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The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has commended the Lagos State House of Assembly for reducing the pension of former governors of the state by 50 percent.

In a release, issued by CACOL on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by its Director, Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo, he stated, “It would be recalled that the Lagos State House of Assembly, recently amended the state Pension Law for former governors and other political office holders, reducing their benefits and emoluments by 50 per cent”.

The House approved the recommendations sequel to the presentation of the report by the Chairman, House Committee on Establishment, Training and Pension, Yinka Ogundimu, during plenary. Mr Ogundimu, representing Agege II, said the committee reduced their benefits and other emoluments by 50 per cent, based on the present economic situation of the state. The lawmaker added that it had expunged the provision of houses in Abuja and Lagos for former governors, as stipulated in an earlier law operated by the state. He said that the committee report presented to the House further showed a reduction in the number of vehicles to be made available to former governors and their deputies.

The speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, however, suggested that the former governors should get two vehicles (a car and a van) instead of the three recommended by the committee. Mr Obasa also said the amended bill should provide that the cars be changed every four years instead of the three years recommended by the report.

We would also recollect that Governor Sanwo-Olu while presenting the 2021 budget to the Lagos State House of Assembly last year, was quoted as saying “in light of keeping the costs of governance low and to signal selflessness in public service, we will be sending a draft executive bill to the House imminently for the repeal of the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007), which provides for payment of pension and other entitlements to former Governors and their Deputies”.

“We at CACOL have often posited that the continual implementation of the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007), and other such laws that gave legal backing to the payment of Pension to Ex Governors and their deputies in different states in the country was not only insensitive, but also callous and deficient in human sensibility. It is on record that some civil servants that had served their various states for over thirty years have been on the receiving end of inadequacies in the collection of their meagre Pension and Gratuities while Ex Governors and their deputies that served for a maximum of eight years are smiling to the bank. It is annoying to note that some of these former Governors are still holding public offices and still collecting salaries from the Federal Government”.

The CACOL Boss added, “As we have said earlier, the beneficiaries of this pension already had everything they enjoyed in office paid for by tax payers during their 4 or 8 years in office. They are rich enough to take care of their needs. Many are retirees from other jobs where they enjoy pensions and other benefits. It’s unfair that those who claim to serve people turn themselves to exploiters of the same people who are suffering various degrees of deprivation sometimes based on their misrule. Sometimes, when they serve twice or deputies become governor, they want to enjoy the benefits in multiples. Meanwhile those who served for more than 30 years in various government ministries and parastatals could not access their gratuity and pensions, years after serving.

Although, we commend the Lagos State House of Assembly for this bold step. The leadership of the House has demonstrated that there is an urgent need to step up the governance of the State which cannot be done without prudent fiscal responsibility. We would still recommend further reduction in the pension paid to these ex governors and their deputies. We hope other states in the country would take a cue from this noble act of Lagos State House of Assembly and amend or repeal every anti-people, anti-development and anti-progress law in their various states.

Mr. Tola Oresanwo

Director, Administration and Programmes, CACOL

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