By Ibraheem Solahudeen.
Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has indicated his resolve to forward a bill to the State House of Assembly requesting the lawmakers to immediately repeal the law awarding pension packages to former governors and deputy governors.
The governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye said in a statement that “The Governor has listened to voices of the majority of the citizens opposing the pension law for former governors and deputy governors. In line with his campaign mantra and as a product of democracy himself, he will be sending a bill to the House of Assembly next week requesting them to repeal the law.”
The statement added, “As representatives of the people, the lawmakers would exercise their discretion to call a public hearing on the topic to further harvest wider opinions on the topic. However, the Governor feels it is time for the law as it is to give way. He would rather the state commits the scarce public funds to tackling the question of poverty and youth unemployment.”
But some political observers in the State are of the opinion that Governor Abdulrazaq, whom they claimed has always copied whatever the government of Lagos State does, is only following the lead of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu who had earlier announced a move in that direction.
“Even during the fight against Covid-19, whatever Lagos State does is most likely to be replicated in Kwara. Our governor is a copycat and this issue of stopping the pension of ex-governors, as necessary as it is considering the harsh economic situation, was only happening because Lagos State took the lead in that regard,” Sanni Abejide, a public affairs analyst said.
It would be recalled that last Tuesday, November 10, the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced a move to stop the payment of pension to ex-governors and their deputies. The governor already forwarded an executive bill to the Lagos State House of Assembly requesting for the repeal of the public office holder (payment of Pension Law 2007) which provides for payment of pension and other entitlements to former governors and their deputies.
The move by Gov Sanwoolu has received endorsement by key stakeholders in the State, including a former governor and leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu who applaud the move.
However, a national debate has also surfaced with other State governors being asked to clarify if they will be following the example of Lagos as regards the abolition of pension of former State chief executives.
Last Wednesday, November 12, the Delta State governor, Patrick Okowa told journalists that he would not be taking a cue from Gov. Sanwo-Olu, saying every governor have a different priorities.
“I will not bother myself with reversing existing laws on ex-governors pension and remunerations. I have more pressing challenges to address and won’t be bugged down with revisiting existing laws.
“Governor Sanwo-Olu may have his reasons for repealing the law, but for me it’s not my priority. Every governor runs his state according to its peculiar challenges. I don’t criticise any governor for his style of administration. But for us in Delta, we tackle our challenges according to their peculiarities,” Okowa said.