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Makinde Asset Declaration And Matters Arising

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The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde jolted the political space when he made good his campaign promise to make his assets public. Although the governor had on May 28, declared his assets at the high court sitting in Ibadan, the state capital, he made it public last week. The law requires politicians to declare their assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

Last Monday however, the governor who visited the CCB office in Ibadan to receive a copy of the asset declaration form, said that his decision to make the assets public was in fulfillment of a personal promise he made during the elections.

It was gathered that the details of the assets as contained in the CCB 1 with the name Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde, which was declared at the high court of Oyo state, on May 28, indicated that the governor is worth over N48 billion.

The assets declaration form, marked OYSE/2019/001, contained details of cash at hand, in the bank, landed properties (developed and undeveloped), household items, share and bonds owned by the governor, his wife, Omini Makinde as well as his companies.

According to details of the asset form made public by the chief press secretary to Makinde, Taiwo Adisa, the governor of Oyo state had cash at hand and in the bank worth N234,742,296.01, as at May 28.

In dollar terms, the governor has cash valued at $30,056.99 as at the same date. Properties, including the developed and undeveloped as well as household items indicated on the asset forms, showed that he is worth N2,624,800,500 (two billion, six hundred and twenty-four million, eight hundred thousand, five hundred naira) as at the date of asset declaration.

In dollar terms, the governor also declared properties, developed and undeveloped as well as household items valued at $4,400,000 (four million, four hundred thousand dollars only).

In South African rands, the governor declared buildings and household items worth four million, four hundred and fifty-seven thousand, five hundred and fifty-four and four South African rands.

The houses declared by the governor include nine buildings in Nigeria, two in the United States of America and one in South Africa.

One of the properties in the United States is described as “jointly owned.”

The details showed that the current value of Makinde’s companies stand at N48,150,736,889 (forty-eight billion, one hundred and fifty million, seven hundred and thirty-six thousand, eight hundred and eighty-nine naira), with 33,730,000 units of shares as at May 28.

The governor also has existing bonds (Eurobond) worth $3,793,500 as well as shares, debentures and other securities valued at N120,500,000 (One hundred and twenty million, five hundred thousand naira).

The companies listed by the governor include Makon Engineering and Technical Services Limited; Energy Traders and Technical Services Limited; Makon Oil and Gas limited; Makon Group Limited, Makon construction Limited and Makon Power System Limited.

The asset declaration form indicated that Makinde’s four companies have additional assets denominated as loan notes including Makon Engineering and Technical Services Limited (N1.7 billion); Makon Power System Limited (N148.4 million); Makon oil and gas limited (N341 million); Energy Traders and Technical Services Limited (N1.159bn) totaling N3.389 billion.

Speaking with newsmen at the CCB office in Ibadan, Makinde said: “I came here to collect the photocopy of the form that I signed in fulfilment of the campaign promise to the people that I will declare my asset publicly and release the document to the public.

“I will encourage all the members of my cabinet to do the same thing but in as much they stay within the ambit of the law, I will encourage them to do the same.”

The governor by this act, raised the bar for probity in public service, analysts opined. While he is the only governor that has made public his assets, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo made public their assets in 2015.

But before Buhari, late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has made public his assets upon assumption of office in 2007. He was the first Nigerian leader to declare his assets publicly.

But the then Vice President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, didn’t declare his asset which attracted backlash at the time.

However, with Makinde being the first governor in this era to make public his assets, his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) sought to make political capital out of it.

The party noted that such voluntary decision further demonstrates Governor Makinde’s commitment to transparency and good governance, for which the people of Oyo state voted massively for him in the March 9, 2019 governorship election.

PDP, in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan,

commended Governor Makinde for refusing to repudiate the promises he made in the heat of elections, which is an uncommon act of fidelity in our clime.

The PDP is assured that this stance will further endear him to the people of Oyo State as well as showcase our party as a party whose members make their words their bond.

“In this regard, the PDP is in no doubt as to Governor Makinde’s commitment and ability to deliver good governance and the much-expected development to the people of Oyo State.

The PDP also encourages leaders at all levels to strive to remain faithful to promises they might have made in the course of electioneering campaigns.

Similarly, the PDP Presidential candidate in the 2019 election, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, expressed delight at Makinde for fulfilling his electoral pledge of making his assets declaration public.

Atiku, in a statement by his media aide, Paul Ibe,  said the Governor, by this action, demonstrates that integrity is not a mere lip homage but a consistent course of action of an individual doing as they promised.

Atiku commended the Governor for his forthrightness and also expressed his support to him and his administration in delivering good governance in the Pace Setter state.

The statement added, “Recall that the Governor had hit the ground running after his swearing in as governor with ground breaking policies that seek to frontally address the problems of corruption in public and private sectors and also in advancing the access to universal basic education. These are programmes to which the PDP is heartily committed.

“The former Vice President is particularly proud of Governor Makinde because his action as the only elected public official so far to so publicly declare his assets speaks eloquently to the maxim of leadership by example.

“By this, the Governor has spoken without any ambiguity, that his administration will not condone corruption. His example is highly recommended to other leaders at all levels of government,” the statement noted.

But the All Progressives Congress (APC) picked holes in Makinde’s asset declaration.  The chairman of the APC in Oyo State, Chief Akin Oke said that the public declaration of assets by the governor of the state, Mr Seyi Makinde has raised issues which the governor needed to explain.

According to him, the governor’s assets declaration has generated serious issues, which Makinde needed to explain how he came about such wealth.

He said: “I don’t think I want to make comment on the issue, since I have no idea, but it raises a number of issues.

“He just declared what he has; how he came about the asset is not there. Assets declaration is not spectacular issues since all public office holders are meant to do so,” Oke maintained.

The transparency, accountability and advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights & Accountability Projects (SERAP) also asked Makinde to invite the organisation to verify his declaration.

“SERAP applauds your bold move and commitment to transparency. SERAP has a team of Volunteers that is capable of verifying these assets and we would appreciate your public invitation authorising us to carry out the verification exercise. Looking forward” it said.

Miffed by the development, Makinde berated SERAP and the APC for demanding probe into his source of income.

The governor who took a swipe at SERAP called for investigation into his declared assets for purpose of transparency, pointed out that SERAP statement showed that neither the organisation nor its charges should be taken seriously.

The governor, through his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, affirmed that he was not going to listen to SERAP who he described as a non- serious organization.

He explained that what he has done by declaring his asset publicly is a personal commitment which even the constitution does not mandate.

Adisa also took a swipe at the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying the party should be ashamed of making comments on public declaration of the Governor’s assets.

The spokesman further revealed that the opposition party did not have anything to say on the matter because it did not show example of probity, accountability and sincerity to the people of Oyo State.

He said, “I am surprised that somebody in the APC is not ashamed to make a comment on this matter.

“How shameful could this be for the leader of a party that has just left government not to understand the tenets of constitution and what it requires of his members who just finished serving the state?”

While the declaration has since assumed a political tussle bordering on credibility posturing, it remains to be seen what will become of the govenors finances after he leaves office. In other climes, political office holders are often said to leave office less wealthy.

But, analysts aver that the same perhaps cannot be said about the Nigerian scenario where virtually all the former governors since 1999 have an alleged financial crime in court.

As Makinde has set a precedence, the focus has now shifted to his colleagues.

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