Of Presidential Media Chat And Asset Declaration

The highlight of President Goodluck Jonathan’s media chat today was his response to the question about his asset declaration. I watched the event online and I missed his answer to this all-important question because of disruptions in the Channels TV streaming.

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If reports from online journals about the president’s response are anything to go by, then there little or no hope for the country. According to one report, asked why he had not declared his assets, President Jonathan replied “I don’t give a damn” about declaration of assets. He said he had gone to late President Umaru Yar’Adua to caution “that we should not play to the hands of some people (by openly declaring their assets),” adding, “That is a matter of principle and I am not going to declare. It is not the president declaring his asset that will end Boko Haram.” The president went on to say whether he is criticised from "head to toe" he will not declare his assets.

The president’s response raises a number of issues, including trust, integrity, the rule of law and respect for the Constitution of the Federal Republic. Maybe, I am missing something! It is important to see what the Constitution says vis a vis the president’s response.

Third Schedule

Paragraph 3, Part I of the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that the Code of Conduct Bureau shall have power to: (a) receive declarations by public officers made under paragraph 12 of Part I of the Fifth Schedule to this Constitution; (b) examine the declarations in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct or any law; (c) retain custody of such declarations and make them available for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria on such terms and conditions as the National Assembly may prescribe.

Fifth Schedule

Paragraph 11 of Part I of the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution provides that:

  1. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, every public officer shall within three months after the coming into force of this Code of Conduct or immediately after taking office and thereafter -- (a) at the end of every four years; and (b) at the end of his term of office, submit to the Code of Conduct Bureau a written declaration of all his properties, assets, and liabilities and those of his unmarried children under the age of eighteen years.

Seventh Schedule

Oaths

Oaths of Allegiance

1, … Goodluck Ebele Jonathan ……. Do solemnly swear/affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

So help me God

Oath of Office of President

I, …….Goodluck Ebele Jonathan............. do solemnly swear/affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will discharge my duties to the best of my ability, faithfully and in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will strive to preserve the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions; that I will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will abide by the Code of Conduct (emphasis added) contained in the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that in all circumstances, I will do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will; that I will not directly or indirectly communication or reveal to any person any matter which shall be brought under my consideration or shall become known to me as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, except as may be required for the due discharge of my duties as President; and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of Nigeria. So help me God.



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Re: Of Presidential Media Chat And Asset Declaration
Ariteni posted on 06-25-2012, 16:39:52 PM
I am disappointed in Chido. The law is very clear. President Jonathan has declared to CCB and met the minimum requirements under the Constitution. Ditto ALL Legislators and Ministers. For the umpteenth time: There is NO Requirement of PUBLIC OR PRESS DECLARATION.

But as Patriotic Citizens Nigerians should re-launch an OPERATION PUBLISH THEIR ASSETS. They should steal the information and publish! Goodluck Jonathan and YarAdua gave declarations after 2007 Elections. All others refuse!

There is an open Challenge in this square to ALL readers that if ANYBODY has any information about ANY property or Bank Account owned by President Goodluck Jonathan overseas same should be published right here! Mark my wordsoverseas

If Chido is sure of himself he is free to challenge the President in Court! (The President is on sure legal but doubtful moral standing!)

(I detest and condemn the arrogance in the tone of response by the President and Dr Reuben Abati and hope that they each will (at the earliest opportunity) purge themselves of the flagrant contempt of Nigerian citizens and their patent "Military Dictatorship" mentality)

NB: An NGO has lately succeeded in obtaining an order against National Assembly for a public declaration of earnings from Public Revenues. For the umpteenth time:
Re: Of Presidential Media Chat And Asset Declaration
Igboamaeze posted on 06-25-2012, 16:51:20 PM
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Thanks Ariteni. I'm surprised that people can't differentiate between declaration of assets and public declaration of assets. Maybe the president's tone and his poor communication skills added to the confusion but I'm certain that no sane president will flagrantly refuse to declare his assets. I hope that your clarification puts paid to this ignorance.

Many thanks...
Re: Of Presidential Media Chat And Asset Declaration
DaBishop posted on 06-25-2012, 17:02:37 PM
Igboamaeze:

The whole purpose of asset declaration is to enhance transparency and accountability.

So to insist on parsing of words to say there is no where where 'public declaration is required' is to be clever by half. Yes public declarations were envisaged since even the CCB can be compromized by a corrupt president. In democracies the issue of secrets act, except it has to do with security, is a dead letter of the law.

If the president has nothing to fear/hide, he was a poor lecturer before he became deputy governor, then governor...allowing for proper adjustments in life he should not be stinkingly rich!

How much is his house in the village worth with renovations and all?
How many cars has he got?
Has he written any book or found any invention?
Clinton who is a lawyer, was broke after his presidency because he had to pay legal bills out of his pocket!

He is supposed to be our servant, not the other way round...he does not have the breeding of royalty nor can he be royalty. If we ask him questions and he has nothing to hide, he should answer them forthrightly.

Why did he need a contingent of 116 members to fly to Brazil? Why has he not made public his assets?

What does he have to hide???
Re: Of Presidential Media Chat And Asset Declaration
Igboamaeze posted on 06-25-2012, 17:29:26 PM
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DaBishop,

Ariteni has already said much of what you said.

You're the lawyer here. I guess that complying with the law "as is" is sufficient for now until it is amended to make public declaration compulsory. I get your points as per having something to hide. There's no doubt that all public officers in Nigeria, past and present, are just a bunch of thieving mfckers. And in this list I include those who are currently grandstanding on Twitter and In Afghanistan.

But like you lawyers say, law is not morality...
Re: [Articles] Of Presidential Media Chat And Asset Declaration
Agensheku posted on 06-26-2012, 01:46:06 AM
Asset declaration: Jonathan violates PDP manifesto - Investigation

JUNE 26, 2012 BY NIYI ODEBODE, OLUSOLA FABIYI AND FRIDAY OLOKOR

QUOTE:
The refusal of President Goodluck Jonathan to openly declare his assets was against the Programme and Policy Trust of the Peoples Democratic Party, investigation by The PUNCH has shown.

Jonathan during his Sunday's media chat broadcast on television said he did not declare his assets publicly and that he only did so as Vice President because his late boss, Umaru Yar'Adua, compelled him.

\"The issue of asset declaration is a matter of principle. I don't give a damn about it, if you want to criticise me from heaven. The issue of public declaration I think is playing to the gallery. You don't need to publicly declare any assets. If I am somebody who wants to hide it is what I tell you that you will even believe,\" the President had said.

The PDP states in its Manifesto, Programme and Policy Trust for 2011-2015, committed that it will work to ensure that its elected officials openly declare their assets.

Under its Anti-Corruption Policy Thrust, the party promises that the primary objective of a \"PDP-led government is to substantially reduce corruption in Nigeria and to develop and promote the mechanisms and institutions for preventing, detecting, and bringing offenders to justice.\"

It says that one of the road maps aimed at achieving this will be to \"persuade officials to make public their assets declaration records and support a legal backing for compulsory open declaration of assets.\"

It was, however, not clear if the party persuaded the President to openly declare his assets and he refused.

However, a former Minister of Defence, Dr. Haliru Bello, who was a former Acting National Chairman of the party when the document was produced, also failed to openly declare his assets.

Bello even wrote the foreword to the booklet.

\"This manifesto and Policy Thrust will continue to guide the party and PDP government at all levels to build on the successes of the party and procure a safe, stable and prosperous future for Nigeria,\" Bello writes in the foreword.

A member of the National Working Committee of the party, who spoke on the issue on condition of anonymity, however frowned on the refusal of both Jonathan and Bello to openly declare their assets \"as a good example for others.\"

The anonymous PDP chieftain wondered how the leaders who failed to obey party guidelines would be able to impress it on others to also toe the path of openness by openly declare their assets.

But the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, on Monday said the said Programme and Policy Trust of the Peoples Democratic Party did not pass through the party's National Working Committee. He also defended Jonathan's refusal to openly declare his assets when he became President on May 29, 2011.

Metuh said, \"That document did not pass through the NWC. But let me say that the President has not done anything wrong constitutionally by not publicly declaring his assets.

\"The President did so as vice-president and has also acted as the law requires now. He has not done anything wrong constitutionally.

\"Like he said, open declaration of assets has nothing to do with fighting Boko Haram.\"

Meanwhile, the Congress for Progressive Change has faulted the President over his statement on the declaration of assets.

It expressed concern about Jonathan's assertion that he was forced as the Vice- President to declare his assets against his desire.

\"Should this mean that this President is not principled, otherwise he ought to have resigned his appointment if he was forced to act against his desire,\" the CPC argued in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin.

Fashakin said that the President's demeanour on the issue of asset declaration left many questions unanswered.

He said that the president had not even told the nation that he declared his assets after his inauguration on May 29.

Also, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, and Education Rights Concern on Monday in Abuja condemned the refusal of Jonathan to declare his assets openly.

This CACOL said the President's refusal to declare his assets publicly was a deliberate act of justifying corruption.

The Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran, noted that the President's action smacks of disrespect.

SOURCE: THE PUNCH

NOTE: End of discussion! If GEJ could break his party s guidelines, he must be held accountable for all the corruption in the land. If he has nothing to hide, having once publicly declared his assets, why is he ashamed to be associated with his new wealth? Agens
Re: Of Presidential Media Chat And Asset Declaration
Ph3y posted on 06-26-2012, 02:15:55 AM
QUOTE:
-----

Thanks Ariteni. I'm surprised that people can't differentiate between declaration of assets and public declaration of assets. Maybe the president's tone and his poor communication skills added to the confusion but I'm certain that no sane president will flagrantly refuse to declare his assets. I hope that your clarification puts paid to this ignorance.

Many thanks...


This seems to be like merely playing with words. Has he declared his assets? yes or no. The FOI act can be used to access the information and even make it public.

I think GEJ just said he has not declared so I don't know where you people got public or private declaration theory from.

If he has, then the information should be made public.
Re: Of Presidential Media Chat And Asset Declaration
Enyi posted on 06-26-2012, 06:57:49 AM
QUOTE:
Jonathan during his Sunday's media chat broadcast on television said he did not declare his assets publicly and that he only did so as Vice President because his late boss, Umaru Yar'Adua, compelled him.

\"The issue of asset declaration is a matter of principle. I don't give a damn about it, if you want to criticise me from heaven. The issue of public declaration I think is playing to the gallery. You don't need to publicly declare any assets. If I am somebody who wants to hide it is what I tell you that you will even believe,\" the President had said.


The above excerpt from the PUNCH as quoted by Agensheku is more troubling than the issue of public versus private declaration of assets. GEJ has stated his principles as regards public declaration. Now if had principles as he wants us to believe, he should have resigned as the VP rather than compromise his principles. Who knows how many other principles he might have compromised and will compromise in future.
Does prcedence mean anything to him? I am simply disappointed.
Re: [Articles] Of Presidential Media Chat And Asset Declaration
Agensheku posted on 06-26-2012, 07:58:00 AM
SERAP Invokes FOI Act To Seek Pres. Jonathan's Assets Declaration
Posted: June 26, 2012 - 08:40

By Adetokunbo Mumuni

QUOTE:
A civil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent a Freedom of Information request to President Goodluck Jonathan asking him to \"provide information on your assets declaration details between May 2007 and May 2012, and to publish widely the information on a dedicated website.\"

The group said \"failure to comply with the request within 7 days of receipt and/or publication will compel us to seek appropriate legal action to enforce the FOI in your case.\"

The group's executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni signed the request dated 26 June 2012.
According to the group, \"The disclosure of the information requested will give SERAP and the general public a true picture of the assets of the president from May 2007 to May 2012, and will demonstrate the president's oft-expressed commitment to transparency and accountability and show that your signing of the FOI was not just a public relation exercise but a public duty done in good faith.\"

The group said that it is \"concerned that your recent statement that you would not publicly declare your asset is a clear violation of the Nigerian Constitution and the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party, and entirely inconsistent with your oft-repeated promises to prevent and combat high-level official corruption in the country.\"

\"Your statement may also have breached the provisions of chapter two of the 1999 Constitution dealing with Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, which among others require the government to take steps to eradicate corrupt practices and the abuse of power,\" the group added.


\"We are also concerned that your statement shows your government's lack of political will to lead by example, and to combat the endemic grand corruption which has continued to have corrosive effects on the human rights, in particular economic and social rights of millions of Nigerians. Your statement is also inconsistent with the action of a president who signed into law and is supposedly committed to the effective implementation of the Freedom of Information Act,\" the group also said.

The group also said that \"We believe that disclosure of assets is crucial for ensuring that public officials' personal interests including that of the president as the leader of the nation, do not conflict with their duties and responsibilities. Public disclosure also helps to provide a baseline and thus means for comparison to identify assets that may have been corruptly acquired and that a public official may legitimately be asked to account for.\"

\"Specifically, Section 153 of the Constitution establishes a Code of Conduct Bureau to ensure, among other things, that all public officers, as defined in Part II of the Fifth Schedule, declare their assets on assuming office and immediately their terms of office expire. Paragraph Three of Part 1 (A) of the Third Schedule, empowers the Bureau to receive declarations made by all public officers, examine same and keep them in custody. Paragraph 3© says the Bureau shall have the power to \"retain custody of such declarations and make them available for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria on such terms and conditions as the National Assembly may prescribe.\"

\"Similarly, the UN Convention against Corruption requires public officials to make declarations to appropriate authorities regarding, inter alia, their outside activities, employment, investments, assets and substantial gifts or benefits from which a conflict of interest may result with respect to their functions as public officials,\" the group also added.

The organization also said that, \"By virtue of Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on the assets declaration by the president of Nigeria, being a public document within the meaning of the FOI, and which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution.\"

According to the organization, \"By virtue of Section 4 (a) of the FOI Act when a person makes a request for information from a public official, institution or agency, the public official, institution or urgency to whom the application is directed is under a binding legal obligation to provide the applicant with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within 7 days after the application is received.\"

The organization also said that, \"By Sections 2(3)(d)(V) & (4) of the FOI Act, your excellency is under a binding legal duty to ensure that documents containing information relating to your assets declaration are widely disseminated and made readily available to members of the public through various means.\"

\"The information being requested does not come within the purview of the types of information exempted from disclosure by the provisions of the FOI Act. The information requested for, apart from not being exempted from disclosure under the FOI Act, bothers on an issue of national interest, public concern, interest of human rights, social justice, good governance, transparency and accountability,\" the organization also said.

When asked why he has not yet publicly declared his assets during his recent media chat the president responded that: \"I don't give a damn about that. The law is clear about it and so, making it public is no issue and I will not play into the hands of the people. I have nothing to hide. \"I declared (assets publicly) under the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua because he did it, but it is not proper. I could be investigated when I leave office. \"You don't need to publicly declare it and it is a matter of principle. It is not the President declaring assets that will change the country.\"

Signed
Adetokunbo Mumuni
Executive Director
www.serap-nigeria.org


SOURCE: www.saharareporters.com

POSER: Has it occurred to GEJ that declaration of assets publicly is no big deal if your hands are clean and you have no hidden agenda?

Obama and the Queen of England's assets are in the public domain. How much was GEJ worth as a College of Education lecturer and what s his worth today? Yet, he brags that if they protest to Heaven, he wont publicly declare his assets!!! Agens
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