By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has defended his decision shunning entreaties to make his assets public while in office between 2011 and 2015.
The former president, whose action is captured in the new book, ‘Against the Run of Play: How an incumbent president was defeated’ by Segun Adeniyi, argued that he did not believe that declaring his assets publicly could stem the tide of corruption or degrade the level of terrorism in the country.
Jonathan said: “It is not the President declaring his assets that will end Boko Haram and whether I am criticised from head to toe I will not declare my assets publicly; it is not right; I did not even want to declare my assets as VP but was forced by the then President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
“The law is clear. A public officer should declare his asset, and if there are issues, then the relevant agencies would have a basis to assess whether you have amassed wealth or not.
Pressed further to make public his assets in the spirit of the anti-corruption war and moral basis, the book quotes Jonathan as saying, “I don’t give a damn about it. The law is clear about it and so, making it public is not issue and I will not play into the hands of people. I have nothing to hide.
“I declared under Yar Ádua because he did it, but it is not proper; it is not the president declaring assets that will change the country,” he insisted.
The book noted, “By refusing to make public his assets declaration, Jonathan easily played into the hands of the opposition that had started to define him as a corrupt leader.
“That characterisation hounded him throughout his tenure and would become a major campaign point in 2015.
“But if there was any corruption scandal that did incalculable damage to the credibility of his government, it was the mismanagement of the fuel subsidy funds,” the book noted.
It went further: “And with that, critical stakeholders, including organised labour unions and civil society groups-responded with anger and condemnation, vowing to challenge the Federal Government by calling for a nationwide strike.”