Lagos State on Tuesday unravels plans to revoke the public officials’ pension law which grants certain benefits to former elected governors and deputy governors.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who gave the clue during his 2021 budget presentation to the House of Assembly, said he would send an Executive Bill to scrap the law because the entitlements were not feasible due to financial restraints.
The N1.155 trillion budget was named: “Budget of Rekindling Hope.” The governor said the revoke of the law would reduce the cost of governance and strengthen the spirit of selfless service.
He said: “In the light of keeping the costs of governance low and to signal selflessness in public service, we will be sending a draft Executive Bill to the House immediately 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.
“It is our firm belief that with dwindling revenues and the apparent inflationary rates, we need to come up with innovative ways of keeping the cost of governance at a minimum while engineering a spirit of selflessness in public service.”
Former governors who are entitled to the benefits under the law are Alhaji Lateef Jakande (1979-1983), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (1999-2007), Mr. Babatunde Fashola (2007-2015), and Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2015-2019).
The ex-deputy governors are Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu (1991-1993), Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele (1999-2002), Mr. Olufemi Pedro (2002-2007), Prince Abiodun Ogunleye (2007), Princess Sarah Sosan (2007-2011), Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire (2011-2015), and Dr. Idiat Adebule (2015-2019).
According to the pension law, an ex-governor is entitled to thirty million naira pension annually, a house in Lagos and Abuja, six brand new cars every three years, medical allowances and treatment in hospital of choice in any part of the world, and other allowances.
A Lagos Federal High Court had ordered the stoppage of pensions to ex-governors and their deputies nationwide. The order of the court directing the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to review states’ pension laws, followed a suit filed by Social and Economic Rights Accountability Project (SERAP).
Reacting to Sanwo-Olu’s plan, Lagos lawyer Jiti Ogunye, said it was long overdue. He noted that the law was controversial, contentious, burdensome and unnecessary. The lawyer said the repeal will herald the reduction of cost of governance and put an end to frivolous government spending. Ogunye urged Sanwo-Olu to beam the searchlight on long governors’ convoys, saying they constituted a drain on the treasury.