• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Obasanjo, others commend Otti for abolishing pensions for Governor, Deputy Governor

Otti charges steel firm to be labour-friendly to attract govt’s support

Governor Alex Otti of Abia State, Thursday, March 21, signed into law a bill that repealed the payment of pensions to former Governors and their Deputies, a development that has received applause from stakeholders within and outside of the state.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, commended Otti, for his courage in repealing the law, which empowered former Governors and Deputy Governors of the state to enjoy pension and described the abolished legislation as “rascality.”

He expressed the hope that other Governors would follow Governor Otti’s his footsteps.

The former President, who was in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, Friday, noted that pensions to the former Governors and Deputies were outrageous, while those of ordinary retired workers were owed in Abia from 2014, describing the act as daylight robbery.

Addressing Governor Otti, Obasanjo said: “I watched the television and I saw repealing of Abia pensions and I asked you what exactly is this, and you said to me that the pensions 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 were 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?”

He congratulated Otti for his tenacity and for weathering the storm to become Abia Governor and reminded him that a lot of work needed to be done.

For Goodluck Ibem, president general, Coalition of Igbo Youth Leaders (COSYL), the law will accelerate development, as money that would have been paid to former Governors and their Deputies, would be channeled towards building of infrastructure and payment of salaries and pensions of workers and retired civil servants.

Obinna Nwagbara, executive director, Youth and Student Advocates for Development Initiative (YSAD), observed that the law will reduce recurrent expenditure in 2025 appropriation, then enable the State to cut down on cost of governance, therefore making more funds available for the execution of critical infrastructural projects and to also reduce budgetary constraints.

The Executive Bill, which was passed by the State House of Assembly on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, is now known as the “Abia State Governors and Deputy Governors Pensions (Repeal) Law, 2024.”

Signing the new law on Thursday, Governor Otti said government is not about self-interest, adding that self-interest destroys government.

“Even before this new law came into place, a lot of people who have followed our views in the national discuss understand that we were not going to continue the practice of paying pensions and allowances to this set of former government officials,” Governor Otti said.