The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership,
In a release issued by CACOL’s Coordinator for Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, on behalf of the Executive Chairman of the Centre, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “We observed with keen interest the fulfilment of one of his campaign promises made to the electorate during his campaign for the gubernatorial seat in Oyo state, by Seyi Makinde, whereby he insisted he would make all his assets, liquid and fixed, public on his assumption of office. This electoral vow was finally fulfilled yesterday after he had completed the usual requirements in that regard with the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) assets declaration form, marked OYSE/2019/001 containing details of cash at hand, in the bank, landed properties (developed and undeveloped), household items, share and bonds owned by the governor and his wife, Omini Makinde, as well as his companies with the name Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde at the High Court of Oyo State, on May 28, 2019. All of these were totalled to be worth a sum N48bn (Forty-Eight Billion Naira) only within the same period under consideration.
“Whereas the legal framework establishing the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) as it relates to declaration of assets by public office holders in Nigeria did not make explicit and express provisions for compulsory public declaration of assets mandatory for those government officials, Paragraph 3(c) of the third schedule, Part 1 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), provides that the CCB shall make assets declarations of public officers available for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria only on such terms and conditions prescribed by the National Assembly. In practice however and as noted by political watchers in the country, the CCB has not taken the verification of assets seriously for early detection of foul play. This has led to speculations that there is apparent lack of skilled personnel in the operations that are specific to the mandate of CCB in verifying and asserting the claims of politicians in their assets declaration forms that are oftentimes, shielded from the public glare from which power actually flows. The situation has not only compounded the practice of open leadership and accountability to the people, but it has also further impaired the fight against grand corruption by our officeholders.
“Appraising the trend so far, clearly shows a possibility of what many refer to as, ‘Anticipated Assets Declaration’ whereby an officeholder speculates on what he/she is likely to have accumulated within the period of his tenure and factor all this into padding his entire declarations beforehand, while some deliberately under-declare their assets since, in most cases, they are unable to explain how they came about same assets if properly declared, either because they have held public offices in the past or have lent themselves as conduits for pilfering of such public assets by proxy. In introspection, President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua became the first elected President in Nigeria (since independence in 1960) to publicly declare his assets to the tune of a few billions of Naira in fixed and liquid forms when he publicly made known his assets declaration form on June 28, 2007. Since then, many public officials have followed suit, thus putting pressure on those who have refused to toe this line that is apparently an ingredient of fostering honesty and probity in public administration with a view to engendering accountability.”
The CACOL boss added, “While it may not be constitutionally or statutorily compelling for any public official in Nigeria to publicly declare his or her assets on assumption and after completion of tenure, it is a step forward in broadening the frontiers of accountability and responsibility of office for our political leaders to publicly make available what they have acquired before getting into public service and after leaving their respective offices. This would enable interested members of the public to individually cross-check their claims and report any probable fraud perpetrated. It is our expectation that other public office holders would follow suit while we expect the governor and others who have so declared their assets to repeat the same routine after the completion of their mandatory terms.”