Engr. Seyi Makinde, the governor of Oyo state, caused quite a stir in the media back on July 15 when he said that his assets and that of his family was worth over N48 billion.
The declaration filed in his asset form, as of May 28 when he picked it up at the CCB’s office in his state; consisted of 33,730,000 units of shares, Eurobonds worth $3,793,500, while other Shares, debentures and securities were worth N120,500,000. Makinde’s companies also came up to a total of N3.389 billion; whereas, a cumulative total of all his assets, alongside his real estate, home and abroad, stands at N48,150,736,889.
Shortly after Makinde’s public declaration of his assets, the Chairman of Oyo state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Akin Oke, remarked that the origin of the governor’s wealth is unknown.
There were also fears in some quarters that the governor may have used anticipatory declaration – a gambit commonly used by public office holders who have the intention of over-declaring their assets so that they can enrich themselves to match the declared amount, by the time they leave office.
It could be in the light of this – to really ascertain if the declared assets are lesser or more than the actual worth; as well as to match pace for pace the transparency motive which Makinde had already set in motion by his public asset declaration – that the CCB and the media are focusing their searchlights on Makinde.
The Director of the Bureau in Oyo state, Bisi Atolagbe, at the meeting of South-West state directors of the Bureau, revealed, as he disclosed in an interview with reporters over the weekend that the body has begun the process of verifying the assets declared by Makinde. The agency also revealed that it has started reviewing the asset declaration of the governors in the South-West region who just left office in order to evaluate if there has been any undue enrichment in the assets of the ex-governors.
Meanwhile, in spite of this frequent exercise of asset declaration which public servants are made to go through, politicians have been known to employ the services of expert financial analysts and professionals to ensure that, even if they had enriched themselves while in government, such would never be discovered by any CCB verification. There are those who were known to have unduly profited from the corruption in their time in office but who are never known to be under the searchlights of the CCB as they continue to walk free of any consequences of the law.
Work has started in the verification of the content of declaration submitted by Governor Makinde. At the right time, the report will be available. It is not about noise making, but technically doing the work to ascertain the assets declared.
This would be about the first time a public servant’s asset declaration was treated intricately like an egg by both the CCB and the media.
Opposition party stalwarts, whom Makinde may have outshone with this populist gambit of transparency, may not be lying low after all. They may altogether be pulling strings and finding ways to ensure that some fault is found in Makinde’s asset claim – either now or at the end of his tenure.
And by Atolagbe’s comment, it would seem that if the body found any evidence of anticipatory declaration in the declared assets, Makinde may find himself docked too soon in the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT)’s witness box – even before his term in office elapses.
The Nation Online NG
Featured Image Source: Punch Newspaper