The chairperson of the Kwara House of Assembly Service Commission, Mr Femi Yusuf, says paying pension and providing other attractive packages to former governors and their deputies in the state is not sustainable.
Mr Yusuf said this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Ilorin. The chairman warned that the state might become bankrupt if funds were continuously set aside monthly to pay more former governors and their deputies given the meagre resources available to the government.
He questioned the rationale behind the provision of pension at a time that the former administration could not pay the full salaries of its workers.
According to him, repealing the pension law is imperative because of the current economic realities.
NAN recalls that the bill seeking to repeal the pension law for former governors and deputy governors transmitted by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to the state assembly had scaled through second reading.
The pension law provides that governors and deputy governors, who served two terms of eight years, be given pension and other benefits.
Mr Yusuf also dismissed claims that the bill to abrogate the law was based on vendetta, saying “a reasonable Kwara indigene will not see that move as a vindictive because what the governor is doing is to take us back to where we were.”
“If you consider the economic situation of Kwara before this government came on board, nobody will advise the state government to be paying that lump sum.
“Why will one individual be collecting almost ₦100 million with other privileges?
”Where do we get money to do that when we have our civil servants suffering and not paid their full salaries and when we have not been able to pay N30,000 minimum wage?
“So, if somebody is saying that the move is whatever now, then it means the person does not really know what is happening in the state,” he said.
He added that repealing the pension law was long overdue and had been one of the cardinal issues raised during the electioneering campaign in 2019.
“Already, there are a lot of debts that the state needs to pay for even 50 years.” Out gone governments have taken so much loans and a lot of civil servants are not collecting leave bonuses while there is no financial backup for promotion. What they get is nominal promotion.
“All these things are there and one single individual will be collecting a huge sum of money on a monthly basis via first line charges.
”So, it will not be nice for anyone to now be saying that repealing the obnoxious law is an act of vendetta.
“It is better you offend one person than to offend the whole of Kwara.
”We are about 2.5 million people. So, when we have one or two people collecting that huge amount of money at the expense of others, let them call the government’s move whatever they want to call it.
“But the fact remains that it is the best thing this government would have done if it succeeded in doing that,” he said.