A Board of Trustees member of the PDP, others have backed Imo State Governor for halting pension payments to past governors, deputy governors and speakers of House of Assembly
A Board of Trustees (BoT) member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu; an elder statesman, Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu and Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Wing have backed Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma for halting pension payments to past governors, deputy governors and speakers of House of Assembly.
Uzodinma had on Friday accented to a bill repealing the law that created pension allowances and gratuities for the former office holders.
He had said payment of pension to such people ran contrary to the National Pension Act which stipulates 10 years of service for one to be qualified for pension.
He added that it was not in the interest of the public for former governor, deputy governors and speakers who collected huge sums when they exited their offices to continue to earn from the public till.
On Sunday, the state’s Information Commissioner, Declan Emelumba, shed further light on the development. He stated that it would have amounted to a continuation of illegality paying people who spend a maximum of eight eyes in office as against 10 years provided for by the Pension Act.
Emelumba said the state currently has about 15 people who had served either as governors, deputy governors and speakers.
He explained that about the N1.2 billion that would be saved annually through the abolishment of the pension and gratuity payments to the former governors and others would be channelled into people-oriented projects.
Iwuanyanwu, in an interview with The Nation at the weekend in Owerri, said that payment of pension to the former governors and others run contrary to the 1999 Constitution.
I am not even sure if you look at the law very seriously that somebody will be qualified for pension in Nigeria by the Nigerian Constitution after eight years of service, the PDP chieftain said.
He added: I commend the governor for that abolishing the law. I also commend the House because we have to develop our institutions. In our Constitution, there was no time pension was meant for politicians. I think the governor has taken a very right step. I am sure all patriotic Nigerians will support him.
There is a difference between political appointment and career appointment. You see a civil servant has a career and that is his job, politicians, some of them have had a career, so such people were on pension even before they joined politics which is a vocation, he said.
He urged other governors to emulate Uzodinma by repealing pension laws in their respective states.
Also, Izuogu argued that anybody who has had the opportunity of serving as governor, deputy governor or House of Assembly speaker should not be expect to be paid pension.
He said some of them went to the National Assembly where they are receiving salaries and allowances. They should consider the common man. Those who find themselves in these positions should be considerate; they should not take more, they should refund some money to the common purse so that the common man can be taken care of.
Southeast President of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth wing, Okey Paul Nwankwo, also welcomed the development.
He said, I think other governors should emulate Uzodinma’s bold courage. We are behind the governor and will continue to support him to bring in good ideas and innovations that would help to move the state, the Southeast and the entire country forward.
Its Chairman, Celestine Agbordike, said: The government of Imo state under Sen. Hope Uzodimma has written its name in gold in our history. It has saved Imo state over N1 billion annually with the signing into law the bill which revoked the payment of pensions to former governors and speakers and their deputies.