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Buhari and Asset Declaration

Posted: Jun 2, 2015 at 12:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Dele Omojuyigbe


The fussy attention paid by Nigerians to President Mohammadu Buhari’s recent declaration of his assets has clearly revealed one thing. It has shown that Nigeria’s biting problems may defy a quick solution if the current leaders are only willing to adhere strictly to the dictates of the law and shun moral suasion. People are not just asking for legalistic leaders anymore, but complete leaders with high moral values and rectitude. They want these qualities in their president first, before any other. Buhari, believably, possesses the qualities, which were the reasons he recorded a convincing victory at this year’s presidential election. But he is beginning to draw people’s ire by failing to publish his assets for public consumption. Nigerians have gone through thick and thin in the last 16 years and they are not ready for any half-measure transparency this time round.

General Muhammadu Buhari

General Muhammadu Buhari

Buhari has declared his assets before the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB. That is the Constitutional requirement, but not the moral requirement. Instant condemnation greeted the declaration because Nigerians today demand more than just the constitutional provisions on any issue from their President. They want an incorruptible value injected into governance. People want the President to do the extra-ordinary in everything. They want him to obey the unwritten law which has to do with his campaign promise of declaring his assets publicly. That should kick-start his administration, which people hope will launch them into their el dorado. If the late President Umaru Yar’Adua could do it, then it shows that there is no legal restriction on it. But in case there is any, Nigerians want to know. The force of conviction and persuasion perceived in Buhari’s promise to openly declare his assets was a factor in his election victory. He must respect Nigerians for believing and voting for him.

The President has promised good things which gladden people’s hearts. Incidentally, he will likely enjoy people’s goodwill and cooperation which are catalysts for every administration’s success. That is why Buhari must not accept secret terms which he cannot defend openly. When Umaru Yar’Adua published his assets, many Nigerians hailed him, but the political class condemned him for playing to the gallery and laying a bad precedent. Nobody volunteered to avail Nigerians of the implications of his action. Buhari has told us, and we believe him, that he belongs to everybody but belongs to nobody. That statement has confirmed Nigerians’ belief in him that he will always be a man of his words and nobody’s stooge. The President should not allow Nigerians’ love for him to diminish too early. If he makes it difficult for people to trust him on a simple promise he made of his volition, he has unknowingly paved the way for the distrust and barrage of criticisms that may follow all his actions soonest. If he fails to declare those assets publicly now, he would have failed Nigerians from Day One of his second – coming. But our President should note that the success of a leader is proportional to the level of support and trust he enjoys from his people.