Obasanjo, TUC Praise Otti for Law Abolishing Life Pension for Ex Govs, Deputies

Nigeria’s former leader, President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have thrown their weight behind Governor Alex Otti’s decision to repeal the law that mandated the state to pay life pension to former governors and deputy governors.

The Abia State Governor had on Thursday signed a bill passed by the Abia State House of Assembly that effectively repealed the law that mandated the state to pay life pension to former governors and deputy governors.

While signing the bill into law, Otti said, “I want to make a few things clear, one that even before we came on board, a lot of people who had followed our views understand that we were not going to continue with the practice of paying pensions and allowances to this set of former government official

“A lot of people had confronted me to remind me that very soon, I will also be a former governor and I agree completely.

Commending the governor for the bold move during a visit to Abia State on Friday, President Olusegun Obasanjo praised Otti for showing selfless leadership.

Obasanjo said:

“I watched the television and I saw repealing of Abia pensions, and I asked you; what exactly is this? You said to me that the pension scheme for former governors here was too outrageous

“It’s like trouble because it allowed them to have a house in Abuja and elsewhere, and it allowed them to cart away with whatever they can, yet the pensions of ordinary people from 2014 are unpaid.

“What sort of leadership? You came and said there will be an end to that rascality. I congratulate you, and I say to you, I hope that your colleagues will follow your footsteps.”

Obasanjo congratulated Governor Otti for his tenacity and for weathering the storm to become the state governor and reminded him that a lot of work needed to be done

“This morning, I came in and I met you exercising, a sound mind and a sound body and I say to you, now I know your secret. I was glad when you said you do that every other day. It’s just like me playing squash on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I think a leader must keep himself or herself in a healthy condition.

“Don’t be discouraged; you will be abused, you will be called names but if we have one-third of our states doing what should be done, this country will be a different country.”

The former president urged Governor Otti to focus attention on infrastructure development as that will emancipate not just Abia State but the entire Southeast region.

Obasanjo maintained that if Otti carries on the way he is doing, his other colleague governors will take the cue from him and that will culminate into a collective success for the people of Nigeria.

“I will urge you to pay adequate attention to infrastructure, because if you give infrastructure and you give the type of leadership you are giving, the people of the state will have nothing to worry about. On their own, they are enterprising. All they need is the leadership that will give them all the encouragement.

“I have always maintained that if there is any zone in this country that can really give what I call regional development, it’s the South East geo-political zone, because you are almost monolithic in everything,” Obasanjo admonished.

Governor Otti thanked the former president for the visit and his confidence in the government of Abia State and promised not to be distracted.

“I want to also thank you for supporting our decision to repeal the pension law for former governors and former deputy governors. I had said yesterday as I signed the bill into law that I strongly believe that leadership is stewardship and if you’ve come to serve the people, you can’t at the same time be fleecing the people,” Otti assured.

Similarly, the Chairman the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Ondo State chapter,  Comrade Clement Fatuwase has also commended Governor Otti for signing the law stopping the life pension for ex governors and their deputies.

The TUC boss wondered why governors who merely served between four to eight years will be paid pensions for life whereas, public servant who dedicated their entire life to serve the state hardly get their pensions paid.

“What Otti did is good in the reality because these people are not supposed to be earning salaries after all they acquired while in office. How many years did they work that they are receiving pension while somebody works for 35 years without collecting pension as and when due.

“What the governors would get while they are going out is even enough to be their gratuity. These people who serve for eight years and collect life pension owe many workers 15, 20 years pension and gratuities,” Fatunwase stated.

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