Pension Laws For Ex-Governors
By Jude Chukwuemeka
Debo Adeniran -Centre For Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership
Eze Onyekpere – ED Centre for Social Justice
At the start of Morning Crossfire, Wemimo Adewuni says the pension laws for ex-governors are now in existence in some states. The show looks forward to having ideas stream in from the guests or callers whether these laws should stay or be scrapped.
One of the states trying to stop that entitlement payment for ex-governors, their deputies and other public office holders is Zamfara and this move is put forward by the current House of Assembly leader, Faruk Musa Dosara. Past leaders in that state have been getting 700 million naira, which is more than the state can afford.
A Punch newspaper reported that 21 ex-governors and deputies were entitled to this type of payment. Former Senate President Bukola Saraki is one of them. Former President Goodluck Jonathan had signed into law a new pension reform Act that repealed the pension reform Act of 2004. The 2014 Act mandated that contributors received their benefits when due.
Jigawa, Lagos, Ogun, Kaduna, Niger, Delta, Zamfara, and Osun are some of the states that have the law, as confirmed by Sheriff Quadry. He also reels out the names of other states that have this law passed. Apart from that, it is noted that these governors have the right to choose a property that they desire after leaving office. Other benefits could include cars and other benefits such as medical insurance. The property could be in Lagos or Abuja.
Debo Adeniran reflects on the issue and says that “political offices have been seen as the only means for people to get stupendous wealth, that once a person occupies a political office, he will never be poor again, even if he doesn’t do anything again for life.
"Sometimes, the executive arm coerces or lure the legislative arm of government into approving such humongous amounts of money for these kinds of purposes. They also bait the legislative to pass the laws. It started in Lagos under Governor Babatunde Fashola administration. They are used to live of such opulence and do not want to live the lives of ordinary Nigerians; as such, they make these provisions for themselves.”
Eze Onyekpere calls the situation ‘unfortunate’. He alludes to the power of lawmaking has been abused. “If we have to deal with the issue appropriately, it has to be done on a template that goes across board.” He also says that the House Leader, who agitates for the scrapping of the funds now in Zamfara may bring it back when he’s leaving.
“There is no way to talk about this issue without attributing it to greed. In some state, speakers are joining in and these are saying that if others are taking it, they too should take it. I also see it as indolence on the part of the citizens. They are not saying anything. They are just keeping quiet.”
Adewale Azeez Soremekun, on Facebook observes: "Just like the concept of Non-disclosure Agreement, Nigeria needs a Pension Forfeiture Agreement. It should operate such that upon taking up / elected into a pension yielding political office, you lose the right to other pension package that would have accrued to you from the political office you held in the past."
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PENSION LAWS FOR EX-GOVERNORS IN NIGERIA
Morning Crossfire with Wemimo Adewuni (@wemimospot) & Sheriff Quadry (@SheriffQuadry)