Promoting Transparency and Accountability: SERAP Calls on Tinubu to Disclose Assets and Investments
In a recent open letter to President-Elect Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has emphasized the importance of transparency and accountability in governance. SERAP urges Tinubu to set a precedent by promptly making public details of his assets, income, investments, liabilities, and interests. The organization also encourages Tinubu to advocate for his Vice-President-Elect and other public officials to do the same. By doing so, SERAP believes that the Nigerian public will gain insight into the worth of their leaders and establish a foundation for combating corruption.
Prioritizing Human Rights and the Rule of Law:
SERAP acknowledges Tinubu’s commitment to combating corruption but cautions against empty rhetoric, highlighting the similar promises made by outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. To instill public trust and confidence, SERAP implores Tinubu to prioritize the respect for human rights, media freedom, the rule of law, and the judiciary. The organization emphasizes the need to obey court judgments and underscores the outgoing government’s failure to fulfill its transparency and accountability obligations.
The Role of Transparency in Governance:
SERAP argues that publicly disclosing the details of assets, income, investments, and liabilities would not only curb unjust enrichment among public officials but also foster integrity and transparency in public offices. The organization suggests that if Tinubu’s election is upheld by the judiciary, his government can utilize transparency in asset declarations as a means of promoting public accountability and eradicating systemic corruption in Nigeria.
Broken Promises and Impunity:
The letter highlights President Buhari’s broken promises to make specific details of his assets public and eliminate corruption. SERAP contends that these unfulfilled promises have facilitated a culture of corruption, discouraged political participation, and led to impunity among corrupt officials. Despite Buhari’s anti-corruption campaign, corruption remains widespread among high-ranking public officials and in various government departments and agencies.
Restoring Trust and Accountability:
SERAP maintains that effective enforcement and implementation of court judgments are vital to restoring the rule of law and fostering national interest. The incoming government, therefore, bears the responsibility of improving citizens’ trust and confidence in governance. The disclosure of income, assets, and conflicts of interest serves as a powerful tool to expose the abuse of public office, prosecute corrupt individuals, and establish a culture of scrutiny that deters corruption.
Emulating Past Leaders and Legal Framework:
SERAP urges Tinubu to follow in the footsteps of late former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who consistently published his asset declaration forms and planned legislative reforms to make public asset declaration mandatory for all public officers. The organization emphasizes the legal provisions, including the Nigerian Constitution and international conventions against corruption, which mandate asset declaration by public officials. These provisions aim to promote transparency, accountability, and combat corruption within the public service.
The call by SERAP for Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu to disclose his assets and investments serves as a reminder of the crucial role transparency and accountability play in governance. By embracing public disclosure, Tinubu has the opportunity to set a new standard for Nigerian leaders, promoting trust, integrity, and public accountability. It is through such measures that the nation can work towards eradicating corruption and ensuring a more prosperous and equitable future for all Nigerians.