The presidency has vehemently refuted claims that President Muhammadu Buhari at any time during his electioneering campaigns in 2015 and 2019 promised to make a public declaration of his personal assets.
The Presidency rather stated that the President has assured Nigerians of doing what the constitution required.
President Buhari had said before the 2015 election that he would publicly declare his assets and liabilities, and encourage all his appointees to publicly declare their assets and liabilities as a pre-condition for appointment.
The rebuttal emanated from the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina at the launching of a book “One Step Ahead: Life of a Spy, Detective and Anti-Graft Czar” authored by former Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Farida Waziri on Tuesday in Abuja.
Adesina was reacting to philosophical enquires by Dr. Mathew Kukah, the Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Sokoto who had earlier in a lecture as a guest speaker asked why President Buhari pooh-pooed on his promise of declaring his assets publicly. Kukah was however represented at the event by Revered Father Patrick Alukumu from Abuja. Taking the podium as the reviewer of the book, Adesina before discharging his assignment opted to correct the impression instilled in the mind of the audience by Bishop Kukah’s submission.
He said that President Buhari never promised to make public declaration of his assets but to follow the constitution, challenging Kukah to come up with his evidence. The Presidential spokesman recalled that on his first day on the job after his appointment, he posed the same question to the president and other officials of government in a private meeting but got an answer that there was never a promise to make a public declaration of the president’s assets.
He said: “In a private meeting with the President, one of the first questions I asked him was, this promise about public declaration of assets, when are you doing it and then he asked me, can you please show me where that promise was ever made and lo and behold, we searched everywhere, there was no place where the president ever said he will do a public declaration. And he told me what does the law require? The law requires you to declare your assets and that is what I will do. And yet since that year (2015), they keep repeating it that he promised a public declaration”.
“So, sir, can you tell Bishop Kukah that I challenge him to produce that promise by the President because the President stands on it till tomorrow that he never promised public declaration. In 2015, he made his assets public. In 2019, he has declared that he has chosen not to make public. He has not broken any law. So, let’s not continue to repeat what is untrue, what is an inexactitude. That’s my message to Bishop Kukah, he said.