On terminal benefits for ex-governors, others

Fashola

Fashola

AS various states in the nation are mired in financial crises leading to non-payment of workers for several months, one sure way to return them to fiscal buoyancy and a path of responsibility is to review or abolish outright existing laws which have inevitably constituted the hotbeds of profligacy in government.

Some of these obnoxious laws are the ones that have granted lavish retirement benefits to former state officials like governors and their deputies.

While in office, governors and their deputies live a life of luxury that negates good governance. With outrageous out-of-office benefits, they continue to feed fat on their states and maintain same extravagant lifestyles. 

These swindles, euphemistically dubbed pensions, have been perpetrated against the states with the connivance of the houses of assemblies that readily endorsed the illegitimate pension laws. This is irresponsible, insensitive and should be stopped.

In the 36 states of the federation, there are such laws that grant legitimacy to channels of lavishing public funds on retired governors, their deputies and families. These laws stipulate that former governors and their deputies be granted pensions for life, free health care, security, transportation, cars and accommodation.

For instance, the Lagos State Pension Law which shares many similarities with those of other states, gives a former governor pensions for life, two houses (one in Lagos and another in Abuja), six cars replaceable every three years (three for the governors, two backup cars and another one), furniture allowance of 300 per cent of his salary as governor to be paid every two years, a security detail, free medicals for the governor and deputy as well as their families, 10 per cent of salary for house maintenance, 30 per cent of salary for  car maintenance, 10 per cent of salary for entertainment, 20 per cent of salary for  utility  and several domestic staff. 

How selfish the governors are and how absurd the pension laws are is seen in the fact that in some states, the legislations provide for estacode for a former governor and his wife for 30 days of annual vacation abroad. How sad!

No doubt, these retirement benefits constitute a heavy financial burden on the states and for those of them which must block all financial leakages in the midst of rising debts, this is unacceptable. Indeed, the financial crises in the states are an opportunity for the citizens to re-assess the notion of service that propels some citizens into seeking public office. The governors, their deputies and others who benefit from these outrageous retirement benefits see public office as a sure path to getting rich. But to break this cycle of profligacy in government, the notion of public office as an opportunity to serve the people must become imbued in the consciousness of the citizens.  Indeed, those who seek public office must appreciate the fact that their reward goes beyond the pecuniary.

In the first place, it is an honour to be chosen among lots of citizens to serve and, in any case, anyone who is serving has willingly made himself or herself available for the job; without compulsion.

Moreover, it negates all sense of morality and culture of service to pay governors and deputies such scandalous entitlements while workers who are still working and sweating for the states are being owed for several months.

While the former governors and their deputies were in office, the state paid for everything they used. In fact, everything was free for them and their families. But civil servants who spent their lives working for the states and are now retired have not been paid for several months. Some of them have even died after several months of waiting in vain for their meagre pensions to be paid.

Endorsing the pension laws for governors and their deputies as they exist today is a deliberate encouragement of workers in states to go ahead to steal state funds since there is neither provision for their well-being while in service nor a safety nest when they retire. 

Since the nation is at the mercy of public office holders who see their positions as opportunities to make money at the expense of the well being of the generality of the people, no one should expect them to readily support a call for the scrapping of the various state pension laws.  Thus the responsibility to torpedo this perfidious system of self-aggrandisement is that of citizens.

And the call goes to the civil society to champion the campaign for the repeal of the pension laws with their sundry benefits for former leaders. These sources of financial drain on the states must be blocked to free resources for the betterment of the people.       

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10 Comments
  • Uzoma

    “… the Lagos State Pension Law which shares many similarities with those of other states, gives a former governor pensions for life, two houses (one in Lagos and another in Abuja), six cars replaceable every three years (three for the governors, two backup cars and another one), furniture allowance of 300 per cent of his salary as governor to be paid every two years, a security detail, free medicals for the governor and deputy as well as their families, 10 per cent of salary for house maintenance, 30 per cent of salary for car maintenance, 10 per cent of salary for entertainment, 20 per cent of salary for utility and several domestic staff.”

    Lord have mercy! If the president is looking for where to start the clean up, this is it. This is where the commonsense revolution should start.

  • christopher

    thr president no fit do noring!

  • tom ajai

    What a shame!!! No wonder this country has always been backward, never progress!!! What a shame!!! Feel sorry for ordinary people!! What a shame.

    • Dejandon

      All you said is what a shame, what a shame. Now tell us, what are you going to do about it?

      • tom ajai

        I’m no longer in that situation. i have made that decision a long time ago not to be part of backward nation. I am currently enjoying my retirement in my belove country without having to wait or lineup for my retirement payment.

        • Dejandon

          Hahaha.. You made me laugh! You don’t want to be part of the nation but I bet you wake up each morning to read news and have time to comment about the same country. Sorry for your split personality.

          Me presume if you don’t want to be part of a thing at all, you will blot out such from your life of which your time is an indicator. Some people worked and spent their time to make the country of your exile what you are now supposedly enjoying by the way, fought against injustices until such a country became better refined for the likes of you to seek refuge now.

          • tom ajai

            I do not make it a refuge because i served in the army forces to protect the freedom and make sure my children and grandchildren become part of the country. My children are also serving the army forces.

  • Perrymarvis2014

    If this is how politics is played in other climes , then the world will remain stagnant. The best option is to return the country to regional administration. The notion of creating more states in Nigeria, with the benefit of hindsight, is a negated one. The various state houses of assembly in Nigeria are just an appendage of the governor. He does what he likes with them, they rubber stamp all obnoxious laws. The Nigeria Labour congress is even culpable, these are issues they would have raised and put pressure on the assemblies when these terrible pension laws were being enacted. If need be, they could have gone on strike to voice their opposition to such a retrogressive law. Now the workers that are oiling the engine of progress in the states are being owed months in salaries and allowances. How are they meant to function? They have school fees to pay, children to feed, house rents to pay, elderly parents to cater for and their own welfare as well, yet they have no money to do these things. These are change that should be spearheaded by the civil rights organizations and the national assembly, sadly, national assembly has been hijacked by a group of reactionary politicians who are bent on maintaining the status quo. Sarki has a hidden and wicked agenda, he is corruption personified and he will do all to frustrate the agenda to fight corruption in the country. His hands and those of his cohorts are dirty and they will fight to not to be uprooted from that dirty seat he is occupying.

  • Ola Tanni

    wow! This is unbelievable, no wonder Nigeria as a country is a backward society. please stop referring to Nigeria as a developing country. Is one of the few countries in the world, despite the fact that it’s rich in both human and natural resources, 95% of the populace still live way below poverty line. While our leaders use the opportunity of holding public offices to amass wealth without regards to the welfare of their fellow citizens. The difference between a civilized nation and under developed nation, in a developed country. people go into the private sector to enrich themselves through hard work or better investments, while in an underdeveloped society like Nigeria because of the culture of corruption, people go into the public to steal for lack of better word to describe this unforgivable acts.

  • John Utaka

    These governors are all thieves, and need to be sent to jail for life. While millions of university graduates are looking for jobs, ex-governors are paid 300% of their salaries, with cars, houses, etc. As if that is not enough, these same ex-governors connive with the central administration in Abuja, they rig the elections, and get elected into the Senate; and those who could not win the elections into the Senate are appointed Ministers, or “Heads” of Federal government agencies. These ex-governors get paid as employees of the Federal Government on salary level 16 or 17, yet, they are on the payroll of their various States also. Is that not stealing?

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