Not knowing who the writer of the piece is, or what angst he may have against Akin, all I can say is that I was there and witnessed what happened myself. It has no bearing whatsoever with the description provided by the writer.

“That was it. Nothing more. Nothing less”.

On 2023 presidency, Oladokun declared: “Akin never for once told anyone or share thought of running for President of Nigeria in 2023. After all, he will get another five years second term as President of AfDB by March 2020 expiring 2025. So, the conspiracy theory by the mischievous person, is out of reality on the ground”.