Pension rights for Delta Acting Gov, 80 political parties, Chairmen support Delta House of Assembly
80 political parties under the Forum of Political Party Chairmen (FPPC) under the leadership of Amb. Hon. Oke Idawene JP of Delta state chapter of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Chairman and Prince Azuka Ogbuka of APDA, elder council leader and Comrade Herny Okuzi of DA as Secretary disclosed that they are in full support of the Delta state House of Assembly regarding the issue of pension rights for Delta Acting Governors
Recently the media has been awash with news concerning the amendment of the Delta State Governor, Deputy Governor, Pension and other benefits Act. It is clear that majority of those kicking against the amendment act have never really read its content.
In the first place, Delta State Pension for Governors and their Deputies is about the lowest in the country. Meanwhile some people have even gone as far as saying that the intendment of the act is to make the former acting Governor Rt. Hon. Sam Obi “Super rich”.
It is a good thing that the Majority Leader of the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Tim Owhefere has thrown more light into the matter by stating that the bill is a private member bill sponsored by him and “that the law makers acted within the constitution of the legislature in order to amend it” Hon. Tim Owhefere had further revealed that former Governors were entitled to only Four Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira annually as pension while a former Acting Governor is entitled to Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Monthly. Besides, a former Acting Governor is not entitled to gratuity as he has received severance allowance as a former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly. How does all this amount to a jumbo pay?
We believe that the issue is being taken out of proportion and if not well handled is capable of heating up the polity. While we believe that Deltans have the right to ask questions on how the state and its finances is being handled it should be done with caution, civility and utmost consideration for the rights of others.
The present Delta State House of Assembly, we believe has been quite proactive in all its law making processes and has contributed immensely to the peace we are now enjoying in Delta State. It is unfortunate that whenever there is a cordial relationship between the Executive and the Legislature this cordiality is always attributed to a legislature that has become a rubber stamp to the executive. We want to state clearly that the current cordial relationship between the Executive and Legislature in Delta State has been achieved without the House of Assembly compromising its independence and integrity. When a Governor is doing well, as in the case of the Delta State Governor, it is expected that there should be a commensurate cooperation from the Delta State House of Assembly.
In terms of financial prudence, Delta State Government has been quite good. Certainly no one can accuse the Delta State Governor of profligacy as every kobo spent by the Governor is already in the public domain. In this regard, the Delta State House of Assembly, in our estimation has been quite understanding and supportive. Those who are in a position to know should go and find out- this present Delta State House of Assembly has been the least patronized in the history of Delta State House of Assembly. The current Delta State House of Assembly has exhibited prudence and carried out their functions with Delta State as focus rather than promoting some primordial self interests.
The Current Delta State House of Assembly Speaker emerged as a first time member on the 11th May 2007 and became the first Speaker in the history of the Delta State House of Assembly to survive two administrations having been re-elected speaker on the 11th June 2019. Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori has always been a bridge between the old and the new in the Delta State House of Assembly and thus has carried out his duties with utmost candour and discipline. From 1999 till date Delta State has had two former Governors, Two former Deputy Governors and one Acting Governor. The constitution placed a privilege on Rt Hon Sam Obi while he was acting Governor and he enjoyed all the rights and privileges of a Governor. The Act is therefore not about one man, it is about the office one held. It could be him now and it could be another tomorrow.
We think that the Delta State House of Assembly acted to put paid to a constitutional matter. The bogus issue that the Act was enacted to defraud the state simply does not make sense. It is a case of calling a dog a bad name in order to hang it. At a time when the opposition should be bothered about how Delta State would wade through the issue of minimum wage implementation a paltry issue such as pension rights for a former Acting Governor is just an unnecessary distraction.
It is necessary at this point to remind us Deltans that we should savour the peace we now enjoy. For some time now the Ijaws, Itsekiris, the Urbobos and the Anioma People of Delta State have embraced peace as a culture. Gone are the days when the Ijaws and the Itsekiris were embroiled in internecine tribal wars. The peace we now enjoy is because of good governance at work. There is now a fair distribution of state resources to the different component tribes of Delta State such that ethnic agitations have been reduced to the barest minimum. This is the time for all Deltans to build on the peace process and prevent altercations that will dip the State into unnecessary crises. Criticisms of Government policies and programmes should be done constructively bearing in mind that we now have a Freedom of Information (FOI) climate. We should cross check facts and data before we go to press.
Information is power and those who wield it responsibly could become change agents in our society. The issues of the Pension rights for our Governors, deputies and acting Governors are routine administrative procedures. After all retired Permanent Secretaries are guaranteed pension rights equivalent to what they earned as Permanent Secretaries. If we have accepted that as part of our extant laws what is then the hue and cry about pension rights for former acting Governors?
Talking about the relationship between the legislature and the executive, we are all witnesses to what transpired between the Senate under the Leadership of Senator Bukola Saraki and the Executive under President Buhari. The relationship was so fractious that it slowed down the administration of Buhari in his first term. Is this what Deltans want? Can a harmonious relationship between the Executive and the Legislature be truly be interpreted as rubber stamp to another? We have had enough of these shenanigans that portray our dear state in bad light to the world.
Delta State should be in the News for the right reasons and not for the wrong ones. For instance, the Delta State House of Assembly has just passed the 2020 appropriation bill in record time signaling that the Delta State government wants to enter the New Year and hit the ground running. Is this not more cheery news?
As we prepare for Christmas this is the time for stock taking – look at our past and project into the future. If we begin to heat up the polity now with frivolous issues then we are only sowing seeds of discord in our midst that would hurt our collective families, tribes and unions that would lead to reaping of disaffection and disharmony in our state. A word is enough for the wise.
Long live Delta State
Long Live Nigeria
FOR: FORUM OF REGISTERED POLITICAL PARTIES
IN DELTA STATE