THE African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) has called on President Bola Tinubu to declare his assets in accordance with Paragraph 11, Part I of the Fifth Schedule of the Nigerian Constitution.
The civil society organisation also charged Tinubu to make his declaration public as a way of committing to the genuine fresh beginning he promised Nigerians.
AFRICMIL in a statement released on Tuesday, May 30, by its coordinator Chido Onumah said by making his assets public, Tinubu would set a higher moral standard compared to his predecessors, who were not on record to have taken any significant action regarding the constitutional obligation.
“Besides the moral capital that accompanies such a rare gesture, Mr. Tinubu would be seen to have reinforced belief in the “Renewed Hope” agenda on which his governance plan is anchored, and which was the mantra at every turn in his campaign trail.
“The anti-corruption agenda of the Tinubu administration remains vague even though in his inaugural speech President Tinubu said his administration would “take proactive steps such as championing a credit culture to discourage corruption while strengthening the effectiveness and efficiency of the various anti-corruption agencies.”
AFRICMIL added that it is looking forward to a more detailed and unambiguous anti-corruption programme and is ready to work with the Tinubu administration to “tame the vicious monster of corruption” currently ravaging the country.
The organisation, in the same vein, stressed the importance of whistleblowing as a tool to enhance transparency and accountability and also reduce corruption.
It expressed disappointment in the previous government’s failure to enact a whistleblowing and whistleblower protection law, despite introducing the whistleblowing policy in December 2016 and approving a draft whistleblower protection bill in December 2022.
“We are disappointed at the failure of the immediate past government to enact a whistleblowing and whistleblower protection law, even though it introduced the whistleblowing policy as one of its anti-corruption strategies in December 2016 and approved a draft whistleblower protection bill in December 2022.”
Onumah further urged Tinubu’s administration to address the disabling lapse and take steps to sign the whistleblowing and whistleblower protection bill into law without further delay.
According to him, the whistleblowing law would boost the confidence of citizens to report fraud, block leakages and increase the revenue which the new administration badly needs to sustain effective governance at the moment.
AFRICMIL also charged the former President, Muhammadu Buhari, to declare his assets and make it public “to redeem his severely diminished integrity”.
Onumah noted that this is not the first time AFRICMIL would be requesting elected officers to publicise their assets records as a mark of upholding transparency and accountability in governance through personal example.
“In 2011, AFRICMIL dragged the Code of Conduct Bureau to court seeking an order compelling the CCB, within the ambit of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, to make available to the public the asset declaration form of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“In 2017, AFRICMIL again sued the CCB for refusal to make available the asset details of principal officers of the National Assembly since 2011. Following the unfavorable judgment of Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati of the Federal High Court, AFRICMIL took the matter to the Appeal Court. The case has yet to be heard.
“AFRICMIL will not relent in its advocacy for good governance through activities that are targeted at holding public officers accountable,” the statement added.
The ICIR, on May 29, reported that Tinubu and Kashim Shettima were inaugurated as the President and Vice President of Nigeria, respectively.
The inauguration came few weeks after Tinubu was declared the winner of the presidential election that took place on February 25.
Tinubu was elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).