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INTERVIEW: It’s Not Mandatory For Public Office Holders To Declare Assets Publicly – Fafunmi

LEGISREPORTS NG – While many people are criticising some key public holders for not openly declaring their assets, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Dayo Saka Fafunmi has said that it is not compulsory for them to do so.

The lawmaker, who is representing Ifako/Ijaiye Constituency 1, said that the constitution only stipulates that they must fill asset declaration form produced by the Code of Conduct Bureau, adding that it is a matter of choice to make the declaration public.

The lawmaker speaks on the performance of Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and other matters in this interview he granted PETER AKINWANDE of LEGISREPORTS recently. Excerpts:

President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have declared their assets and people are saying that other public office holders should follow suit. Do you agree with this?

It is part of the law that every public office holder must declare his or her asset, but the law does not say that it should be made public. If the President and the Vice President chose to make their own public, it is a good development and we all know that they are both incorruptible men and it is a right step in the right direction. The former president did not declare his asset publicly likewise many other past presidents of the country. The essence of the declaration is that the government should have an idea of who you are, what you stand for and others. What they want to know is your worth. The form demands that you must give information about how you come about certain things. There are some technical aspects that are not clear to the people. If the president and the vice president have declared their assets publicly and the governors, senators and members of the House of Representatives follow suit, I don’t see why members of the states houses of assembly cannot do the same.
It is what we consider as moral ethical standard, if it is agreed that we should all do that, nothing should stop us from doing so.

Do you support capital punishments for corrupt public office holders?

Capital punishments is no more popular globally. What people do now is to reform an offender. If you kill someone, you have not made him or her regret his or her actions. But if you sentence him or her to a long jail term, where he suffers and dies gradually without an opportunity for parole, he would regret his act and he would send messages to others not to commit such an offence.
Also, sometimes we are hasty in taking decisions and you would discover that you have punished the wrong person. If it is a capital punishment, it cannot be reversed, but a jail term can be reversed. Rather than capital punishment for public office holders that are corrupt, we can take them to court and put them in prison once they are found guilty.

How will you assess Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of the state in the last 100 days

100 days are too short to assess what the Governor is capable of doing. What we have been trying to achieve is to consolidate on the achievements of the past administration and see how we can build a more formidable team. At the federal level, President Muhammadu Buhari is trying to block all the loopholes in the economy to have a good team as ministers. The same thing is being reflected across the country. How many Governors have appointed commissioners out of the 36 states of the federation and when the executive council is not in place, there is a limit to which the Governor can achieve based on the constitution. The approval for projects goes through the tenders board or procurement committee depending on the state concerned. There is little we can do until we are able to build that solid foundation. So, that is what he has been doing.
In the last 100 days, he was able to reshuffle some ministries. He wants to re-invigorate and re-brand the ministries. So, he created the Ministry of Wealth Creation to cater for the people. This is a foundation that would make the state better in the nearest future.

Some people believe that the Governor has been dismantling the structure he met on ground, what would you say to this?

I read what people have been saying on this in the newspapers. The Governor has the prerogative to do what he feels is right. You should have a vision that leads to provision. It is when you have the vision that you would start making adjustments. That is why you are seeing the various re-alignment of ministries to achieve the vision of the government. I don’t see how renaming or amending a ministry would affect the growth of a state. I believe that this is an administration that has come to serve the people. We can wait till he clocks one year before we can really start assessing him.

Is it correct to say that members of the Lagos State House of Assembly have been going on one holiday or the other since they resumed?

It is not correct because the constitution empowers the parliament to regulate its own proceedings. We have the time we should sit or go on holidays. We resumed in June, 2015 and the first assignment we do is to screen gubernatorial nominees, but we are still waiting for that from the Governor. However, most states of the federation have not appointed commissioners apart from those states, where there were no elections.
There are some indices that determine public polices such as public safety, public moral and public interest. You might not know what is happening internally and why it is taking so long to appoint commissioners or ministers. It might be a way of getting round pegs on round holes and square pegs in square holes. But it is always in the interest of the public. The House is working, our workings do not start or end on the floor of the House. We have had several adhoc committees and I have been the chairman of three of such committees. Other principal officers and members of the House have been chairmen and members of adhoc committees. We ought to have six weeks recess, but we have not had six weeks at a stretch and we still remain a shining light in the whole of the federation.

Post from Legis Reports Ng

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