BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Nigeria never tagged AfDB’s most difficult client – Oyeyinka

Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, a professor and senior special adviser to the African Development Bank‘s president has debunked media allegations recognizing Nigeria as the most difficult client of Africa’s biggest multilateral lender.

In a statement, Oyeyinka, former UN-Habitat lead, pointed to a fact of a defect in the media reporting.

In response, Oyeyinka says he had delivered a lecture themed ‘The Real Sources of Africa’s Economic Challenges’, in which he highlighted the need for the continent’s ruling class to invest in productivity and value-adding while supporting knowledge-based institutions to ensure the localization of global know-how in Africa.

He further counseled that Africa needs to strengthen its institutions while accelerating the transition from resource dependence to knowledge-driven economies.

He noted that there was no point during the lecture when he alluded to Nigeria as AfDB’s most difficult client.

In line with Oyeyinka’s statement, Danjuma Adejo, chief executive officer of ODEJAD Agro Company, who also attended the lecture virtually, notes that during the question and answer session, a question was posed as to “how much AfDB was doing for Nigeria and the speaker indicated that the bank was doing a lot and will continue to do so.”

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According to Adejo, at no point did the speaker allude to Nigeria being the most difficult client of the multilateral lender. “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.

Similarly, Willie Siyanbola, a professor at the Centre for Energy Research & Development (CERD), Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and one of the organizers of the event, said: “the baffling part was that the true substance of Oyelaran-Oyeyinka’s excellent and data-rich paper was never reported.”

Siyanbola expressed disappointment with the transposition of the message of the presentation, stating that it was quite unfortunate.

“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 kickstarting the program, it is now fully on the course,” he further pointed out.

The Nigerian government recently approved the commencement of the SAPZ Program, as well as the budget support to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for emergency food production as part of efforts to stave off the current inflationary trend resulting in the high cost of food – which particularly affects poor households in the country.