29th November, 2019
ABOLISH PAYMENTS TO EX-GOVERNORS, OTHERS
The Zamfara State House of Assembly recently passed a bill halting payment of pensions and other allowances to all former governors, deputies, speakers and deputy speakers in the state.
Although the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) supports the move, it has cautioned the Zamfara lawmakers against aiming to score cheap political points from the action. In a statement sent to media houses on Friday, 29th November, 2019, the director of the human rights organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola, called for a total and comprehensive abolition of all arbitrary payments to past political office holders in the country,
“Zamfara lawmakers have taken a bold step towards stopping profligacy in governance. But their intention must be pure. This particular action should not be motivated by vendetta. Don’t forget that there was a change of baton in the state. We have a completely new set of lawmakers and chief executive. We therefore hope someone is not trying to score a cheap political point.
“But the move is a good one nonetheless and we call on lawmakers in other states to emulate Zamfara lawmakers. In particular, we charge members of the National Assembly (NASS) to lead this action.
“There are several past governors in Senate who are earning mouth-watering allowances from the red chamber and still earning pension and allowances from their states as former governors. This is atrocious, selfish and greedy. How can Nigeria come out of its financial mess if our leaders continue to behave like this? Public office should be for those who are willing to serve, not for those aiming to be served. It is for those who are ready to make sacrifices, not for those who are eager to make the poor masses their sacrificial lambs.
“Our past and present public office holders should learn from President Muhammadu Buhari. Despite being a former governor of the whole Northern Region, a former head of state, former chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), Buhari has no foreign bank account, no houses outside Nigeria, no private jet, no yatch, etc. Neither has he amassed wealth within the country. He has just two houses: one in Daura and another in Kaduna. If it is true that our problem is leadership, why can’t all former governors, speakers, etc follow the Buhari example?
“We can only recollect one former governor who followed Buhari’s footsteps. Rauf Aregbesola, the former governor of the State of Osun and current Minister of Internal Affairs, did not collect one kobo as governor in Osun for eight good years. Why can’t we have more examples?
“MURIC throws this challenge to all former this and former that. The challenge goes to those who are currently in Senate and the House of Representatives. We want to know those who are ready to identify with the poor masses.
“We remind our lawmakers and holders of public offices, past and present, that if the Nigerian system is so loose that they feel so comfortable, the system of heaven is different. Islamic eschatological tenets affirm that all of them will render account one day before the King of Kings and Master of all masters.
“As a parting shot, we appeal to the Zamfara lawmakers to make the new bill realistic and long-lasting. We call on the NASS to take the lead in enacting a similar bill that will stop former public office holders from duplicating payments of pension and allowances in any form. In the same vein, we invite other states of the federation to follow the Zamfara example.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)