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May 29: Declare your asset, start on clean note – SERAP tells Tinubu

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has told the President-Elect, Bola Tinubu, to start with a clean slate by making public his assets, income, investments, liabilities, and interests.

The organisation also charged Tinubu to encourage the Vice-President-Elelect, Kashim Shettima, and others to do the same.

SERAP urged the former governor of Lagos State to prioritise the full and effective respect for human rights, media freedom, the rule of law and the country’s judiciary including by promptly obeying countless court judgments which the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has repeatedly treated with contempt and disdain.

In an open letter dated May 27, 2023 and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said it has noted Tinubu’s recent promise to “kill corruption’.

SERAP, however, said that this rhetoric is nothing new, adding that outgoing President Buhari used similar hollow anticorruption phrase in 2015.

According to the organisation, for eight years, Buhari has neither ‘killed corruption’ nor obeyed court judgments on transparency and accountability.

SERAP added that if Tinubu’s election is upheld by the judiciary, he making his assets and investments public, would help his government to use transparency in asset declarations as a means of promoting public accountability and ending systemic corruption in the country.

The letter, read in part, “Buhari’s broken promises to make specific details of his assets public and to ‘kill corruption’ have opened up the country’s political and electoral processes to a money free-for-all, discouraged political participation and contributed to impunity for corruption.”

“Although President Buhari’s march to Aso Rock was predicated, in large part, on his campaign rhetoric to ‘kill corruption’, corruption remains widespread among high-ranking public officials and in ministries, departments and agencies [MDAs].”

“Making public details of your assets, liabilities, and interests would reduce unjust enrichment of public officials, ensure integrity in public offices and promote transparency and accountability as well as good governance.”

“Nigeria is very rich but its wealth is gravitating rapidly into the hands of a small portion of the population, and the power of corrupt enrichment has continued to threaten to undermine the political integrity of the country.”

“The tendency for politicians when trying to persuade Nigerians to vote for them is to conceal or hide traits that might make voters reluctant to vote them into power and to hide what they want to do with that power. But once voted into power, politicians become trustees of public wealth and resources and must remove the camouflage.”

“Effective enforcement and implementation of court judgments is critical to the national interest and to the restoration of the rule of law in the country.”

“The incoming government therefore has a responsibility to improve citizens’ trust and confidence in government. But it will be difficult for the new government to be trusted if its leaders do not come clean about their assets and incomes.”


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