President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday made public details of their assets, which had been declared to the Code of Conduct Bureau.
The assets are as declared before the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) on assumption of office on May 29. A statement released by the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu said: “Documents submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) show that the retired General has indeed been living an austere and Spartan lifestyle, contrary to what many might expect of a former Head of State of Nigeria and one who has held a number of top government positions, such as governor, Minister of petroleum and the head of the Petroleum Development Trust Fund (PTDF).
“The documents submitted to the CCB, which officials say are still being vetted and will soon be made public, show that prior to being sworn in on May 29, President Buhari had less than N30 million to his name. He also had only one bank account, with the Union Bank. President Buhari had no foreign account, no factory and no enterprises. He also had no registered company and no oil wells.
President Buhari, however, declared that he had shares in Berger Paints, Union Bank and Skye Bank. “This is entirely unlike what one might expect from a former head of state of a country like Nigeria.”
“The documents also revealed that President Buhari had a total of five homes, and two mud houses in Daura. He had two homes in Kaduna, one each in Kano, Daura and in Abuja. One of the mud houses in Daura was inherited from his late older sister, another from his late father. He borrowed money from the old Barclays Bank to build two of his homes.
“President Buhari also has two undeveloped plots of land, one in Kano and the other in Port Harcourt. He is still trying to trace the location of the Port Harcourt land,” the presidency disclosed.
In addition to the homes in Daura, he has farms, an orchard and a ranch. The total number of his holdings in the farm include: 270 head of cattle, 25 sheep, five horses, a variety of birds and a number of economic trees.
The documents also showed that the retired General uses a number of cars, two of which he bought from his savings and the others supplied to him by the federal government in his capacity as former Head of State. The rest were donated to him by well-wishers after his jeep was damaged in a Boko Haram bomb attack on his convoy in July 2014.
According to the presidency, Vice President Osinbajo is richer than President Buhari following his exploits in the private sector before being drafted into politics as Vice Presidential candidate. “The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) who had been a successful lawyer before his foray into politics declared a bank balance of about N94 million and 900,000 United States Dollars in his bank accounts.
Highlights of Professor Osinbajo’s asset declaration, as revealed by the CCB forms include; his four-bedroom residence at Victoria Garden City, Lagos and a three-bedroom flat at 2 Mosley Road, Ikoyi.
The Vice President also has a two-bedroom flat at the popular Redemption Camp along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and a two-bedroom mortgaged property in Bedford, England. Aside from these, the Vice President has no other landed properties on the form.
“Apart from his law firm, known as SimmonsCooper, the Vice-President also declared shareholding in six private companies based in Lagos, including Octogenerium Ltd., Windsor Grant Ltd., Tarapolsa, Vistorion Ltd., Aviva Ltd. and MTN Nigeria.
According to details shown on the form, the Vice-President’s personal vehicles are one Infinity 4-Wheel Drive SUV, one Mercedes Benz and a Prado Jeep.
The opening of the content of the declaration form with the CCB to the public is a fulfilment of the electoral promise made by the President when he was campaigning for election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The President said he would within 100 days in office make public his assets after they might have been verified by the CCB. September 4 made it exactly 100 days since the inauguration of the new government and the presidency has assured that the documents would be made available to the public as soon as it is fully verified by CCB.
“As soon as the CCB is through with the process, the documents will be released to the Nigerian public and people can see for themselves,” it said.
The Fifth Schedule (part 1) of the Constitution (Code of Conduct for Public Officers) Sub section 11. (1), says: Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, every public officer shall within three months after the coming into force of this Code of Conduct or immediately after taking office and thereafter – (a) At the end of every four years; and
(b) At the end of his term of office, submit to the Code of Conduct Bureau a written declaration of all his properties, assets, and liabilities and those of his unmarried children under the age of eighteen years.”
While it is not mandatory for the assets declared to be made public, the president and vice president have chosen to make their declaration public in line with transparency and accountability.
Before now, only the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua among other leaders had publicly declared his assets.
By Olisemeka Obeche