Last week, special adviser to Pres. Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, attracted criticism when he distorted a promise which was freely made by Buhari to Nigerians. The president had pledged several times during the campaign for the presidency that he will publicly declare his assets within the first 100 days of his administration. However Adesina said in an interview that Buhari never made such a promise to Nigerians, arguing that it was only the president’s party, the APC, which made the promise.
Nigerians quickly began to call Femi Adesina out on his new claims. Many argued that if it was an APC policy, it probably would have been communicated to party members down the line and the party would have also mandated governors in APC controlled states to publicly declare theirs. Even if the party made the push, Buhari never disagreed with it anywhere. More importantly, the promise was made personally by the president several times during the campaigns. He even released a document of 12 covenants and assets declaration was first on the list.
Before this latest controversy by Adesina, the president had claimed that the reason for his delay in declaring his assets was because he needed the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to verify the assets which he and vice president Yemi Osinbajo declared.
In an interview published by The Punch on Sunday, the CCB chairman, Sam Saba, however said that the commission is actually waiting on the president and his vice president before any verification can take place, making a lie to the claims by the presidency that it is waiting for the CCB.
Saba said that there are two phases involved in the verification process. “First is the conference verification which is the preliminary one where you come with all your papers, for example your statements of bank accounts, tax clearance, evidence of ownership of vehicles and property which you say you have. For instance, if you say you have three vehicles, let us see the registration numbers. We don’t have to see all the details. Once we are able to see the receipt of the purchase of the vehicle or the registration documents, we are satisfied.
“But we still have to see it physically and that is the second stage which we call field verification. So, we have conference verification during which you bring these papers. We accept the papers and we agree with you. We come to you on a fixed date when it is convenient for you to verify it physically. That is the second stage, which is the field verification. That has helped enormously.”
When Saba was asked if the bureau has started verifying the assets of the president and vice president, he said “the verification process is pending.” Asked to clarify, which of the stages was pending, he said, “Both the conference and the field verification exercises are pending.”
According to him, the first stage of verification will start “any moment from now”. He attributed the delay to the fact that “We are waiting for when it is convenient for Mr. President and his vice for us to go and do it.”
Source: The Punch