By G9ija

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has charged President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to follow Kebbi State Deputy Governor, Yombe Dabai Samaila’s example by publishing their assets declaration form.

Samaila, who responded to the suit filed by SERAP last week on assets declaration, forwarded his assets declaration forms to the organisation.

The form, dated May 28, 2019 and sworn to at the High Court of Justice, Birnin-Kebbi, showed that Samaila declared his assets, including landed property and cash in banks valued at N353m from which he receives N61.5m income yearly, but has no money in foreign accounts.

In the suit filed in January 2020 and marked FHC/ABJ/CS/65/2020, SERAP requested the Federal High Court, Abuja to order President Buhari, Osinbajo, the 36 state governors and their deputies to publish details of their assets.

“Specifically, they should state their property and income as contained in their assets declaration forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) since assuming office,” it said.

In a statement issued yesterday by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the group commended Samaila’s commitment to transparency and accountability, especially at a time when most government officials and institutions were disregarding Freedom of Information (FoI) requests.

The group urged President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo to show leadership by immediately publishing their assets declaration forms, as Samaila had done.

SERAP also urged the Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, other governors and their deputies to emulate Samaila’s example by immediately publishing their assets.

According to SERAP, President Buhari and his Vice should stand up for transparency in assets declaration by public officers, as a sign of their self-confessed principled stand on transparency and accountability in the management of the country’s resources.

MEANWHILE, Osinbajo pointed out that Nigeria’s pursuit of economic growth and sustainable development could best be achieved through the adoption of merit as a national value.

His Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, in a statement yesterday quoted Osinbajo as saying this in a keynote address at the Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI) webinar series with the theme, “A National Conversation on Rebuilding our National Values System.”

“Meritocracy is crucial in an economically viable value system, because it rewards talent and enterprise. And it is talent and enterprise that would drive sustainable growth, he stated.

Stressing the importance of merit to sustainable growth, the Vice President said: “Economic growth thrives on the substructure of values. The basis of the entire credit system as we know it, is trust.

“Indeed, the word credit is derived from the Latin word “credere”—to believe or to trust. For a credit facility to be extended to a person, trust is placed in the borrower and his or her willingness and ability to repay.

The Vice President added that financial institutions might also be reluctant to lend because they could not trust that governments would remain consistent with regulatory policies, while investors might be discouraged from investing for the same reason.