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Buhari’s Asset Declaration: A Promise Fulfilled

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Buhari and Osibanjo assetsSeven months ago, General Muhammadu Buhari, released a document titled, ‘My 100 Days Covenant With Nigerians’. Under the heading, ‘Corruption and

Governance’, the then APC Presidential Candidate stated:

“I pledge to:  Publicly declare my assets and liabilities.  Encourage all my appointees to publicly declare their assets and liabilities as a pre-condition for appointment. All political appointees will only earn the salaries and allowances determined by the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC).”

Top image credit: VANGUARD

Yesterday, Buhari fulfilled that pledge.

According to a statement signed by the senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, prior to being sworn in on May 29, President Buhari had less than N30 million to his name. He also had only one bank account, with the Union Bank. President Buhari had no foreign account, no factory and no enterprises. He also had no registered company and no oil wells.

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) who had been a successful lawyer before his foray into politics declared a bank balance of about N94 million and 900,000 United States Dollars in his bank accounts.

According a statement by the President’s Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President has about N30m in his only one bank account with Union Bank Plc, while the Vice President has a balance of N94m, $900,000 and 19,000 pounds. [N235m]

I will give kudos to Buhari and Osibano for  finally keeping their promise…..they [unlike Goodluck Jonathan] DO give a damn!

Many Nigerians like me were aghast when the Presidency insisted three days ago that President Muhammadu Buhari did not promise Nigerians that he would achieve specific things within his first 100 days in office.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, stated on Tuesday while responding to questions about reports on documents titled, “One Hundred Things Buhari Will Do in 100 Days” and “My Covenant with Nigerians,” that the documents did not emanate from the official channel of Buhari’s campaign media department.

Nigerians citizens including myself severely berated the Presidency and the All Progressives Congress for denying those specific promises made during electioneering as to envisaged achievements in the first 100 days in office including the public declaration of assets.

Well, better late than never. We hope the leadership have learnt their lessons:

Firstly, a promise is a debt, and a leader must be a person of his word. Once a leader loses the trust of those he is leading he ceases to lead and his party, squanders their goodwill.

Secondly, it is the duty of we the people, the citizens, to insist that our leaders keep their promises. Therefore I will also say KUDOS to Nigerians for rising up as one in outrage against that tendency to deny a promise made in full daylight, in public glare.

LET US RECALL:

On June 29, 2007 former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua made public “photocopies of his duly and honestly completed assets declaration form.”

That gesture was the first by any of Nigeria’s helmsmen since independence in 1960. According to the details released to journalists Yar’Adua had a total assets value of N856, 452,892. These include a total of N19 million owned by the First Lady, Turai.   His total liabilities being outstanding loans secured with the Unity Bank Plc, Imani Estate branch, Maitama,Abuja, is put at N88,793,269.77.

Jonathan and Yar'adua

Despite that precedent, Goodluck Jonathan when he became President condemned the mounting calls on public office holders to publicly declare their assets while in office, saying such clamour by Nigerians is not right.

He made it clear his own principle disagree vehemently with allowing the people he governs know how much he is worth and what he really owns.

Mr. Jonathan said when the matter camme up during his time as Vice President to late President Musa Yar’adua he made it very clear that it was not a right decision to take.

Asked why he has refused to publicly declare his assets as an example for members of his cabinet, the President said, “The issue of public asset declaration is a matter of personal principle. That is the way I see it, and I don’t give a damn about it, even if you criticise me from heaven. When I was the Vice President , that matter came up, and I told the former President (late Musa Yar’adua) let’s not start something that would make us play into the hands of  people and create an anomalous situation in the country.

“The law is clear. A public officer should declare his assets, and if there are issues, then the relevant agencies would have a basis to assess whether you have amassed wealth or not. When it is said that people should declare their assets in public, it is not only the President or the vice President, it includes everybody, incluidng Ministers.

Mr. Jonathan continued, “Initially I said they can talk about it from morning to night, I will not. I said it is a matter of principle. It is not proper. If one amends the law to say that only the President and the Vice should declare assets publicly, fine. But, presently everybody who is holding political office is expected to do, and  I say it is not right. Those who made the law knew why they put the law that way. I could be investigated when I leave office.

“You don’t need to declare assets publicly, otherwise you are playing to the gallery.You don’t need to publicly declare assets. That’s a matter of principle. If I have to declare publicly, it means every polictical office holder will have to declare publicly. And it is not the right thing to do. That is my believe.

elsdaniel@yahoo.com


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