Why I won't make my assets public – President Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has condemned the mounting calls on public office holders to publicly declare their assets while in office, saying such clamour by Nigerians is not right, as officials should be allowed to determine whether making their assets public agree with their principles.

He made it clear his own principle disagree vehemently with allowing the people he governs know how much he is worth and what he really owns.

Fielding questions on Sunday during his third Presidential media chat at the Aso Villa Abuja, Mr. Jonathan said when the matter camme up during his time as Vice President to late President Musa Yar’adua he made it very clear that it was not a right decision to take.

Asked why he has refused to publicly declare his assets as an example for members of his cabinet, the President said, “The issue of public asset declaration is a matter of personal principle. That is the way I see it, and I don’t give a damn about it, even if you criticise me from heaven. When I was the Vice President , that matter came up, and I told the former President (late Musa Yar’adua) let’s not start something that would make us play into the hands of  people and create an anomalous situation in the country.

“The law is clear. A public officer should declare his assets, and if there are issues, then the relevant agencies would have a basis to assess whether you have amassed wealth or not. When it is said that people should declare their assets in public, it is not only the President or the vice President, it includes everybody, incluidng Ministers.

“When I was a governor in Bayelsa state for about a year before becoming vice president, I was investigated thoroughly. I have nothing to hide. But, because I was under somebody and it was becoming an issue, because of the media, and because my boss had declared, it was said that the vice President must. I declared, not because I wanted to.”

Mr. Jonathan continued, “Initially I said they can talk about it from morning to night, I will not. I said it is a matter of principle. It is not proper. If one amends the law to say that only the President and the Vice should declare assets publicly, fine. But, presently everybody who is holding political office is expected to do, and  I say it is not right. Those who made the law knew why they put the law that way. I could be investigated when I leave office.

“You don’t need to declare assets publicly, otherwise you are playing to the gallery.You don’t need to publicly declare assets. That’s a matter of principle. If I have to declare publicly, it means every polictical office holder will have to declare publicly. And it is not the right thing to do. That is my believe.

“It is not the President’s declaration of assets that would change the economy. There are challenges secuirty, power and revolutionising agriculture. These are areas we should be interested in . Whether Mr. Jonathan publicly declares his asstes or not is not the issue.       

On the controversial trip to Brazil for the Conference on Sustainable development, the President said he had no regret for attending the summit in spite of the instability in the country.

He said he could not afford to boycott the summit because of the country’s internal challenges, as doing do would have sent wrong signals to the international community.

He explained, “I have no regrets travelling to Brazil for the Rio Conference lat week. The issue of Boko Haram is very pathetic. I sympathise with people who have lost relations and property. People feel unsafe, and I feel the pain. As the president, if one person dies, I feel so sad.

“A lot of Nigerians who were worried that I traveled to Brazil did so out of ignorance.  One of the tactics of terrorists is to strangle governemnt . If they hear that the President, Vice President or Ministers could not travel because of their activities,  they would celebrate.

“The government of Nigeria must not stop for a second because of terror. Let the relevant security agencies ocntinue to do their work and allow governemnt to continue to function. The day government stops functioning, it communicates very serious negative signals to the international community. If governemnt stops to function, we would have played into the hands of the terrorists.

Boko Haram and their sponsors cannot and will never stop thegovernemnt from moving. All the arms of governemnt will continue to keep faith with their national and international engagements . They cannot bring us to our knees. We must continue to fight to bring Boko Haram to an end.”

 


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  • SilentObserver

    Obviously our dear Presido is completely ignorant of the situation or trying to be clever by half! As the chief public servant, it is part and parcel of the responsibility of his office, unfortunately, he deliberately avoided the rationale for the declaration of his assets on assumption of office, based on the vague excuse that the public would know – for someone who has served the public, it is only morally right to give account to that same public. Given the cesspit of corruption that he has vowed to fight, then he needs to set the right example!

    • The president answer the question by asking you to review his declaration as VP. In other words, I don’t have anything more than I did then.

    • Okeyezeana

      I am worried by the show of ignorance exhibited by most commentators on this forum. If you follow the constitution as stated, Mr JONATHAN would not have be sworn-in as the President, except he decleared his assets before a commissioner of oaths and such Declaration is filed with Code Of conduct .

  • Lanre

    This is what Section 140 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution states:
    A person elected to the office of President shall not begin to perform the functions of that office until he has declared his assets and liabilities as prescribed in this Constitution and he has taken and subscribed the Oath of Allegiance and the oath of office prescribed in the Seventh Schedule to this Constitution.
    So has President Goodluck Jonathan declared his assets and liabilities. The fifth schedule of the constitution that establishes the Code of Conduct Bureau states:

    The Bureau shall have power to:

    (a) receive declarations by public officers made under paragraph 12 of Part I of the Fifth Schedule to this Constitution;

    (b) examine the declarations in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct or any law;

    (c) retain custody of such declarations and make them available for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria on such terms and conditions as the National Assembly may prescribe;

    So President Jonathan have you declared your assets as required by law so that the media can inspect it. This is the basis of democracy. Openness and transparency.

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      My friend, please read something before u comment on it. GEJ has already declared his assets. The constitution gave him the choice to go private or public with it and he chose private. Both are constitutional. Get yourself educated, man.

      • ojulowoomooyo

        Mr Razormouth, why don’t you engage in solid argument backed by constitutional sections instead of raining abuses on critics?

      • Lanre

        Premium Times has not published my reply to you for some reason. So I am going to break it down for you.
        I am not in a popularity contest with you or anyone. The depth to which Nigeria has fallen makes it impossible for some of us to engage in any reasonable discourse with irredentists, bigots, cantankerous, faceless online trolls. For your information, I have no expectations of Goodluck Jonathan. The only reason why I made this post was the change in me that occurred after the gracious honor done to one of my political leaders – Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola. Since then, I have tried to study the man to give him some room that maybe he means well. The group that he belongs to (The PDP) and all their backers have pushed Nigeria to where it is today,

      • Lanre

        You go and educate yourself and read what I wrote. I quoted relevant aspects of the law and ended by asking a question: “Have you (Pres. Goodluck Jonathan) declared your assets by law so that the media can inspect it”. Or you did not read that? I have been in this game for long. I know the difference between Asset Declaration and Public Declaration of Assets. Finally, the quality of Governance has dipped to abysmal levels in Nigeria. I did not watch the online transmission of the media chat. I cringe each time Jonathan talks. But it is unbelievable that in 2012, the leader of a country that has produced scholars, a nobel laureate, a people of distinguished accomplishments will declare that he does “not give a damn” about a public declaration of assets. What is wrong with saying “I am aware of the law. I have declared my assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau. Any Nigerian is free to go and check what I own.”
        No. Rather. He does not give a damn. I never supported Jonathan. And I am repeating that for effect. I am studying him some more before I lump him with the other despicable characters that have unfortunately ruled Nigeria and pushed it to the brink of perdition.

  • Vicruth99

    Who is fooling who? Is this Nigerian president talking this way? I don’t have any doubt in my mind that this man is insane. It is a shame that Jonathan could talk this way. If he doesn’t have anything to hide, then what is stopping him from declaring his assets publicly. For him to open his big mouth to talk this way is a disgrace to Nigeria as a nation. He knows that Nigeria as a nation is facing with a lot of challenges such as security, power supply, revolutionizing agriculture as claimed in this piece, and yet billions and billions are disappearing everyday into his and other political office holders’ pockets. We can see that this man called Jonathan does not have any respect for Nigerians, the people he claims to be governing. With this, Is there hope for our NATION at all? For the fact that he knows what Nigerians need, and refuses to provide them, then he is insane. He is insane because he doesn’t even recognize his roles and responsibilities as a president to Nigerians. Think about it, this man does not fit to be our president. It is an error to have him there.

    • concernednigerian

      @ Vicruth99.May be you did not understand the President’s statement. Read again. there is nothing in the law that calls for public declaration of assets. the operative word is ‘public’. In any case, the President has said that criticising him is ‘big business’ so get on with it but remember to field yourself in 2015 so that Nigerians will have the opportunity to vote for you instead of voting for Jonathan.

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      the only thing insane is your comment. Gej did not break any law by not making his declaration public. Note that he has already declared his assets as required by constitution. He has a choice to go public or private and he choose privacy.If u dont like it. too bad. u shd learn to respect pple u dont agree with.

      • Gaskiya

        I feel so so sorry and sad for you to make out time and put down these words. If your leader is afraid of declaring his asset when there is allegation of curruption in every corner of his administration and you are making excuses for him. I pity your life as you have no positive future for yourself and anyone associated with you, FISH

        • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

          U are simply a cow. Ur future and that of ur entire family is already in the hands of boko haram. U are all doomed. U can not read simple english. let me say it again, u semi illiterate: JONATHAN HAS DECLARED HIS ASSETS. the only argument is whether it shd be public or private. Constitution gave him a choice and he exercised it. DO U GET IT NOW, mumu?

          • Gaskiya

            The point is that as a president if your asset declaration is not published for the public to see, there is absolutely no need to declare it.

            Hope u understand, mr. literate FISH

          • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

            @Cow brain. Go and tell that to Gen Abdusalami abubakar that wrote the 1999 constitution or shut up. The only question is: did GEJ obey the constitution? Yes. Quit hating, cow brain.

  • Murtala

    well, well, well, so why are people being tried by code of conduct bureau for declaring lesser that what they have? I think the C of C act makes it mandatory for any public office holder to declare his assets, may be not publicly (as in publishing on the pages of newpapers) but by filling out the assets declaration form (which then make it public anyway). So declaration now is a matter of principles not Law. Let me stop here before I get myself confused.

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      u are already confused. GEJ has already declared his assets. But the constitution gave him a choice to make that public or private and he made choice. I know ur tribal lenses wont let you see beyond ur nose.

      • Gaskiya

        The question i have for you is that; ”Is GEJ not a public property”?

        • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

          Is Tambuwal not a public property? Selective amnesia.

          • Gaskiya

            Am sure it wasnt tambuwal that asked GEJ to say he is not declaring his asset. Its more logical to deal with the issue at hand.

            Open ur eyes, FISH

          • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

            @cow brain. am sure u dont understand what ‘selective amnesia’ means. a dictionary might help.

  • Itohan

    @vicrth99 GEJ is a gud man with a gud heart,but becos of wat some people want,dey want to answer d name commander in thief() dey dnt want 2 give this a chance,wen militant came during yara dua time dey accept negotiation bt BH refuse becos some people want 2 rule. mr president is nt in sane, there is hope 4 niaja,people are inflating pain on people all in the name 2 disorganize dis govt,am so sorry 4 people who are been use by all dis devilish Nigerians politicians who are fighting at all cost to become president,be wise,dey are everywhere

  • The VULTURE – King of Offals

    GEJ is daft and a disgrace to our educational system that a man supposedly with a PHD – is this empty in logical reasoning.

    The reason for the public declaration is let the PUBLIC know what his current asset is and if anybody knows of any undeclared asset or if GEJ has unduly enriched himself while in office, for the public to file a complaint or draw same to the the attention of the appropriate authority.

    GEJ is the worst thing that ever happened to NIGERIA juxtaposing the fact that he supposedly – the most educated of lot that has ruled us!

    • Preye

      If ur wife is elected as a councilor or assembly woman and she’s made to declare her assets including yours publicly, will u be happy … Will u support it … Won’t it expose u and ur private business to public attack … Read in-between the lines …. He said if the law is amended to make only the president and vice to publicly declare, then it’s ok… But not forcing everyone down the line up to a councillor to declare …. It will be a big distraction to govt

      • patriot

        Preye, pls check what a public office means, & who a public official is. Taking a public office is to serve & not to acquire. If you want a private life, you have no business in politics or holding a public office. there is no two way about it.

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      ‘Worst thing that happened to Nigeria’… hear hear. thot it was abacha.

  • Lanre

    Why is Premium Times queueing my comment. Why have a comments section when some can comment and others can’t? Or have you also gone the usual Nigerian way of no standards in anything?

  • Truthman

    why cant Premium Times and other media houses go to the Code of Conduct Bureau to obtain a copy of his declaration and make it public? Why is the media playing to the antics of the oppositions who in their various states didn’t declare their own? After all Premium Times, Sahara reporters and other FG haters dig into NNPC, Finance and other sectors to get classified info published daily that they are stealing from us. Do your work and stop playing to the gallery. He has exercised his constitutional right that made him been sworn in as president. Do your work as watch dog and stop playing the opposition and making more Nigerians like those insulting GEJ to be well informed. How many of you commenting write the monthly pay in social media or even tell it to your family members? If the law says he should do and he refuses, then we can flog and chase him out. forcing him to make it public when the law did not ask him to is wrong and cannot change his orientation of governance. lets be matured and respect peoples private wishes and beliefs so we can leave peacefully.