Affirming Public Officers should declare their Assets Publicly, Waziri Onibiyo Adio, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), recently made public, highlights from his assets declaration form he submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
In taking the step, Adio said he was following the notable examples of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, Dr. Kayode Fayemi (as governor of Ekiti State), Senator Shehu Sani, Dr. Joe Abah (the DG of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms) and Dr. Chidi Anslem Odinkalu (former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission).
“Asset declaration is thus not designed to be another perfunctory, box-ticking exercise,” he said in a press statement. “It is primarily a transparency and accountability instrument. This is a potentially powerful sunshine mechanism that could help, in very practical ways, limit the incidence of corruption, one of the major challenges of our country. However, the potency of this tool is gravely diminished, in my view, by the fact that asset declaration is made a secret affair and the public, on behalf of whom people are elected or appointed to hold public offices, is not given a viable role in the verification of the assets declared and is denied the fundamental right to know. This is another case of the ‘missing public.’ And it needs fixing.
“Therefore, as we rightly seek new beginnings for our country, we need to reinsert and reassert the public in this transparency and accountability process by lifting the veil of secrecy from the declared assets of our public officers. This I believe: all public officers should be made to declare their assets publicly; otherwise the impact of the assets declaration exercise is successfully neutered.”
Mr. Adio, a former journalist and development consultant, included in his declaration his wife’s assets. Their three children, he said, are under 18 years of age, and own no assets.