Rotimi Akeredolu, the Governor of Ondo state has been called upon to declare his assets in conformity with the requirements of the law under the provisions of paragraph 11 of the 5th Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
A group, the Accountability And Watchdog Network (AWN) made the call in a joint statement issued by its Chairman, Ayodele Omolafe and Secretary, Olufemi Ogunleye on Friday and obtained by SaharaReporters correspondent in Akure, the state capital.
It would be recalled that Mr. Akeredolu had told SaharaReporters news crew during the electioneering period in the year 2016 that he would declare his asset “publicly” if emerged the governor of Ondo state.
“If I emerged has the governor, I will declare my assets publicly, note it,” he told our reporters in 2016.
AWN said its request complies with the requirements of the Nigeria Constitution and Bureau of Code of Conduct on the public declaration for political office holders including civil servants in the country.
The group asked Mr. Akeredolu to publicly declare his assets stressing that it would show transparency and enhance the people’s confidence with trust in the new administration of the state.
“Public disclosure of assets will give the general public in Ondo state a true picture of Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu’s simple lifestyle and will also send a powerful message to his yet to be constituted members of the cabinet that it is not going to be business as usual with his government.
“We are therefore fully in support of the demand for assets declaration; that is a place to start assessing and examine the administration of Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu in the state, as we all know that majority of political office holders are always richer by accumulating wealth and embezzling state fund against the first day they take up the positions in disguised poverty”
It maintained that the call had become necessary in view of the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice, Yemi Osibanjo, which many governors used their campaign mantra of “change” to seek the vote of electorates into power had since declared their own assets publicly.
“So, we trust that Governor Akeredolu will fulfill his long promise by publicly declaring his assets and compelling his cabinet members to declare their assets and publish widely the information and figures on the government information website and social media platforms for easy access and evaluation”
AWN added that the declaration would also help to checkmate corruption among the political officer holders in the state.
The group also promised to mount pressure on Governor Akeredolu to probe the past administration and government officials who are suspected to have looted the treasury of the state.
“We are aware that the governor has been meeting with senior heads of ministries, boards and parastatals in the state and lots of corruption cases perpetrated under the immediate past government in most of these ministries have been discovered.
“This is even why commissioners and key board members have not been appointed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) led government in the state into the ministries, boards, and agencies of the state of its three months in power.
It urged the governor not to cover up the corruption cases, which has been discovered were perpetrated by the cronies of his friend and former Governor Olusegun Mimiko in the state.
“Else, we would tag his own government as been the “most corrupt” in the history of the state if he dare engage in any cover up of the corruption case that has been discovered in some ministries” the group said.
ANW said this was also necessary in order to ascertain the level of foreign and local debts left behind by the immediate past Peoples Democratic Party administration of Olusegun Mimiko in the state.
“The state (Ondo) has been characterized by inflated contracts, huge and fake wage bills with huge debts of imaginable proportions. This is why a probe must be launch into the actual amounts paid to contractors on projects and what was left behind by the immediate past government” the statement read.