While thousands of retired civil servants across Nigeria who laboured for their states for 35 years wallow in abject penury and die without getting their pensions and other entitlements, and while many serving civil servants go without pay for upwards of 10 months, former state governors (since 1999) who spent maximum of eight years as governors.
The inability of most state governments to meet their financial obligations on various fronts and embark on development projects as promised during their respective electoral campaigns, have been linked to the huge resources being used to service the pension demands of former governors and deputy governors of some of the affected states.
Payment of pensions and jumbo perquisites to the former state helmsmen and their deputies has incapacitated their successors in the fulfilment of such obligations as payment of workers’ salary.
Some of the states affected are Akwa Ibom, Gombe, Sokoto and Lagos states. Others include Rivers, Kano, Kwara and Zamfara states.
The amount paid by each of the state does not, however, reflect the revenue-generating capacity of the states. Akwa Ibom pays N200 million per year as pension to its ex-governor. Gombe pays N300 million, Sokoto pays N200 million, while Lagos pays N30 million.
Rivers, Kano, Kwara and Zamfara states pay N11,540,896, the annual salary of the incumbent governor, to each of their past governors.
The amounts listed above exclude allowances approved to cater for such miscellaneous benefits as housing, accommodation, vehicles, furniture, leisure, allocations to the ex-governors’ domestic staff, among others.
As recession is threatening the country’s economy, payment of the pension have become a drag on the efforts of incumbent governors to execute projects and provide infrastructure that could spread the dividends of democracy to the electorate.
A perusal of the various states’ Pension Law for Governors and deputy governors from Lagos to Zamfara, Akwa Ibom to Kano State and Rivers to Sokoto State, among others, reveals determined efforts to ensure that each of the state continues to satisfy the needs of its
Other states that are pandering to the whims and caprices of their ex- governors and deputies include Rivers State and Akwa Ibom in the South-South.
In Rivers State, the law provides 100 per cent of annual basic salaries for a former governor and his deputy, a residential house in any location of his choice in Nigeria; one residential house anywhere in Rivers State for the deputy; three cars for the ex-governor every four years and two cars for the deputy within the same period.
An ex-governor’s furniture allowance is 300 percent of his annual basic salary every four years en bloc. His house maintenance is fixed at 10 per cent of the annual basic salary.
In Akwa Ibom, the law provides for N200 million annual pay to ex-governors and deputies. They also enjoy a pension for life at a rate equivalent to the salary of the incumbent governor/ deputy governor respectively.
A new official car and a sport-utility vehicle every four years; one personal aide and provision of adequate security; a cook, chauffeurs and security guards for the governor at a sum not exceeding N5million per month and N2.5 million for the deputy governor, are the other benefits they are expected to enjoy.
A former governor and his spouse are also to enjoy free medical services at an amount not exceeding N100 million per annum, while his deputy is entitled to N50 million for the same purpose. Also, there is provision in the law for a five-bedroom mansion in Abuja and Akwa Ibom as well as an allowance of 300 per cent of annual basic salary for the deputy governor.
A former governor also takes a furniture allowance of 300 per cent of his annual basic salary, every four years in addition to severance gratuity. In Kano State, the Pension Rights of Governor and Deputy Governor Law 2007 provides for 100 percent of annual basic salaries for former governor and deputy governor.
Two drivers are also provided for a former governor and a driver for his deputy; and personal staff below the rank of a Principal Administrative Officer and a personl assistant not below grade level 10. There is also provision for a 30-day vacation within or outside Nigeria. In Gombe State, a N300 million executive pension benefit is provided for the ex-governor.
In Kwara, the 2010 law gives a former governor two cars and a security car, replaceable every three years, a “well-furnished 5-bedroom duplex,” furniture allowance of 300 per cent of his salary; five personal staff, three SSS operatives, free medical care for the governor and the deputy governor; 30 per cent of salary for car maintenance; 20 per cent for utility; 10 per cent for entertainment and 10 per cent for house maintenance.
The Zamfara version of the law, signed in 2006, gives former governors pension for life, two personal staff, two vehicles replaceable every four years, two drivers, free medical services for the former governors, deputy governors and members of their immediate families in Nigeria or abroad.
The law also gives the former governors a fourbedroom house in Zamfara, an office, free telephone and 30 days paid vacation outside Nigeria.
In Sokoto, former governors and deputy governors are to receive N200 million and N180 million, respectively, being monetisation
By NM, A version of this article has previously appeared in other publications