A civil society group – Movement for the Advancement of National Transformation(MANTRA) – has requested both President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to publicly declare their assets or face a coordinated mass protest by the citizens.
The group drew its moral standpoint from the campaign promises made by the two leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a statement made available yesterday and jointly signed by its Coordinator, Comrade Jude Ndukwe and its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Adetolu Adejuwon, MANTRA threatened to mobilize Nigerians for a mass protest if the two leaders failure to do the needful.
The group wrote the Chairman, Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), saying: “We read with shock the declaration by your office in some Nigerian newspapers that it will not release to the public, details of assets declared by President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo despite the president’s unequivocal commitment to the contrary.
The Bureau reportedly hinged its decision on the limitations in the Federal laws covering such matters.” The group further argued that the CCB ought to release details of the declarations not just as a matter of law, but as a matter of morality.
“You are aware that the President, during the 2015 election campaigns, made a covenant with Nigerians that he would make his assets declaration public, as a commitment to change the ways things were done in the past. No doubt, this is one of the reasons Nigerians voted him into office, as a first and cogent step towards fighting corruption.
“Failure to do this will make your office appear as a willing instrument of connivance to deny the citizens the fulfillment of a cardinal campaign promise upon which they cast their votes for the incumbent. “The controversy that has been generated already by this issue will continue to reverberate in our polity, and shall serve as a needless and avoidable distraction to Mr. President, who we believe actually has nothing to hide but is being wrongly portrayed by your office as one who has a lot to hide.
“However, should our request not be met within a reasonable period of time (at most 14 days from the date on this letter), we shall be left with no other option than to mobilize our members and other well meaning Nigerians to your office and demand that the right thing be done,” the group said. Relying on section 1 (1) 3 and 4 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 2011, MANTRA said: “Citizens have the right to access or request for information, whether written or not in written form, in the custody of any public agency; we hereby request that copies of the completed assets declaration forms by the president and his deputy be made public forthwith as failure to do this will make your office appear as a willing instrument of connivance to deny the citizens.”
In another development, an Onitsha-based human rights activist also advised President Buhari to ensure that he fulfils the promises he made to Nigerians during his campaigns. Comrade Modestus Anoliefo of the Human Rights Volunteer Corps said top among the promises Buhari reportedly made was to end corruption in the country. Thus he urged him yesterday not only to implement that, but also recover all stolen funds from the perpetrators. He called on the President to ensure that he formulates effective policies and programmes as well as implement them within the confines of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The rights activist said he aligns with the former Prime Minister of Britain, Mr. Tony Blair, who reportedly charged Buhari to ensure that he keeps his campaign promises, which will usher in drastic changes in the country, in his first 100 days in office. Anoliefo also appealed to the President to appoint the former Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, to complete the power projects he started before former President Goodluck Jonathan removed him from office. Anoliefo said after Nnaji’s sack, Jonathan had confessed that he(Nnaji) did no wrong, saying he was convinced that Nnaji was about the only Nigerian that could address the country’s power problems.