Between legality and Political Intergrity

It is not in doubt that President Buhari as candidate promised Nigerians that he will make his asset declaration public, and urge all his appointees to do so. It was therefore a surprise that when he finally submitted his declaration to the Code of Conduct Bureau as required by law. He failed to make it public. Some have argued that he is not legally bound to do so. This appears to be the view of Code of Conduct Bureau and lower courts currently, even though we are yet to hear from the supreme court on this account. That may be right in the eyes of those  who do not believe that the requirement of the Constitution that the National Assembly make laws to regulate disclosure of declaration of assets  is  fulfilled by the Freedom of Information Act 2011.  But what does the court of public opinion say to our president who made a solemn promise to his people, part of the reasons he was elected. What does failure to make public his assets declaration and to urge every appointee of his do do so mean to public trust in his administration and its promises? It would appear that in reacting to criticisms presidency sources now say this promise will be kept within the first hundred days in office. It does appear that this is more a response to the public outcry following the failure to make it public at submission, than a deliberate decision of the administration. It is in one part good that the Presidency realizes this promise has to be kept. However, if it is to be kept, I doubt the value in the delay which does no good to the credibility of Mr President which was solid as at 29th May. I wish that  Mr President had proactively indicated that this document will be made public within hundred days of the date of submission. I wish that this affirmation did not come as a later response to public outcry.  Yet I find it interesting that our democracy has reached a point where a president is forced quickly to respond by giving a deadline to make public his assets declaration. But I wish that no more delayed promises or early mi-step will cause us to doubt the political credibility of our popular president.  A confident president with full public trust is what we need now, the mistakes of  past administrations have been many, and the task ahead is not easy.Nigerians more than ever before need to be at one with their president.


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