Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD), a Kwara-based Civil Society Organization known for its #FollowKwaraMoney activities, has written the Kwara State House of Assembly (KWHA) to repeal the Kwara State Governor and Deputy Governor (Payment of Pension) Law 2010. In a letter addressed to the Rt. Hon. Speaker (Salihu Yakubu Danladi), jointly signed by its Coordinator (Alagbonsi Abdullateef, Ph.D.) and Director of Legal Services (Lukman Raji Esq), and voluntarily supported by two hundred and sixty-three (263) Kwarans who joined the advocacy, ENetSuD prayed to the KWHA to repeal the law and outlaw payment of pension, gratuity and other allowances to past Governors and Deputy Governors other than the statutory 300% severance allowance provided for by Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) Act. ENetSuD also urged the KWHA to allow provision of personal staff and health insurance to past Governors and Deputy Governors on compassionate ground as an appreciation of the services rendered to the state.
Read the content of the letter below:
Mr Speaker Sir, we refer you to the Governor or Deputy Governor (Payment of Pension) Law 2010 (Kwara State Law No 12 of 2010). The law provides for the following payments and benefits to past Governor and Deputy Governor:
Annual Basic Salary (irrespective of the tenure in office)
i. Payment of 100% of Annual Basic Salary of the incumbent Governor to any eligible past Governor.
ii. Payment of 100% of Annual Basic Salary of the incumbent Deputy Governor to any eligible past Deputy Governor.
Additional benefits for past Governor or Deputy Governor who served for a single term
iii. Review of the payments every 5 years or when there is salary review of the Political Office Holders by Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in line with section 210 (3) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
iv. Provision of 1 Car, 1 Security Car, 1 Administrative Officer and 1 Personal Secretary for any eligible past Governor or Deputy Governor who served Kwara State for a single term of 4 years.
Additional Benefits for any past Governor or Deputy Governor who served for two consecutive terms
v. Payment of various percentages of Annual Basic Salary as Furniture, House Maintenance and Car Maintenance allowances.
vi. Provision of 5 personal staff and 5 domestic staff.
vii. Provision of a well-furnished 5-bedroom duplex for the past Governor and 4-bedroom duplex for the past deputy Governor at any location of their choice in the state.
viii. Two (2) cars for the past Governor and 1 Car for the past Deputy Governor in addition to 1 Pilot Car to be replaced every 3 years.
ix. Free medical treatment for the past Governor or past Deputy Governor and members of their immediate families.
Mr Speaker Sir, you may also wish to recall that Section 6 of the Governor and Deputy Governor (Payment of Pension) Law 2010 was amended through Law No. 3 of 2018 where past Governor and Deputy Governor subsequently holding a paid political or public office are exempted from the pension and other benefits during such appointment.
ENetSuD’s POSITIONS AND GENERAL PERSPECTIVES
- The statutory 300% of Annual Basic Salary payable to past Governors and Deputy Governors as severance allowance after completing their tenure (as provided in the RMAFC Act) is enough as a financial reward to them from the State.
- Additional pension and gratuity for past Governors and Deputy Governors are not sustainable due to the economic reality and infrastructural need of Kwara state.
- Payment of pension for life to past Governors and Deputy Governors is grossly against public interest, as it does not reflect a judicious use of taxpayers’ money.
- The huge reward after office for past Governors and Deputy Governors that serve for just 4 or 8 years compared to career Civil Servants that serve with hard work for about 35 years does not reflect justice and is demoralizing and demotivating for the general workforce of Kwara state.
- Public office should be made less attractive as much as possible, and the attached benefits should not be too enticing.
- Public office is a place to serve humanity, not a place to accumulate wealth. A strong signal must be sent to the younger generation that political office is not a place to get rich.
- Notwithstanding the items 1-5 listed earlier under this position section, we strongly hold the view that our past Governors and Deputy Governors deserve some basic form of social security and other services like Health Insurance, Security, and attachment of domestic staff.
- Zamfara State has already set a precedent by repealing such Law, which is worthy of emulation in Kwara State.
- Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, as a gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressive Congress, vowed to repeal the law while campaigning in Omuaran and Pategi LGAs of Kwara State. “We need to change some terrible laws. We will repeal that obnoxious pension law when we get to office. It is a privilege to become a governor of a state. it is dubious for anyone to become governor and then earn a pension more than people who served the state for their entire lives. We can’t take that anymore. But we need enough lawmakers to push through the repeal of the offensive law”– Culled from Daily Trust Newspaper of 28th February, 2019.
- For proper guidance on legality of Governor and Deputy Governor Pension Law, we refer you to:
- Item 44 of the Exclusive Legislative List in the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
- Section 124 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
- Section 32(d), part I, Third Schedule of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
- The recent judgement of Hon. Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo in the suit number FHC/L/CS/1497/2017 between Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
- The most recent Judgement of His Lordship, Hon. Justice Kenneth Amadi (the Presiding Judge of National Industrial Court, Jos Judicial Division) on 9th December, 2019 in a suit number NICN/Jos/26/2016 between Alhaji Garba Umar and Taraba State Government(https://judgement.nicnadr.gov.ng/details.php?id=4052&party=Alh.%20Garba%20Umar, accessed at 12:20 pm on 5th Jan., 2020).
Mr. Speaker Sir, we call on the Kwara State House of Assembly to consider the following prayers from us in the public interest:
- Repeal the Governor or Deputy Governor (Payment of Pension) Law 2010 (Law No 12 of 2010) and outlaw payment of pension, gratuity and other allowances to past Governor and Deputy Governor other than the statutory 300% severance allowance provided for by RMAFC Act.
- Allow provision of the following benefits to past Governors and Deputy Governors on compassionate ground as an appreciation of the services rendered to the state:
- personal staff that will provide domestic, administrative and security services as may be determined by the Assembly; and
- health insurance for the past Governors and Deputy Governors and members of their immediate families.
- The benefits of personal staff and health insurance (as in paragraph 2 of this prayer section) should be temporarily suspended for a past Governor or Deputy Governor who is holding another political or public office where similar benefits are enjoyed, and such benefits should resume from the date the person ceases to hold any political or public office.
While awaiting your prompt actions on our request, please be assured of our highest regards always.
NB: Attached is a list of two hundred and six-three (263) Kwarans that are in support of this legislative advocacy. They were properly informed about the purpose of our advocacy and they voluntary and consciously filled our online google form where their names, email addresses, local government areas and phone numbers were harvested. Thus, this advocacy to grant our prayers reflects the wish of many Kwarans and in the public interest
Aside the submission to the Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly, a copy of the letter has been delivered to the Executive Governor of Kwara State (Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq) and Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Kwara State (Barr. Salman Jawondo).