Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has distanced himself from a presidential campaign poster circulating on social media.
The social media was awash at the weekend with a poster from a group presenting him and the governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum as presidential and vice-presidential candidates respectively of an unnamed political party.
Tagged the ‘Nigeria Project 2023’ and signed by one Abayomi Mademaku as the convener, the group said it would launch the campaign on October 2.
But in a statement by his media aide, Hakeem Bello, titled, “2023 Elections: Fashola distances self from the antics of unsolicited support groups”, the former governor said the group neither contacted him nor had his consent in issuing the invitation.
The statement read in part, “The Media Office of the Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, has urged well-meaning people to disregard the invitation of some Groups, operating under The Nigeria Project 2023, purportedly to the inauguration of a Support Group for the Minister and the Governor of Borno State over the 2023 elections.
“Ordinarily, the poster and the various social media reports almost instantly orchestrated on its account would have been ignored as the handwork of mischief makers.
However, it became necessary to issue this disclaimer for two key reasons.
“The first of such was to answer with a strong negative to the numerous inquiries from right thinking and well-meaning Nigerians on whether the Honorable Minister had been contacted or if the Groups had his consent in issuing the invitation.”
CISLAC Canvas Beneficial Ownership Register As Antidote To Corruption
In a bid to ensure that corruption is drastically defeated in Nigerian public space, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has recommended a
Beneficial Ownership Register (BOR) as an antidote to curbing lingering cases of corruption in Nigeria.
The organisation made the call at a briefing themed “The Anti-Corruption Potential of The Beneficial Ownership Register”, held at the Citi Heights Hotel, Lagos.
Leading the conversation, the executive director, CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani, noted that transparency of ownership and control of companies, partnerships, trusts and other legal entities that can hold assets and open bank accounts is critical to the ability to determine where illicit funds are moving to and who is moving them.
According to him, “the Nigerian government has marked significant progress in the implementation of the beneficial ownership transparency as indicated by the signing of the Companies and Allied Matters (Amendment) Act 2020 and ongoing process towards the establishment of a central register for disclosure of all corporate entities in the country that would subsume and complement the beneficial ownership register for extractive sector companies already established by the NEITI in December, 2019.”
Rafsanjani said while the rapid uptake of beneficial ownership is significant, the quality, accuracy and utility of the data for its intended purpose of curbing Illicit
Financial Flows (IFFs) are dependent on the right legislative framework being in place and the data conforming to the beneficial open data standards (BODS).
He said the capacity of the tax and customs authorities, policing and prosecution authorities, mandatory clause on beneficial ownership information to be provided when companies are incorporated or trusts registered, and the presence of a mandate to ensure that information provided by any entity is periodically updated and on a regular basis among others, have the capacity to hamper the effective implementation of this initiative regardless of how good it looks.
He also identified “enforcement ability to ensure that information is placed on the publicly accessible platform and modalities to verify declared information and false declarations, which should result in robust penalties,” as other challenges.
“Let us be clear that beneficial ownership and the more general issue of money laundering is not only a Nigerian or African problem. But as long as inefficiency and the lack of political will to sanitize our systems persist, consequences in the form of terrorism financing, trans-national organized crime, tax evasion and illegal enrichment of politically exposed persons will prevail.”