Buhari Writing
To say that many Nigerians were not taken aback by the nature of the assets owned by President Muhammadu Buhari, which were made public before the 100 days of his administration, would be an understatement.

The assets declaration by the retired General and former military leader, alongside that of Vice President Professor Osinbajo, were in keeping with the promise he made to Nigerians during the campaign period of the 2015 presidential election. Before the assets declaration were made public, mischief makers had been having a field day, insinuating everything under the Sun and planning more nuisance over the issue.

It is a vindication of President Buhari that finally his assets have been made public and all is now calm. The reputation of the President as Mai Gaskiya, a man who keeps his word, has been further consolidated, while his integrity as a man who has always lived simply, having little care for ostentation and the vanities of life has also been further confirmed. To many honest Nigerians and foreigners alike, who are monitoring the actions and moves of this leader, Muhammadu Buhari cuts the image of a man from another planet. This is a man who has held several prominent positions in his eventful life, including that of a military Head of State, wherein those in power get away with all forms of atrocity and stealing, yet he shunned looting the public till.

A friend of mine pointed out that among President Buhari’s assets was an impressive number of 270 cows, which are reward for a caring and patient livestock keeper. And even at that, he is still modest. His fellow countrymen who are masters of acquiring property or anything under the sun, would have been counting more than 10,000 heads of cattle.

PMB’s assets declaration is a lesson for all Nigerians. It shows that one can live respectably and comfortably without abusing public trust or engaging in aggrandisement to the point where the life of one’s fellow countrymen are endangered. There are many prominent Nigerians who, in the bid to acquire property which they flaunt at others and use to feed their vanity, commit unspeakable crimes against their fellow country folks. Yet, others in the pursuit of personal wealth and well-being, abandon their responsibility to govern the country and ensure that the lives of people are improved. Suffice it to say that Buhari has shown that a leader can retain the love of his people and be called upon to mount the saddle without a baggage of wealth acquired through crime and the betrayal of public trust.

On his recent visit to Ghana to confer on security and economic relations, PMB reminded his audience at a press conference that he had declared his assets four times in the course of his life and public service. Buhari as a young military governor in 1975 declared his assets alongside other colleagues, as Minister of Petroleum and member of the then Supreme Military Council, as the military Head of State in 1983, and now as an elected President.

President Buhari has kept his word and pledge to Nigerians to declare his assets, as he did a couple of times in the past. Nigerians are waiting for Buhari’s predecessor in office, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and his aides to comply with the Constitutional provision and requirement to declare their assets having completed their terms of office. And Nigerians should insist that the formerly ruling PDP men and women should comply with this requirement of the law.

It should be noted that all through these years of public service and with the simple assets declarations that depict his austere and modest approach to life, Nigerians had been taking note and were impressed. It was, therefore, no surprise that the Nigerian electorate wasted no time in listening to and calling Buhari back to power as the harbinger of Change and a new society, different from the decadent and suffocating one under the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

While Nigeria is enjoying acclaim on account of the transparency and integrity of President Buhari, and Africans bask in the pride that something respectable and decent can come from the continent, there are those amongst us who for political reasons and to avoid giving credit to whom it is due, have chosen to deride and make light of the Change that is unfolding around us in our country. These people are the custodians, lackeys and the remnants of the rapacious PDP gang. What is left of the PDP has gone as far as to say that President Buhari has not made any credible assets declaration, adding that they (PDP) are waiting for the real thing.

It is not difficult to know why the assets declaration of PMB did not and has not excited the opposition PDP, the erstwhile ruling party. It is because the declaration, unlike the type that the thieving members of the former ruling party would have made with all their vanity, does not include several empty housing estates, exotic cars and castles in European countries, as well as oil wells, and such.

As a law abiding citizen who believes in the rule of law and the Constitution, President Buhari told Nigerians and Ghanaians that it is legally binding on any public official in Nigeria to declare his or her assets before and after a period of public service. This brings us to the question of where the final exit declarations of assets of former President Goodluck Jonathan and his deputy, former Vice President Namadi Sambo, and other officials in their administration, are.

Former President Jonathan and his Vice President, after leaving office, ought to have declared their assets for Nigerians to see how much they acquired while in office or how much they kept to the straight or narrow path of transparency and integrity. With the kind of looting already unearthed and soon to be investigated, the declaration of assets by these former ruling PDP members would, very likely, make Nigerians wish to weep in anguish. It is not only the former President Jonathan and former Vice President Sambo who should have declared their assets, but also their ministers and aides while in power, as well as the erstwhile principal officers of the National Assembly.

President Buhari has kept his word and pledge to Nigerians to declare his assets, as he did a couple of times in the past. Nigerians are waiting for Buhari’s predecessor in office, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and his aides to comply with the Constitutional provision and requirement to declare their assets having completed their terms of office. And Nigerians should insist that the formerly ruling PDP men and women should comply with this requirement of the law.

Louis Okoroma, a Public Affairs Analyst writes from Abuja.