Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has argued that making assets declaration of political office holders like him was not stipulated by law.
According to the by governor, having declared his assets to the relevant authority according to the law, there is no need making it public as many Nigerians are clamouring for.
The governor, who made the controversial statement on Wednesday through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Opunabo Inko-Tariah, stressed that it was necessary for people to de-emphasise public asset declaration and focus on sincerity behind such exercise.
According to him, some public office holders could over-declare their assets to pave the way for them to steal public funds in future while others, who had held public offices in the past, might under-declare their personal belongings in order to give the impression that they were never involved in corrupt practices while in office.
Wike explained that the most important thing for public office holders was to deliver the dividends of democracy, adding that his main interest was to develop the state and the people.
“The governor has declared his assets and this is exactly what he told newsmen during the tour of his administration’s projects. There is no law compelling him to make his declaration public. He has declared his assets and the declaration was made to the relevant authority.
“Let me also say that it is not just about asset declaration; it has to do with the sincerity of the person because some may over-declare when they want to steal in future. So, they declare to accommodate the theft in future.
“Some may also declare for whatever reason; maybe they have held public offices in the past and they don’t want people to know that they have stolen money. So, people will declare; it is not all about the declaration of assets.
“What is crucial is the sincerity of the person declaring and you are supposed to declare when you get out of office. But the truth is that if you are a governor or a minister, what matters is the delivery of the dividends of democracy. That is what is important and it is not about what you declare and how much you declare,” Wike added.
On the claim by the All Progressives Congress in the state that most of the projects completed by his administration were started by the immediate past governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, he said it was wrong for anybody to personalise governance.
According to the governor, projects that will impact on the lives of the people should not be abandoned by any successor.