The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) commends the giant stride by the Zamfara State House of Assembly for the abolishment of despicable law that allows payment of pension and other entitlements for the former governors, their deputies, former speaker and their deputies.
While we appreciate constructive legislative process that repealed the contemptible law in the State Assembly, we encourage other states with similar law to follow suite to uphold prudence, accountability and openness in governance.
We observed the fruitful legislative action by the Zamfara State Assembly as a declaration of readiness for people-oriented legislative process, which if sustained will positively transform the state socio-economic and political spheres.
We are surprised that despite alarming recurrent expenditures with resultant high cost of governance that backpedals development of critical sector in Nigeria, many states are caught in ill-thought efforts to needlessly legalise increased pensions and remunerations for retired public officer holders.
We are not unaware of the unjustified political intentions with deliberate effort to siphon public treasury through which the law emerged across the states, despite numerous jumbo salaries, allowances, benefits, and public paid expenses enjoyed by the governors, their deputies, former speaker and their deputies throughout and after their tenures. This includes the states that erected private buildings as retirement packages for the public office holders as well as former governors who enjoy double payments from Senatorial positions.
We are also worried that the increasing clamours for life-time pension and benefits accrued to public office holders across the states constitutes a major sabotage to effective and efficient governance, hence exacerbating electoral violence and discredited electoral process.
We encourage Nigeria to learn from other efficient democracies, where public office holders are disallowed from enjoying further benefits after their tenures.
We demand strict compliance with entitlements prescribed by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission in all remunerations and entitlements at all levels to prevent continued deployment of the state revenue resources into pocket-serving political moves.
We call on President Muhammad Buhari to take appreciable and drastic step to reduce the growing cost of governance in the country to allow adequate resource allocation to finance critical sector and eradicate poverty at all levels.
We call on well-meaning citizens, civil society and the media to remain vigilant and discourage pocket-serving legislative moves that may result in monumental financial loss to the country.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director, CISLAC