Delta APC Raises Alarm Over Moves To Amend Pension Rights Of Governors, Deputy Governors

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba
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If the clandestine move to amend the pension rights of governors and their deputies in Delta state scales through the saying that "politics is a game of interest", would have come to its worst peak.

The All Progressives Congress (APC), in Delta state has raised alarm informing Deltans of the plans by the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP), to include a former acting governor of the state, Prince Peter Obi, into the pension rights of governors and their deputies by way of amending the law.

In a press release by the Publicity Secretary, Barr. Sylvester Ogheneluemu Imonina, and made available to our correspodent in Asaba, accused the incumbent, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, of continuously subjecting Deltans to more hardship.

He bemoan a situation where the law which is supposedly made for the interest of the governed to be turned around to benefit the political elites to the detriment of Deltans whom he said are already suffering but smiling.

Read details of the press statement below:
According to legal jurists and proponents of "the rule of law", amongst others things, a good law must be general, prospective and intelligible. That is, one of the requirements of a good law is that it must not be made for the good and/ or the harm of one person. Rather, a law should be made for the good of the society. It is based on the above that the All Progressives Congress, Delta State condemns in totality the Executive Bill, pending before the Delta State House of Assembly, seeking to amend the Pension Rights of the Governor and the Deputy Governor of Delta State.

By virtue of the extant law governing the pension rights of Governor and Deputy Governor, a former Governor, amongst others is entitled to the followings:

1) A well furnished five bedroom duplex in Delta State and any other State in Nigeria, worth over N300,000.000.00 (three hundred million naira).

2) A well furnished and equipped office in any location of the State of his choice.

3)Two armed policemen and one State Security Officer not below the rank of a DSO.

4) Two vehicles every two years, which must not be below the sum of #20,000.000.00 (twenty million naira) per vehicle. One of them must be a utility vehicle.

5) Free medical treatment for the former Governor, Deputy Governor and members of their immediate families. The medical treatment covers treatments within and outside Nigeria.

6) An administrative officer and a Personal Secretary of not below Grade level 10.

7) Gratuity of three hundred and fifty percent (350%) of basic salary for first tenure, and a gratuity of four hundred and fifty percent (450%) of basic salary for second tenure. Meanwhile, the percentage of "Pension" for first term is seventy percent, (70%) while second term is eighty percent (80%).

Apart from the above mentioned entitlements, there are others that a former Governor and Deputy Governor enjoy. Though, there is little variation in respect of the entitlements of a Deputy Governor.

This burden placed on Deltans is questionable. What the former Governors and their Deputies are collecting is far and above what the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) prescribed for former Governors and their Deputies. Meanwhile, Deltans should note that like some other States, the entitlements of the former Governors and their Deputies as contained in Delta State Pension for Governor and Deputy Governor law had been declared inconsistent with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by Courts of Superior records.

Deltans should note that apart from the well furnished duplex, and a well equipped office that each of the former Governors and their Deputies are entitled by the obnoxious law, information available says that each of the Governors collects a minimum of N108,000.000.00 (one hundred and eight million naira) every four years. This is gluttony and day light robbery in the midst of poverty!

As if their burden is not weighty enough, there is an Executive Bill before the State House of Assembly that is at the verge of being passed, seeking for an amendment of the law to include a former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, who was an Acting Governor of Delta State for a period of less than three months to be a beneficiary of the pension law for former Governors and their Deputies. This period was in 2011 when the election of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan was upturned by the Court of Appeal, Benin City.

With all sense of responsibility, and interest, devoid of personal attack against the person of the former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, APC, Delta State and Deltans are worried over this day light robbery, as the former Speaker enjoys the benefits and entitlements of a former Speaker in accordance with the law. What then does PDP led government want? What the PDP led government of Delta State is out to achieve is double compensation to the former Speaker of the House of Assembly.

From information available to us, what Delta State Government is out to achieve with this immoral, unconstitutional and anti-people Bill is novel and same should be condemned in its entirety. Law should not be made to protect the interest of a few privileged, rather, the interest of all Deltans and the weak in the society.

We therefore call on all well meaning Deltans, Nigerians and civil society organisations to rise up to their responsibilities and condemn this wicked ploy of the PDP led government of Delta State, to further pauperise Deltans.