By Yomi Kareem
As the race for the country’s number one seat intensifies ahead of 2023 presidential election, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has sent an open letter to presidential candidates, urging them to urgently publish details of their assets and liabilities, and to publicly commit to rejecting vote buying and electoral bribery before and during the elections.
The organisation maintained that, while there is no constitutional requirement for presidential candidates to publish their assets and liabilities before elections, doing so would show that they can stand up for transparency in assets declaration by public officers if elected.
In the open letter dated 11 June 2022 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “The public office is a public trust. As such, the voters deserve to hear from presidential candidates regarding what they will do about issues of public interest, particularly with respect to integrity, selflessness, openness, accountability, human rights, and the rule of law if elected.”
SERAP said, “As you and your parties prepare for presidential election campaigns, we hope that you will seize the opportunity to show your commitment to addressing these fundamental issues of public interest by immediately publishing details of your assets and rejecting vote buying, intimidation and harassment.”
The letter, read in part, “Publicly committing to these issues will also show the voters that if elected you would act solely to protect the public interest; and avoid placing yourself under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence you in the discharge of your constitutional duties.
“It would also show that you would be accountable to the public for your actions and submit yourself to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this,” the organisation stated.