As more Nigerians insist that President Goodluck Jonathan should make public his assets and liabilities, the Code of Conduct Bureau yesterday opposed the public demand, describing it as unnecessary.
In an exclusive interview with Leadership Weekend, the chairman of the CCB, Mr. Sam Saba, made it clear that there was no law requiring the president or any member of the government to make public their assets and liabilities.
Although Sada admitted that President Jonathan and his deputy, Namadi Sambo, had declared their assets, he stated that it was unconstitutional for his office to expose their assets to the public.
The CCB chairman said his decision not to make public the assets of the president was based on Section 3 (C) of the Nigerian Constitution, which authorises the National Assembly to set out guidelines for members of the public to have access to the president’s assets.
Saba maintained that as long as the National Assembly has not established the guidelines for assessing the president’s assets, it would not be possible for the bureau to make the assets available for public scrutiny.
Saba said, “ As long as the National Assembly has not amended the law, you cannot have access to the assets declared by the president.”
The CCB chairman said that it was wrong for some Nigerians to over-flog the president’s assets issue as if it was a new matter in the country.
According to him, it was no longer necessary to harp on the assets of the president since he had declared them from the time he was the deputy governor of Bayelsa State to when he was vice president and now president of Nigeria.
“If he had not declared it all, then; Nigerians should have held him to ransom, but not when he had long declared his assets and liabilities,” Saba said.
Nigerians have been unanimous in their call on the president to make public his assets and liabilities in line with his avowed determination to stamp out corruption in the administration and promote open governance.
But he changed the tone last week when he said that he did not give a damn making his assets open for public scrutiny was done by his late predecessor, Umaru Musa Yar’Adaua.
The defiance is in contrast to his campaign manifesto to publicly declare his assets and promote transparency if voted into office.