“I wish to humbly draw your attention to the provision of the law on the above subject matter which was amended and assented to on the 23rd of March 2019

By the People's Bishop Kenneth Obi

Pension packages for former governors of Nigerian states have long been a controversial subject. But because the figures have always been shrouded in secrecy, many Nigerians thought it shouldn’t be high enough to raise eyebrows.

Just recently, the immediate past governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, opened the veil on the amount. He was expressing his displeasure over the refusal of Bello Matawalle, his successor, to pay his outstanding allowance and pension.

In a letter dated October 17, 2019 addressed to the governor, Yari said he is entitled to N10 million monthly as an upkeep allowance, but that he has only been paid twice since he left the office.

Yari’s letter reads, “I wish to humbly draw your attention to the provision of the law on the above subject matter which was amended and assented to on the 23rd of March 2019,” he said.

“The law provides, among other entitlements of the Former Governor, a monthly upkeep allowance of Ten Million Naira (N10,000,000) only and a pension equivalent to the salary he was receiving while in office.

“Accordingly, you may wish to be informed that since the expiration of my tenure on the 29th of May, 2019. I was only paid the upkeep allowance twice June and July while my pension for the other months has not been paid.

“As the law provides, the pension and upkeep allowance is not in the category of privileges that can be truncated without any justifiable reason, hence, the need to request you to kindly direct the settlement of the total backlog of the pension and upkeep as provided by the law.

Looking beyond the surface of the grievance expressed in Yari’s letter, there’s an urgent need to review the financial responsibilities of states to former governors. In the case of Zamfara, which has had four governors since its establishment in 1996, this figure means that the state pays each of the past Governor's N120 million annually for upkeep. That is aside from their basic salaries, which would be about N2 million.

And for states like Rivers, which was established in 1967, and have 16 former Governor's, that would be billions of naira in obligated payments every year. It is just too much that, after taking complete care of political leaders while in office, we still have to spend huge public funds on them after leaving the office.

Yes, as ex-governors, they deserve a pension, but there’s no justification for the high amounts. Pension is completely different from a salary, in the labor world, and it should be the same way in government too.

We can only hope that our legislators will stand up to this, and stop this obvious misappropriation of public funds. Such funds could be easily channeled to other projects beneficial to the people. It’s a cycle that is unjust to citizens, and we mustn’t allow it to continue.

Following the burial of Mr Corruption March 23rd, 2019 let's pull the oxygen keeping Mr Corruption to be permanently dead for a Better Nigeria.

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The People's Bishop Kenneth Obi, Edo COGIC Prelate and Chairman, Citizens for Righteousness and Social Justice (CRJ), Imo State.
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