President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have declared their assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau as required by the Constitution but failed to make the contents public.
The head of Buhari’s media team, Garba Shehu, in a statement on Saturday, said the President and the Vice President submitted their assets declaration forms separately on Thursday.
Shehu added that the CCB, through its Chairman, Sam Saba, on Friday acknowledged the receipt of the forms.
He gave Buhari’s declaration identity number as “President: 000001/2015.”
Shehu, however, did not disclose the contents of the assets declaration forms.
“By declaring their assets, President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo may have not only fulfilled the requirements of the Nigerian Constitution, but also fulfilled the first of their many campaign promises.
“While seeking election into the highest office in the land, the President had promised Nigerians that he would publicly declare his assets as soon as he took over government,” he wrote.
The Nigerian Constitution states in Chapter VI Section 140 that a person elected to the Office of the President shall not begin to perform the functions of that office until he has declared his assets and liabilities as prescribed in the Constitution.
Though the president’s aide believes the declaration was in fulfillment of Buhari’s campaign promises, analysts claim the President has not done anything spectacular because the contents were not made public.
In February this year, while campaigning Buhari had said that he would publicly declare his assets and liabilities, if voted into power.
Buhari stated this in a document. The document highlighted what Buhari would do in his first 100 days if he assumed power on May 29.
He said he would encourage political appointees in his administration to also declare their assets publicly.
Had the new president kept to his words he will be the country’s second president to publicly declare his assets.
Reacting to the news of the asset declaration by Buhari and Osinbajo to the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Peoples Democratic Party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olisa Metuh, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the PDP was not ready to engage the All Progressives Congress-led government on asset declaration by the two most important persons in the country or any other issue.
Metuh said, “No comment for now. These are early days. At the moment, we wish them well.”
The late President, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua, also from Katsina State as Buhari, was the first and the only Nigeria’s President to have publicly declared his assets when he assumed office.
This action forced his then deputy, Jonathan, to also make his assets declaration forms available to the public.
However, since he assumed office as the substantive President, Jonathan had refused to make the forms available to the public, saying that he did that when he was serving as deputy to Yar’Adua.
But Buhari, in the document titled, ‘I pledge to Nigeria’ had also said that all his political appointees would only earn salaries and allowances as prescribed by the Revenue and Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission.
He said, “I pledge to publicly declare my assets and liabilities, encourage all my appointees publicly declare their assets and liabilities as a pre-condition for appointment. All political appointees will only earn the salaries and allowances determined by the RMFAC. I pledge, as Commander-in-Chief, to lead from the front and not behind in the comfort and security of Aso Rock, to boost the morale of fighting forces and the generality of all Nigerians.”
Meanwhile, about 48hours after they took their oaths of office, President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have yet to move into the Presidential Villa, Abuja, SUNDAY PUNCH has learnt.
Investigation by our correspondent on Saturday showed that the duo only attended the events held in the Villa on Friday and returned to town.
While Buhari was suspected to have returned to the Defence House, the official residence of the President-elect, which he started using shortly after he won the March 28 presidential election, Osinbajo might have returned to his private residence.
Immediately after they were inaugurated as President and Vice President at the Eagle Square on Friday, Buhari and Osinbajo moved to the Presidential Villa for a state luncheon organised in honour of world leaders who attended the inauguration.
They left and later returned in the evening for the inauguration gala night held inside the villa’s old Banquet Hall.
“The President and the Vice President have yet to move into the State House. I learnt that the President returned to Defence House on Friday,” a source said.