Governor’s Pension: Kwara Assembly shows the way


News that the Kwara State House of Assembly has abolished the payment of pension to former governors of the state who go on to hold other public posts/offices is not only commendable, it is a fine departure from what was thought to be impossible. Nigerians had criticized former governors and indeed state houses of assembly who enacted laws that paid huge sums as pension to former helmsmen even when such persons go on to become ministers, senators, ambassadors, etc.
To this end, lawmakers in Kwara State passed an amendment bill reviewing the payment of pension to former Governors and Deputy Governors in the state. The new bill which was initiated by Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed reviewed the existing law and stipulates that payment of pension would be suspended for erstwhile Governors and Deputy Governors from the state once they still hold political or public offices after their tenures.
This new law simply means that the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki himself a former governor will be the first casualty. Although he had declined further collection of the pension even before the matter became a national topic, this new development is a testament to the progressive mindset of both the current governor and his predecessor. The new law also proves that the Saraki leadership ideals are not personal thing. The new provision will also affect Senator Sha’aba Lafiagi who was governor between 1992-1993. Indeed it may also affect the current governor should he find himself in another office after leaving as governor next year. Thus everything about the new law is altruism in its best form.
Tuesday’s passage of the amendment bill followed the consideration of the report of the House Committee on Establishment and Public Service on the public hearing on the legislative framework at the Committee of the whole house. It is recalled that stakeholders at the public hearing on the amendment bill had unanimously voted that payment of pension for the former Governors and Deputy Governors be suspended if such persons are still holding political or public offices.
Section “6A (3) of the amendment bill states that, “Where Pension and other benefits are suspended under subsection (1) in respect of any Person, such Pension and other benefits shall be resumed from the date the Person ceases to hold any political or public office. The amendment bill was passed after the House adopted the clause- by -clause review of the amendment during Committee of the whole House.
The Bill seeks to amend the Principal Law to allow for the suspension of Payment of Pension to former Governors and Deputy Governors during any period they hold a Political or Public Office. The new bill awaits the governor’s assent. We have no doubt that the governor will do the needful since the bill itself was initiated by him. The state has shown seriousness in addressing issues of national importance in a way to attract quality attention.
Having done this, we recommend this to other states in the federation. Like Dr. Saraki stated while welcoming the passage of the bill, other states should copy what Kwara has done. The country cannot afford to have public officials collecting double income from the same public till. The economy is not buoyant and the conduct does not by any means bode well with common sense. Let us just say when the old law was enacted, the possibility of former governors getting into new offices was far fetched or that the country could afford it; but not any more. Laws are meant to be dynamic and Kwara state has proven to be astute in this regard.
We hope that the senate president will use his good office to elevate the discourse to a national scale. Other states must awaken to this reality. Other state houses of assembly must come around to do the amendment. Indeed governors of states should reach to stakeholders to build a consensus around this matter so that it will not suffer hostility when an amendment is presented to the House.
Public interest laws such as this amendment by the Kwara State House of Assembly as initiated by the governor is needed in many more instances to move our country forward. Kwara state has shown propriety on this matter and as such deserves all the commendations.

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