• What the positions are in Abia, Delta, Kaduna, Edo, Benue, Enugu, Ekiti
By Enyeribe Ejiogu, Okey Sampson (Umuahia), Paul Osuyi (Asaba), Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky (Benin), Geoffrey Anyanwu (Enugu), Priscilla Ediare (Ado-Ekiti)
Like the extremely hot lava that flows when a volcano erupts, burning anything on its part, Nigerians across the country have risen in total condemnation of the outrageous pensions and gratuities packaged and passed into law for the benefit of governors and their deputies who presided over the affairs of their various states, either for one term of four years or two terms, totalling eight years.
Horrified by the humongous pensions approved by state assemblies for the exiting governors and their deputies, Nigerians, who expressed their anger in interviews with Sunday Sun reporters, described the beneficiary former state chief executives as insensitive, absolutely callous personalities who joyfully accepted the huge benefits doled out to them at a time when real pensioners in the same states, who served honourably for 35 years before retiring were being owed years and months of pension arrears with no hope of ever receiving the unpaid pensions in their lifetime.
Many of such pensioners have become infirm, suffering from diabetes, hypertension, among other health challenges and very unable to purchase the routine drugs they need to stay alive, not to talk of eating basic good, life-sustaining food daily. It smacks of near-criminal indifference for the former state governors to initiate or condone the passage of such pension laws, which they gleefully assented to give them effect.
In this report, Sunday Sun presents a picture of the situation in the first installment of reports from selected states.
Twenty-two years have passed since the Abia State Governor/Deputy Governor’s Pension Law was enacted in 2001 during the first governorship term of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, the current Chief Whip of the National Assembly.
Like similar legislations in other states, the summary provisions state that the governor and his deputy are entitled to severance pay, personal vehicles and other goodies after leaving office.
In specific terms, Section 3 of the law provides that: “A person who had held office as a democratically elected Governor or Deputy Governor of Abia State of Nigeria and was not removed from office as a result of impeachment shall be entitled to such pension, allowances and privileges in accordance with this law.”
Section 4 states inter alia: “They shall be charged on and paid out of the consolidated revenue of the state such sums of money as may from time to time be granted by the state government by way of pension, allowance and privileges in accordance with this law.”
Section 5 gave a detailed overview of the Law when it stated that, “A person who has held office as Governor in accordance with Section 3 of this law shall be entitled to: (i) pension for life at a rate equivalent to the salary of the incumbent Governor. (ii) An official car with a police driver, two state security services agents, two armed policemen for the security of his house and provision of adequate security comprising, at least, two armed policemen for his person during his lifetime at the expense of the state government. (iii) allowances for a cook, steward, driver and gardener to be determined from time to time by government. (iv) provision of medical attention for his person subject to approval of the incumbent governor.”
The law is applicable to a democratically elected governor or deputy governor of the state who has successfully completed his/her tenure.
Going by the year of enactment of the Law, two governors, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and Chief Theodore Orji were supposed to have benefited from it.
However, Sunday Sun gathered that Kalu’s successor, Theodore Orji could not pay the former this entitlement, but it was not clear if the administration of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has cleared the arrears.
Since the Law was enacted in 2001, there is no evidence that it has been amended.
Condemning the law and its provisions, Chief Michael Orji, a businessman, said it was wrong for the law to have been enacted in the first place.
He wondered how someone who after serving his state for a maximum of eight years without contributing to the pension fund, would all of sudden, become a pensioner with such heavy amount of money to his credit monthly as pension, while workers who contributed to the fund for 35 years, could hardly be paid after their service.
“It does not make any meaning at all that people who served the state for just a period of eight years only, and never in any way contributed to the pension fund, would be given such jumbo pay as pension, while those who contributed to the fund for 35 years, go home empty handed.
“The governors to me, should not be paid any pension. They should make do with what they got while in office.”
It is not clear how much ex-governors and their deputies receive as pension in Kaduna State as nobody is ready to speak on the issue.
Specifically, government officials were not ready to comment on the matter at the time of this report.
However, Sunday Sun findings revealed that a former governor of the state, whose name is being withheld, had once stated that his monthly pension was N741,000.
In May 2020, the Kaduna State House of Assembly amended the Pension and Gratuity (Governor and Deputy Governor) Law 2006. The amended law, which is now cited as the Pension and Gratuity (Governor and Deputy Governor) (Amendment) Law, No. 10 of 2020 states in section 6 that: “Notwithstanding the provision of Section 5 of this Law, in the event of the death of a serving governor or deputy governor, a lump sum amount of the gross annual salary of the incumbent governor or deputy governor shall be paid as death benefits to the family of the deceased governor or deputy governor as the case may be.”
Sunday Sun gathered that the only Kaduna State governor that died in office was Patrick Yakowa who was governor of the state between May 20, 2010 and December 15, 2012. He died in a helicopter crash as a sitting governor.
But as at the time of filing this report none of Yakowa’s family member was willing to speak on the pension whether it was being paid or not, and how much.
There are five former civilian and military governors each in Kaduna State. The civilian governors include the late Balarabe Musa. Others are Abba Musa Rimi, Ahmed Makarfi, Namadi Sambo and Mukhtar Ramalan Yero. And by May 29, Governor Nasir El-rufai would join the league of former governors, while his deputy, Hadiza Balarabe was picked as deputy to the Governor-elect, Senator Uba Sani.
The living former military governors of the state include Dangiwa Umar, Abdullahi Sarki Mukhtar, Lawal Jafaru Isa, Hammed Ali and Umar Faruk Ahmed.
However, when contacted for information about pension for former governors in the state, the Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Pension Bureau, Prof Salamatu Isa said, “It is not part of our mandate as we do not have such in our State Pension Law as an agency.”
In a matter of days, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State would hand over after exhausting the constitutional two terms of four years each at Dennis Osadebey House, Asaba.
As expected, the astute politician would be retiring into a life of sustained luxury like his successors, courtesy of the Delta State Governor and Deputy Governor Pension Rights and Other Benefits (Amendment Law) 2019, which makes provision for generous retirement benefits.
The law was enacted by the state House of Assembly in 2005 during the tenure of ex-governor James Ibori and his deputy, Benjamin Elue, and was first amended in 2009 during the tenure of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.
Its amendment in 2019 during Okowa’s tenure, was ostensibly tailor-made to extend the pension largesse to his kinsman, Sam Obi (now late) who was acting governor for about six weeks in 2010.
The law makes provision for ex-governors to be paid allowances and other benefits pegged at N50 million annually.
The listed life benefits include a furnished duplex in Delta State or any state in the country worth over N300 million; 350 per cent gratuity of basic salary for the first tenure; and gratuity of 450 per cent of basic salary for second tenure.
It also includes a pension of 70 per cent of the first term; a pension of 80 per cent of second term; medical treatment for him and members of his immediate family; and two vehicles, including an utility vehicle not below N20 million each every two years.
They are also entitled to two armed policemen and one DSS officer; 15 days annual vacation in a place of choice; an office with four aides, with each earning N100,000 monthly.
Although there has been public outcry against the law, outgoing Governor Okowa, in 2020 (one year after the second amendment) said his administration had no plans to repeal it.
“There is an existing law in Delta State on what accrues to the governors and their deputies, that I don’t want to touch,” Okowa had said.
Regardless, there has been relentless agitation against the controversial law by members of the public who are insisting that the former governors were simply eating the future of the state, if not abolished.
The state chairman of Association of Contributory Retirees (ACR), Mr. Anthony Osanekwu, blamed labour unions for allowing the pension law, describing it as obnoxious.
“It looks as if we don’t have labour unions in Delta State because if we have labour unions, they will kick against such obnoxious law. In Anambra, our next door neighbouring state, they wanted to start it, and labour kicked against it seriously and they stopped it.
“Look, they think that they are enjoying now but wait, 10 years to come, they will not be able to pay all these governors that they are paying their salaries for life, even permanent secretaries.
“The colonial masters that left and told us that we are going to earn 70 per cent of our salaries when we are retiring, knew what they did but now they are politicising everything.
“A time will come, they will not be able to pay these permanent secretaries that are going with their salaries for life; the governors and their deputies that are going with their salaries for life; the professors and the judges that are going with their salaries for life.
“If you calculate all these things, that is what Okowa is always calculating and will be saying that he spent N2 billion for pension. The question is how much is our own there?” Osanekwu wondered.
A human rights lawyer and Coordinator, Centre for the Vulnerable and Underprivileged (CENTREP), Oghenejabor Ikimi, would rather blame the state lawmakers for operating a rubber stamp legislature, describing the jumbo benefits for ex-governors provided in the law, as immoral.
His words: “It is immoral to have that kind of pension law for ex-governors, it is morally wrong for you to pay ex-governors and their deputies so much when we are unable to pay our pensioners in the state. It is immoral for a retired governor and any ex-governor with conscience to take such money at the expense of Deltans.
“You know the House of Assembly is just an extension of the executive, they are rubber stamps, so they just passed this law against Deltans particularly the impoverished ones. I think that they should repeal that law. Any governor that has good intentions for Deltans should repeal that law because what these governors earn in four or eight years runs into billions of naira.
“You can’t govern Delta State or any state in the Niger Delta and remain poor. Once you govern any of these oil-bearing states, you are already a billionaire for life. So what are you using all these monies for? That is why I said it is immoral, and it is an aggression against the poor people of the state.
“Let us use this money to develop the state, to pay retirees. Infrastructural development is gone, we have forgotten about infrastructural development totally. A lot of things in the state are in chaos when it comes to infrastructural development, the state is in chaos. We don’t have adequate judges to hear cases. A lot of things are wrong.
“So I implore the incoming governor and the House of Assembly, the first thing they should do is to repeal that law in the interest of Deltans in order to earn the confidence of Deltans. We are hopeful that the new governor will do justice to that law.
“No governor should be entitled to pension because constitutionally, the position of the governor is not pensionable. So it is against the constitution, we don’t have any moral right to do that. Why not just make official corruption punishable by death, but they won’t do that.”
On his part, the state chairman of the Labour Party, Tony Ezeagwu, said it was unfortunate to continue to pay ex-governors with the state resources, when millions of people were languishing in abject poverty.
“It is quite unfortunate that in Nigeria, we don’t look at the masses but rather we do what suits us and our families. If not, Nigeria cannot be languishing in abject poverty and people are busy creating jumbo pay for themselves.
“If you watch, these are people who have worked, retired, they are not even supposed to have another pension. It is an aberration, but because we don’t have a country that has rule of law, that is why somebody will retire, take a government appointment and again get another pension.
“The governors have worked in their respective fields of endeavour and retired. So they are being unfair to Deltans because if we keep sharing this money like that, at the end of the day, the allocation will just be for paying ex-governors.
“As far as I am concerned, that decision should be rescinded and the right thing should be done. We have a state House of Assembly that can equally amend the law, laws are made to be amended when the need arises. I think the need has arisen for them to look at that law and amend it.
“As governor, you have taken enough, and they still want to set aside money to be given to you again, it is an aberration that should not stand. If I have my way, I will completely abolish it, they don’t need it. Once you finish your tenure as a governor, go home, you have taken your own piece of the cake, so you go home with nothing,” Ezeagwu said.
Nevertheless, the state Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, had exonerated the outgoing administration from enacting the controversial law, noting that the 2019 amendment was aimed at accommodating the late Sam Obi.
Aniagwu said there was no new pension law for ex-governors in the state, as speculated in opposition quarters.
“Okowa did not sign any new law with respect to governors’ pension, we did not sign any new law, what we have is an existing law that has been there before now.
“And just because they are still looking for ways to possibly pinch us, they are putting it in the social media making it look like we have signed a new law with new benefits.
“Let them tell you the date that that law was signed. Let them tell you when the House of Assembly considered the law, let them tell you what the debate was like, who was present when the law was signed.
“They know the truth but they just want to deliberately tell stories that are at variance with the reality,” he said.
In Edo State, the bill entitled: “A bill for a law to amend the 2007 Pension Rights of the Governor and Deputy Governor Law” sent to the state house of assembly by the then governor, Adams Oshiomhole few days to the end of his tenure, was speedily approved by a committee of the whole house.
The only amendment to the pension rights of the governor and deputy then, was for the duo to enjoy residential buildings worth N200 million and N100 million, respectively in any location of their choice in Nigeria.
According to the bill with the subhead entitled: “Provision of a house,” a house shall be built in a location of choice in Nigeria for the former governor provided that the total cost of building the house shall not be in excess of N200 million while N100 million for the deputy governor.
Other benefits to be enjoyed by the governor are, a pension for life at a rate equivalent to 100 per cent of his last annual salary in addition to an officer not above salary grade level 12 as Special Assistant, a personal secretary not below grade level 10 who shall be selected by the former governor from the public service of Edo State. He is also entitled to have two cooks, two armed policemen as security, three vehicles to be bought by the state government and liable to be replaced every five years, three drivers who shall be selected by the former governor and paid by the state government, as well as free medical treatment for the governor and his immediate family.
On the other hand, the deputy governor is entitled to 100 per cent of his last annual salary as pension, a personal staff not above salary grade level 12 as Special Assistant, a personal secretary not below grade level 09 who shall be selected by the former deputy governor from the public service of the state, a cook, two policemen as security. Also approved for him include, two vehicles to be bought by the state government and liable to be replaced every five years, two drivers who shall be selected by the former deputy governor and paid by the state government and free medical treatment for him and his immediate family.
It is not, however, clear whether the law has been fully implemented in the state.
At the Edo State House of Assembly, one of the top management staff who preferred anonymity, said though the information is in the public domain, but he can’t lay hold on any document to that effect because of the crisis that once engulfed the state legislature.
The source said that during the crisis, most vital documents were carted away by hoodlums who invaded the offices.
Expressing his resentment, Comrade Omobude Agho, former coordinator general, Edo Civil Society Organizations EDOCSO, said that the governor and his deputy should not be accorded such pay based on morality.
“To the best of my moral knowledge, it is not proper for a any governor or deputy governor to be apportioned any pension, “ he said.
Also speaking, Samson Momorin, said paying former governors and their deputies is a way to enrich the rich and that it should be stopped.
“My heart bleeds for Nigeria. Why is it that the rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer everyday?
“The so-called governors are just about leaving now, highest, their tenure is just eight years and where we have civil servants who have worked for 35 years that can’t even get one tenth of what the so-called politicians are getting.
“Two, it is painful that we are wasting our resources for these politicians. These monies should have been channelled into something else. There are some persons who are in need of it, who can’t earn up to hundred dollars in a month.
“I look at these payments as a way of siphoning our money and we must put an end to it. We are complaining that the country is broke and we are still looking for a way to enrich the rich by giving them bonuses, to me, it is unacceptable”, Momorin said.
The second term of Governor Godwin Obaseki ends in November next year.
Previously in Benue State, governors had no pension benefits as there was no law enacted to that effect. However, the outgoing Governor Samuel Ortom in April this year initiated and submitted a bill to the state House of Assembly seeking to place former governors and their deputies on gratuity, pension and other benefits.
Through his Media Aide, Mr Wuese Orshi, the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Engr. Titus Uba, confirmed that the House received the draft bill, which was presented and passed the first reading on the floor of the assembly
Orshi who noted that the bill known as former Governors Maintenance Bill said: “At the moment, we don’t have anything, but the outgoing governor, by way of legislation, has submitted a bill to the House of Assembly seeking that the state should be maintaining both former governors and former deputy governors. As we speak, the bill has enjoyed first reading.
“We don’t discuss bills at this stage, we give out information about bills considering their progress at the house. So, at the moment, it has enjoyed first reading and we will continue to intimate the public on the progress.
“But whether it will be passed or not, we cannot ascertain at this level.”
Reacting to the development, a former state Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Godwin Anya, said that he had no knowledge of what the bill entails.
His words: “I don’t understand what that bill is all about because politicians will always have big and fat wallet while in office and the civil servants are always there suffering. I don’t know if they feel that workers are nothing.
“They should be talking about workers and what workers are taking. After they put in a lot for the politicians to enjoy, at the end of the day, they go home and die of hypertension.
“I think the governors already have enough while in office, they don’t need to be paid pension and gratuity just after serving for eight years while workers go hungry. I don’t understand that.”
Meanwhile, the incoming All Progressives Congress (APC) administration has raised the alarm concerning the bill, saying the outgoing Samuel Ortom administration has perfected plans to deepen Benue’s woes before and after exit from office.
The Governor-elect, Rev Fr. Hyacinth Alia, in a statement signed by his Director of Communications, Kula Tersoo, expressed concern over the action.
“It has come to our knowledge that the outgoing governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has forwarded a bill to the State House of Assembly that will place ex-governors, starting with him, on gratuity, pension and other benefits.
“The bill also stipulates that after May 29th when he will become ex-governor, Ortom should be allowed by law to go with some choice property of government in his possession as his post-service package,” he disclosed.
Tersoo noted that the bill, which he said was sighted by impeccable sources, has provisions to the effect that: “Governor Ortom should be built a mansion of his taste in any part of the country he chooses to stay after leaving Government House; his medical trips with those of his family members should be footed by the state in addition to a jumbo monthly pay package.”
He, therefore, said: “It is rather appalling that Ortom, who throughout his time as governor of Benue State treated pensioners with utmost impunity, negligence and violations that pushed most of them into destitution now wants to be a pensioner.
“We, therefore, call on all citizens of conscience to intervene by restraining their representatives at the Benue State House of Assembly from initiating any action that will facilitate passing the bill in order not to deepen the despondency of the state.”
Also speaking, another resident who doesn’t want to be named, said: “The truth is if they serve credibly, then they deserve it, but in the case where they have stolen and plundered the state into poverty and there is no development, the communities are deserted, workers are not being paid, pensioners are starved, where does he want his own pension and gratuity to come from?
In Enugu State, pension benefits law for former governors and their deputies was enacted by the state House of Assembly on August 2, 2007, under the leadership of the then Speaker, Hon. Eugene Odo, during administration of former Governor Sullivan Chime.
Known as the Enugu State Gubernatorial Pensions Law, 2007, it provides among others that, “Any person who has held office as Governor or Deputy Governor under the provisions of the Constitution shall be entitled to Pension for life at a rate equivalent to the annual salary of the incumbent Governor or Deputy Governor respectively, provided that such a person was not removed from office by the process of impeachment or for breach of any provisions of the Constitution.”
It was, however, amended on May 9, 2017 during the first term of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the outgoing governor who will finish his second term on May 29. The incumbent Speaker of the state assembly, Hon. Edward Ubosi, presided over the state legislature at the time.
Explaining the reason for the amendment, the House stated that the purpose was to restrict the applicability of the law to elected persons only, and thereby reduce the number of persons to whom the law would have applied.
The amendment was said to have effectively reduced the financial burden that would have been borne by the state under the 2007 Law.
However, another attempt to further amend the Law in March, 2021 under the leadership of the same Speaker, Obosi, and in same administration of Ugwuanyi, met a brickwall, as there was great outcry of the masses against the new amendment.
The Executive Bill, which was for a law to provide life pension for the former governor and deputy governor of Enugu State had scaled through first reading at the State Assembly before the people of the state protested.
The piece of legislation was said to make the former governor or deputy governor entitled to receive gratuity as well as pension for life at the expense of the state government and also made provision for medical allowance not exceeding N12 million per annum for one surviving spouse, provided that such spouse was married to the governor while in office.
The bill which was stepped down following the outcry of the masses was said to also have provisions that the state government would provide adequate security for the former governors for their lifetime, and would provide three vehicles to the governor and replace them every four years.
It also provided that “when a former governor or former deputy governor dies, the state government should make adequate arrangement and bear the financial responsibility for his burial.
“The state government should pay a condolence allowance of a sum equivalent to the annual basic salary of the incumbent to his next of kin.”
The House Leader and member representing Udenu Constituency, Ikechukwu Ezeugwu, said it was unfortunate that the people did not exercise patience to know the content of the amendment before they began to protest, stressing that the amendment they proposed was for the benefit of the state.
The national coordinator of the pro-South East sociopolitical group, Save Enugu Group (SEG), one of the groups that vehemently opposed the bill, Chief Willy Ezugwu, said that his group saw what the lawmakers wanted to do as unfair to the state.
He said: “It is shocking that while a state like Lagos, with high Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) that runs into billions of naira monthly, has abolished pensions for former governors, the Enugu State House of Assembly allowed such a bill to pass first reading when such a law will deplete the meagre Enugu State revenue to the tune of over N2 billion annually.
“It’s more disheartening to discover that the proposed law is an executive bill. More worrisome is the provision in the bill for medical allowance not exceeding N12 million per annum for one surviving spouse of a former governor, ‘provided that such spouse was married to the governor while in office.’”
However, Jude Nnamani, a public affairs analyst, had a different opinion as he chronicled the history of the law and the amendments so far, insisting that the recent proposed amendment was to remove some unnecessary loads in the law, stressing that it would have saved more money for the state, than the way the law is now.
Just like their counterparts in other states, members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly enacted the Law No. 17 in 2012, to provide a very generous life pension for the former governors and deputy governors of the state. However, the law in Section 2, paragraph ‘B’ specifically excluded governors “removed from office by impeachment or by court of competent jurisdiction for breach of any provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) before the expiration of tenure in office.
Under Section 4, and in fairness, the law also included as beneficiaries governor or deputy governor who vacate office before the expiration of their term in office for reasons other than impeachment or breach of any provision of the Constitution, stating that such beneficiary would be paid pension on a pro-rata basis for the number of years such person held such office.
Going further, the law states in Section 5: “Any person who has held office as the Governor or Deputy Governor shall be entitled to pension for life at a rate equivalent to the annual salary of an incumbent Governor or Deputy Governor, such person shall be entitled to a monthly entertainment and upkeep allowance as may be determined by the state government from time to time.”
And in Section 6, it stated:”Any person previously occupying the office of the Deputy Governor shall cease to receive pension as Deputy Governor in the event of being elected Governor and qualifying for pension as Governor and not (separately) as Governor and Deputy Governor.”
Interestingly, the law makes it mandatory, in Section 7, that the pension for former governors of the state and their deputies should be paid as a first line charge on the upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the state.
As would be expected, credible voices in the state whose views were sought on the Ekiti State pension scheme for former governors and their deputies were swift and furious in their reactions.
Speaking to Sunday Sun, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) in Ekiti State, Comrade Joel Akinola said: “There are things that are expedient, but morally deficient. When you are talking of political leaders, elected officers who have been vested with the mandate to serve the people, a lot of hope has been placed on them. Let me now say here that while they were in service, when they have a tenure of either four years or maximum of eight years and when they were in service they were exposed to all benefits, which we refer to as perquisites of office, which include, free housing, free transport, free feeding, free medical services, free security and other benefits that are not known to the public and I think in their terms of appointment, they were not appointed, they were elected to serve and even while they were there, they had all these benefits at their disposal. Nobody queried them, they had the latitude to enjoy all these things to the fullest and incidentally to the disadvantage of the society or the electorate that elected them.
“But, come to think of it, we have workers that were employed with terms of appointment, of which on retirement, they are entitled to certain benefits like pensions and gratuities and these people will serve for nothing less than 35 years or being of 65 years of age. Now, let’s compare these two groups of people, the elected ones who have maximum of eight years of tenure and those appointed serving the state for 35 years. And these people serving for 35 years, they have no right to free medical services, they have to pay from their meagre salaries, they have to buy whatever they want from their meagre salaries, but which those elected are enjoying free and when they want to leave they will want to part with humongous severance allowances, and nobody can question them, not only parting with all these huge allowances, but as soon as they leave office, they jump into another elected office. They will want to retire in the National Assembly as senators, honourable members of the House of Representatives or even become Ministers and they will still be earning their pensions illegally as former governors, former deputy governors or former speakers. That is illegal double earning, whereas those who served for 35 years or age 65 are not paid their gratuities. Most states are owing pensioners arrears of pension and arrears of unpaid gratuities.
“For example, in Ekiti State, pensioners were last paid their gratuities in 2013. That is 10 years ago and they are owing arrears of pensions, seven months for local government pensioners, three months for state pensioners. Those who actually worked under tight conditions and they are being owed this way, that is why I said it is morally wrong for those elected officers to be enjoying double.
“Let me also add here that in some states the minimum wage of N30,000 has not been implemented and those that are paying are not paying regularly. Even in some oil-rich states, their workers are of the same fate, whereas their governors, deputy governors and speakers are enjoying severance allowances, pensions and other benefits and their pensions are not ordinary. For the governors, they are building houses for them in highbrow areas of Lagos State and Abuja and they will be renewing their vehicles, may be every three years, that is after serving for just four years or maximum of eight years and when they were in service they had access to all benefits of life. These are problems we are facing and it is a question of impunity and these people after leaving office as governors they move to the National Assembly or get appointed as ministers where another round of enjoyment continues, with humongous salaries and benefits too and they will still retain the benefits of their former positions. We have many of our workers that have not been promoted for three, four, five years and those who were promoted were promoted on paper, not implemented and even those in service are not paid their salaries regularly.
“However, there is a court judgment against these humongous earnings by elected officers. The Court of Appeal has given a ruling that such benefits are illegal, immoral and unjustified, particularly in a country like Nigeria where we are seriously in debt , where our economy is down and that is why we have mounting debts every year. Every state in this country now is heavily indebted and nationally this country is in debt too. Unfortunately, these debts are as a result of unnecessary spending, wasteful spending. If the money borrowed is invested in something that is profit yielding, it could be repaying itself, but the debts are irredeemable and we still have to service the debts and at times you have the amount spent on servicing debts even more than the debt itself, you will see that many generations of states will continue to wallow in poverty, in want and in lack. So, no wonder we have these problems in our society where we have mass unemployment, crimes all over the place, and low life span, the rate at which people are dying now is very alarming because they are not well fed and there is no adequate healthcare.
“Also, an average Nigerian wants to escape from this country because the socio-economic situation in the country is not palatable, insecurity is everywhere, this is as a result of joblessness and harsh economic realities and these are problems caused by these leaders that are elected to make life better for an average Nigerian rather they will make life tougher or harder for people and in this situation, pensioners are even worst hit because we have no where to go. We are old and we need more care because in old age we need more attention medically, socially and even in relationship and many of these pensioners are either widows or widowers and they need more attention, but when you don’t have money who takes care of you? Nobody, because you need money to service yourself. When you see an average pensioner, one will easily identify him as a pensioner, because he is down, haggard looking, wretched, not catered for and it is the same market that we go to, there is no special market for pensioners, there is no special drugstore for pensioners, we have to pay, it may sound funny to you that we have pensioners who are earning N500, N400 as pension in a month. How will such a person survive with this economic reality? That is why we want immediate intervention, those who can salvage the economic situation in the country, those who are public spirited should come and intervene and bring normalcy to the misconducts of our political leaders.”
Prof E. O Ogunleye, a university lecturer in the state who also expressed concern, said: “The law is not only outrageous and unfair, but is uncalled for. It is made to satisfy some few individuals at the detriment of the masses the governors have governed conspicuously. If the bill had been allowed to pass through public hearing before being passed into law, it would never have sailed through. It’s unfortunate that the legislature could pass such a bill into law.”
Also lending his voice, Prof Bolaji Aluko, the Special Adviser to Ekiti State Governor on Infrastructure and Public Utilities, former Director General, Office of Transformation, Strategy and Delivery (OTSD), Overseeing Commissioner Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities(MIPU) and former Vice Chancellor Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa State, said: “I am not certain about Speakers, but I am aware that governors and their deputies are entitled to pension benefits in Nigeria. The packages differ from state to state, I hear. The controversy has been the outrageous size of some of the packages, that is, the ‘golden handshakes’ – bearing in mind that they may have served only for four or eight years maximum. There is also the stipulation that they get certain material benefits like luxury cars and fine houses in highbrow parts of the country, sometimes repeated on a periodic basis. This is often contrasted with the comparatively much smaller size of pension benefits of civil servants with 35 years of service, whose gratuities even often get delayed interminably.
“I am of the opinion that cash pension benefits of governors and deputy governors should be seriously moderated to reflect their length of service and earnings while in government, and that any parting material gifts should be one-off gestures, and never repeated.”
MEDICAL CONSULTANTS REVEALED HOW MEN CAN NATURALLY AND PERMANENTLY CURE QUICK ERECTION, SMALL MANHOOD, AND INFERTILITY ISSUES WITHOUT SIDE EFFECTS… CLICK HERE