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Disclose Donations Made To Your Library, SERAP Tells Obasanjo

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged former president Olusegun Obasanjo to disclose donations made to his presidential library.

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

In a statement on Sunday, Timothy Adewale, SERAP’s senior staff attorney, said the bill when signed into law would ensure transparency in such donations.

Adewale said Osinbajo should work closely with the national assembly to ensure the speedy passage of such bill into law.

“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 statement read.

“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.”

SERAP said without openness and transparency, 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.

“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,” it read.

“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.”

On Saturday, the Olusegun Obasanjo presidential library was officially commissioned in Ogun state.

The launch of the library was part of activities to mark Obasanjo’s 80th birthday.

The library was incorporated in November 2002 as a not-for-profit organisation

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