Abuja — President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja described Nigerians as a group of people that is notorious for cutting corners and unaccountable public life.
The president made this remark while receiving asset declaration forms in the State House from the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) ahead of his inauguration tomorrow for a second term in office.
He thanked the CCB team led by its Chairman, Prof. Mohammed Isa, for leading an institution which he said was at the vanguard of the fight against corruption in accordance with the principle of his administration to promote accountability.
Buhari promised to fill the form quickly and submit it to the agency with the instruction that the bureau should keep his forms very well when returned, saying he knew that some people who believe that they should not be questioned but are being questioned would move against him after leaving office in 2023.
While thanking the three-member team for accepting to serve in the agency, Buhari said CCB's existence was vital because the country depends on its assistance in the fight against corruption as his government strives to showcase Nigeria to the world as an accountable country.
"I am very pleased; I think I am meeting you for the first time since your appointment. I have never met you before. I thank you for accepting to be in this very important institution and I thank you very much for serving me my forms which I must fill constitutionally before my second term of office.
"I think we cannot over emphasise the importance of your office because Nigerians are notorious for shortcut in service and public responsibilities and we are trying to impress our nation and the world that this administration is based on accountability.
"It is only institutions like you that will bail us out from the efforts that we have been making to make sure that people in public office do not abuse that public office and that those who come in and those that are leaving in certain positions should make sure that they hold the integrity of the office and of the country generally.
"I am very pleased that you are here. I assure you, I will quickly fill this form and dispatch it back to you so that at the end of 2023, I believe there are a lot of people that will like to take it back on me.
"So, please, make sure you keep it safely because there are people who believe they shouldn't be questioned and some of them are already in trouble. I expect them to fight back and this is one of the instruments. So, I hope you will keep it when I finish. Thank you very much indeed."
Earlier, the chairman of the bureau, Isa, said they were in the State House to present the forms to both the president and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in accordance with the provision of the constitution that public officers should declare their assets at the beginning and end of their tenures.
Isa who congratulated the president on his re-election, also thanked him for his appointment, assuring him that the bureau would do its work with every sense of honesty.
"We first have to start by expressing our sincere gratitude to Mr. President for finding us worthy of being appointed to head this very important and sensitive agency as a pioneer anti-corruption institution. Mr. President, we are very much grateful for this honour done to us and we want to assure you that we will do our work with every sense of honesty.
"Secondly, we want to congratulate you for winning the 2019 general election and for the inauguration that is forthcoming on 29, May.
Mr. President, as part of the constitutional requirements, there is need for every public officer - president, vice-president, minister, members of the National Assembly to swear on his assets declaration and liabilities in compliance with paragraph 11 sub one of the Part one of Fifth Schedule to the Constitution.
"Mr. President, it is in view of this we found it pertinent to present ourselves and also present forms to Mr. President and the vice-president for end of tenure and beginning of new tenure in office. The forms are readily here with us for presentation."
Isa was accompanied to the meeting by his colleagues - Murtala Kankia and Dr. Emmanuel Attah.