The lack of public data on the assets of potential political aspirants is providing an avenue for opacity and a lack of accountability, so says a coalition of civil societies (CSOs).
They are therefore calling on political aspirants in next year’s general election to publicly declare their assets, in order to strengthen Nigeria’s democracy.
The CSOs which includes Accountability Lab Nigeria, Connected Development (CODE), Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Budgit, Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), PLSI, Yiaga Africa, and Enough is Enough (EIE) said the call became imperative to ensure politicians don’t enrich themselves and their cronies while holding public offices.
“Despite the existence of a legal framework for asset declaration for political office holders, the level of compliance is unknown as data on asset declaration for office holders is not available to the public.
“The lack of public data on the assets of potential political aspirants provides an avenue for opacity and a lack of accountability; thereby fueling political corruption,” they noted.
Speaking on behalf of the coalition, the Executive Director of CODE, Hamzat Lawal said there was a need for all the presidential candidates, government and critical stakeholders to prioritize accountability issues in government processes, fiscal transparency and on plans to strengthen anti-corruption agencies and address gender challenges.
”In all of this, to strengthen democracy in Nigeria through inclusive and accountable leadership with integrity and enhancing public trust in governance, we are calling all political parties and political aspirants to publicly declare their assets”.
On his part, the Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, Sam Itodo said it was an aberration of the constitution to nominate clear partisan persons as Resident Electoral Commission (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He called on the National Assembly to oversee full operational independence of the INEC ahead of the 2023 elections and yield to numerous calls for transparency regarding its budget and auditing of its finances.