Lagos plans to stop Tinubu, other former governors’ pensions
Written by MaryGift Sunday on November 11, 2020
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has proposed to end the payment of pensions and other entitlements to former governors of the state and their deputies, but the move has not received the backing of other state governors in the country.
Sanwo-Olu spoke on the move on Tuesday while presenting the 2021 budget estimates to the state House of Assembly for approval.
The abolition of pensions will affect former governors Bola Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode, as well as their deputies.
The governor said the move was to keep the cost of governance low and to signal selflessness in public service.
He said, “Mr Speaker and honourable members of the House, in the light of keeping the cost 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 the payment of pensions and other entitlements to former governors and their deputies.
“It is our firm belief that with dwindling revenues and the appurtenant inflationary growth rates, that we need to come up with innovative ways of keeping the cost of governance at a minimum, while engendering a spirit of selflessness in public service.”
The Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension) Law No. 11 official Gazette of Lagos State, 2007 states that former governors of the state are entitled to a house each in any location of their choice in Lagos and Abuja.
Section 2 states, “One residential house each for the governor and the deputy governor at any location of their choice in Lagos State and one residential house in the Federal Capital Territory for the governor on two consecutive terms.”
The state government built houses for former governors of the state in Lagos and Abuja in line with the law.
A former governor is also entitled to six new cars every three years, 100 per cent of the basic salary of the serving governor (N7.7m per annum) as well as free health care for himself and members of his family.
The law also states that former governors will be entitled to furniture allowance, which is 300 per cent of their annual basic salary (N23.3m); house maintenance allowance, which is 10 per cent of basic salary (N778,296); utility allowance, which is 20 per cent of the salary (N1.5m); and car maintenance allowance, which is 30 per cent of the annual basic salary (N2.3m).
Other benefits include entertainment allowance, which is 10 per cent of the basic salary (N778,296); and a personal assistant, who will earn 25 per cent of the governor’s annual basic salary (N1.9m).
The law adds that a former governor is entitled to domestic workers comprising a cook, a steward, a gardener and others, whose appointments are pensionable.
A former governor is also entitled to eight policemen and two operatives of the Department of State Services for life, according to the Lagos law.
SERAP hails Sanwo-Olu’s move
Advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has described as a welcome development the move by Sanwo-Olu to scrap the state’s law, which places all former governors and deputy governors of the state on pensions for life.
Reacting to the development, SERAP, which has been having a running legal battle with governors of the 36 states of the federation over pension laws for their predecessors, said the news from Lagos was cheering.
SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oludare, said, “This is a welcome development in line with our consistent advocacy for accountability in governance over the years. More particularly, this is in compliance with the judgment of Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo of the Federal High Court, Lagos, in SERAP vs. Attorney-General of the Federation, mandating the Attorney-General of the Federation to challenge the legality of state pension laws and recover monies paid unlawfully to former governors and their deputies.”
Wike has not announced such a plan – Rivers commissioner
The Rivers State Government, however, said it had no plans to stop the payment of pensions to former governors and their deputies until such a directive would come from the appropriate quarter.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents on Tuesday.
Nsirim said Governor Nyesom Wike had not made any such announcement.
“How can you be asking me a thing like that? Now that Lagos State has the plan, didn’t they announce it that they have the plan? Have you heard Governor Nyesom Wike say anything like that? Is it the Commissioner for Information in Lagos that said it?” Nsirim queried.
Our ex-govs still collecting pensions – Edo
The Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie, has said former governors of the state and their deputies will continue to receive pensions until steps are taken to stop the practice.
He said it would take collaboration between the executive and the legislature to halt the process.
Osagie stated, “At the moment, the former governors of the state are still receiving pensions. Newspapers have been talking about it, but the legislature has not taken any step for now to stop the payment. No step has been taken and that is just the truth. “In Edo State, the status quo remains.”
We’ve no such plan now, but we may copy Lagos, says Gombe
The Gombe State Commissioner for Information, Mallam Ibrahim Alhassan, says although the state does not have such a plan, but it can draw example from Lagos.
Alhassan told newsmen, “There is no issue on that yet. Gombe does not have such plans; as you know, the law affects the executive, but we can copy Lagos by looking at the feasibility and possibility; we may look forward to coming up with something like that.”
Circumstances determine each state’s decision – Bayelsa
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, said Sanwo-Olu’s declaration amounted to an opinion as he had yet to take steps to implement it.
Diri, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, said it was also important for people to understand the circumstances in Lagos, which prompted Sanwo-Olu’s action.
He said such a decision would depend on what obtained in a state, stressing that every state would act based on their peculiarities.
A’Ibom not Lagos annex, ex-Presidents’ pensions should be stopped too – Gov’s aide
An aide to the Akwa Ibom State Governor said the state was not an appendage of Lagos State and should not necessarily tow its line of action.
The Information Commissioner, Ini EmemObong, said there were things the state was doing that Lagos was not doing.
EmemObong stated, “Akwa Ibom is not an annex of Lagos State. There are things we are doing that Lagos is not doing. We must set priorities. The lawmakers are up to the task to make laws for the smooth running of the state and when in their perception they think that amending the law or repealing it is good for the state, it will happen.
“I also hope that one day, people will ask that ex-Presidents and Vice-Presidents should not be entitled to salaries and pensions. We should not segment this discussion; it should be full and should start from up.”
We’ll consult stakeholders before taking decision, says Kano
On its part, the Kano State Government said it would consult stakeholders before taking any decision to stop pension payment to ex-governors and their deputies.
The state Commissioner for Information, Mallam Muhammad Garba, said this in an interview with newsmen in Kano on Tuesday.
Garba stated, “As you know, the payment of pension to the affected former governors and their deputies depends on individual states.
“Some states pay 100 per cent, while others pay 60 or 50 per cent. So, it depends on each state.
“So, the Kano State Government will stop such payment, not because Lagos State has done it, but because each state has the right to implement whatever policy it feels like.
“If stopping the pension of the ex-governors and their deputies will enhance the state’s revenue, definitely we will do it.”