Politics News

Obasanjo urges other govs to scrap ex-govs, deputies’ pensions as Otti did in Abia

Photo caption: Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described the payment of pension to former governors and their deputies as outrageous and a daylight robbery, just as he commended Governor Alex Otti of Abia State for repealing the law backing pension payment for ex-governors and their deputies.
Obasanjo spoke on Friday when he paid Otti a visit at his country home in Nvosi, Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area.
While commending Otti for his courage in repealing the law, the former President expressed the hope that other governors would follow his footsteps.
He said, “I watched the television and I saw repealing of Abia pensions, and I asked you; what exactly is this? You said to me that the pension scheme for former governors here was too outrageous.
“It’s like trouble because it allowed them to have a house in Abuja and elsewhere, and it allowed them to cart away with whatever they can, yet the pensions of ordinary people from 2014 are unpaid.
“What sort of leadership? You came and said there will be an end to that rascality. I congratulate you, and I say to you, I hope that your colleagues will follow your footsteps.”
Obasanjo congratulated Governor Otti for his tenacity and for weathering the storm to become the state governor and reminded him that a lot of work needed to be done.
“This morning, I came in and I met you exercising, a sound mind and a sound body and I say to you, now I know your secret. I was glad when you said you do that every other day. It’s just like me playing squash on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I think a leader must keep himself or herself in a healthy condition.
“Don’t be discouraged; you will be abused, you will be called names but if we have one-third of our states doing what should be done, this country will be a different country,” he added.
He urged the governor to pay attention to infrastructural development of the State, explaining that with infrastructure and good leadership the state will attain greater heights.
Obasanjo described Abia and South-East people in general as industrious and enterprising, adding that what the people of the zone required to achieve greatness was good leadership that would give them encouragement and support.
“I will urge you to pay adequate attention to infrastructure, because if you give infrastructure and you give the type of leadership you are giving, the people of the state will have nothing to worry about. On their own, they are enterprising. All they need is the leadership that will give them all the encouragement.
“I have always maintained that if there is any zone in this country that can really give what I call regional development, it’s the South East geo-political zone, because you are almost monolithic in everything,” the foremost statesman admonished.
Receiving the former President, Governor Otti assured him that his administration was focused and single-minded on infrastructural development, especially in Aba.
“I want to also thank you for supporting our decision to repeal the pension law for former governors and former deputy governors. I had said yesterday as I signed the bill into law that I strongly believe that leadership is stewardship and if you’ve come to serve the people, you can’t at the same time be fleecing the people,” the governor declared.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Ondo State chapter of the Trade Union Congress, Mr Clement Fatuwase, commended Governor Otti for canceling the life pension for the past governors and deputies.
Fatuwase said, “What Otto did is good in the reality because these people are not supposed to be earning salaries after all they acquired while in office. How many years did they work that they are receiving pension while somebody works for 35 years without collecting pension as and when due.
“What the governors would get while they are going out is even enough to be their gratuity. These people who serve for eight years and collect life pension owe many workers 15, 20 years pension and gratuities.”
The TUC Chairman also called on other state governors across the federation to follow Otti’s example and stop payment of life pensions for former governors and deputies.

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