SERAP challenges ex-president to disclose donations made to his library

SERAP also called on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to propose a bill seeking to regulate fundraising to presidential libraries.

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo

The group also called on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to propose a bill seeking to regulate fundraising to presidential libraries.

SERAP said this in a statement released on Sunday, March 5, by its  senior staff attorney, Timothy Adewale.

The statement reads:

"We urge Acting President to propose a bill that would specifically regulate and bring transparency to any future presidential library fundraising process, and make public disclosure of major donations towards the establishment of any such library mandatory.

"The proposed bill would give Nigerians a better view of major donations going to presidential libraries, and provide access to information as to whether donors gain any special Aso Rock influence.

"The bill would minimise the potential for a quid pro quo, influence-peddling; and help to build trust and confidence among a citizenry that already questions the ethics of elected officials.

"Proposing bill that would provide information to Nigerians and allow them to know those who help pay for presidential libraries is not only a matter of public interest but also crucially important to enhance transparency, accountability and strengthen this government’s anti-corruption efforts.

"It’s unfair to Nigerians for a sitting or former president to raise an unlimited amount of money for a presidential library and not to have the obligation to publish information on the major contributors."

The group stressed that if  transparency is not mandated, potential donors may seek to use library donations as a means to secure political favours.

It said the proposed bill should include a requirement to disclose details about each contributor, total value of each contribution, the source(s) of the contribution, and the date of each contribution.

It added: "The bill should also prohibit the making of a contribution through a corporation or other legal entity that may be used to conceal the identity of the person actually providing the contribution.

"Former President Olusegun Obasanjo would serve public interest by making a voluntary disclosure of every single donation, particularly large donations, to his newly launched presidential library.

"This would contribute to greater openness, something that the presidential library seeks to promote about the work and achievements of Obasanjo while in government."

The Olusegun Obasanjo presidential library was officially commissioned in Ogun state on Saturday, March 4, as part of activities to mark ex-president's 80th birthday.

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