The Senior Special Adviser to the African Development Bank (AfDB)’s President, Prof. Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, yesterday distanced himself from a report that described Nigeria as the institution’s “most difficult client”.
In a reaction to the report ascribed to him, Oyelaran-Oyeyinka said he never made such remarks in his keynote address at the Third Biennial African Scientific Integration Network Conference hosted by the Centre for Energy Research and Development, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State.
The former United Nations (UN) Habitat Lead pointed a defect in the report, saying he had delivered an hour long lecture, titled: The Real Sources of Africa’s Economic Challenges, in which he highlighted the need for leaders in the continent to invest in productivity and value-adding.
In the presentation, Oyelaran-Oyeyinka further counseled that Africa needs to strengthen her institutions while accelerating the transition from resource dependence to knowledge driven economies.
His clarification was also corroborated by the Chief Executive Officer of ODEJAD Agro Company, Danjuma Adejo.
“How much the African Development Bank was doing for Nigeria and the speaker indicated that the bank was doing a lot and will continue to do so,” he said during the question and answer session.
According to Adejo, at no point did the speaker allude to Nigeria being the most difficult client of the Bank.
“I don’t know how the journalist got that line of reasoning but I can tell you that the speaker never said so”, Adejo added.
Willie Siyanbola, a professor at The Centre for Energy Research & Development (CERD), OAU Ile-Ife, one of the organisers of the event, said: “The baffling part was that the true substance of Prof Oyelaran-Oyeyinka’s excellent and data-rich paper was never reported.”
Siyanbola expressed disappointment with the transposition of the message of the presentation.
“The SAPZ was mentioned as an example of one of the key ways in which Nigeria is benefiting from the bank and that despite some understandable delays in kick-starting the programme, it is now fully on course,” the OAU Professor added.