The first message from the saga is to Nigeria. For a country which proclaims Africa as the centerpiece of her foreign policy and whose national, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has brought it so much glory by surviving whopping allegations of corruption, Nigeria’s screams of joy may only not echo and be echoed across the world because of the turbulence, bloodshed and incoherence at home. Otherwise, this is the Nigerian moment on a global scale. In the same manner that the country lost membership of the G20 because she is considered too unstable at home to be on the table of power for managing world affairs, so also is she still too unstable at home to benefit from the extraordinary victory of her nominee on a continental cum global assignment. When will the Nigerian leaders, (in academia, business, media, religion, military, politics, labour, etc) produce more elevated ideas of nationhood as to overcome this endless internal incoherence and the costly global consequences of that? Or, is that also idealism?
The promise of the African Development Bank, (AfDB) as a key actor in determining the conditions for accumulation in Africa is suffering from one reality circumscribing it. That reality is this: external shareholders can influence the governance of the AfDB because of its highly dispersed share distribution in which 40% of the shares are controlled by foreign governments.
The third message and the second specifically to Nigeria is the limited nature of her influence on the governance of the bank. Despite being the largest shareholder, it controls less than 10% of the shares.
As great as the global reputation of Mary Robinson is, the appointment of the independent panel in which one of the members is a Westerner and a second represents a Western-dominated multilateral institution is a blow to Africa’s quest for autonomy in dealing with its problems. It raises the question of why “African solutions for African problems’ is selectively applied.
The AfDB has its own share of the messages and it comes in how the report allows the bank to redeem its credibility within the Western credit system where it raises most of its funds. So the bank will continue to operate as an extension of the Western financial system.
Then the message for the whistleblowers and whistle blowing as far as the crisis the sage has brought about to be managed. Whistleblowers have to remain anonymous so that they can blow the whistle. But their allegations would not be consumed without interrogation because allegations could turn out to be frivolous, based on rumour or not backed by evidence. To regain the mystique that whistleblowing had acquired, whistleblowers must be those who cannot hide or be allowed to hide under whistleblowing to fight wars that are not noble. When such lack of nobility is unpacked and exposed as the Mary Robinson Panel has done in this case, it creates problem for whistleblowing as an instrument against misuse of power/abuse of public office for private gains
As Dr. Adesina relishes his victory over his antagonists so also might he reflect on what if the outcome were otherwise. Having made references to some of Africa’s most high minded heroes, could he engage in reflexivity that takes not just the AfDB higher in international political economy but the entire continent too. The ‘African condition’ must be worrisome to everyone but more so those who run a place such as the AfDB.