The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), a prominent non-profit organization dedicated to combating corruption, has urged President-Elect Bola Tinubu to publicly disclose his assets and investments. In a statement released on Sunday, SERAP also called on Mr. Tinubu to encourage his deputy, Kashim Shettima, to follow suit.
With Mr. Tinubu set to be inaugurated as Nigeria’s next president on Monday, it is expected that he will declare his assets and investments to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) upon assuming office. The Nigerian constitution mandates public officers, including the president, vice-president, governors, and their deputies, to declare their assets and liabilities to the CCB at the beginning and end of their tenures.
However, the law does not require public officers to make such declarations available to the public. Nonetheless, failure to fully declare assets or do so within the appropriate timeframe can be considered a breach, potentially leading to prosecution at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
In a feeble attempt to fulfill a campaign promise shortly after assuming office in 2015, the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, partially disclosed their assets to the Nigerian public. They had pledged to fully disclose their assets after anticipated verification by the CCB but later backtracked on their promise.
In contrast, the late President Umar Yar’Adua consistently and transparently declared his assets publicly, setting an example for openness and accountability.
SERAP, in its Sunday statement, reminded Mr. Tinubu of his recent commitment to combatting corruption. The group called on the former Lagos State governor to lead by example and publicly disclose his assets and investments.
“SERAP notes your recent promise to ‘kill corruption.’ However, this rhetoric is nothing new: the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari used a similar hollow anticorruption phrase in 2015,” the statement read. “As Nigerians have witnessed for eight years, Buhari has neither ‘killed corruption’ nor obeyed court judgments on transparency and accountability.”
Additionally, the group urged Mr. Tinubu to emulate the late President Yar’Adua, who consistently published his asset declaration forms as both president and governor of Katsina State.
SERAP’s call for transparency and accountability in public office reflects the importance of leaders demonstrating a genuine commitment to combating corruption and fostering trust among the Nigerian population. As President-Elect Tinubu assumes office, Nigerians will closely monitor his actions in upholding these principles and fulfilling his promises to the nation.