history, my conscience ‘ll not forgive me if I did not repeal Governors’ Pension Law
disqualifies himself from pension after office
Piqued by the grand design to rip-off and rape the state’s treasury by former governors, speakers and deputies of the state, Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo state says he had put paid to the thievery by repealing the “illegal’’ pension law.
The governor said: “I wonder how the same people who collected fat severance allowances at the end of their tenure can turn round to be paid pensions as well.
“Imo state Governors and Speakers Pensions and Privileges Law No. 5 of 2007 is a bad omen,’’ he said while explaining why he assented to the bill repealing the Pensions Law passed by the House of Assembly on Thursday in Oweri.
Persecondnews recalls Sen. Uzodinma of APC was on January 15, 2020 as the 6th elected governor of the state following a historic and landmark judgment of the Supreme Court which gave him victory as the 4th candidate on the list of contestants for the position.
The Apex Court had nullified incumbent PDP Gov. Emeka Ihedioha’s election, a declaration which attracted flak from senior lawyers, politicians and stakeholders across the country.
SERAP had sued ex-governors, speakers and other public officers who earn pensions in their states and are still earning salaries as ministers, senate president and others.
Describing the Law as illegal, Uzodinma said it was designed to allow a few privileged people to continue to feed fat on the commonwealth of the people.
He insisted that the law contravened the National Pensions Act which stipulates that only those who have put in a minimum of 10 years in public service are entitled to pensions, pointing out that former governors and speakers are not qualified to earn pensions because they only spend a maximum of eight years in office.
“As a young state grappling with enormous challenges, it dawned on me that the Imo State Governors and Speakers Pensions and Privileges Law No. 5 of 2007 was a bad omen. At the age our Governors and Speakers are leaving office it will not be out of place to assume that many of them will be alive and kicking in the next 15 years or more.
“This will mean that by then the state will have more than 20 governors and speakers qualified for pensions and privileges
“I was alarmed that the financial implications for the state will not only be scandalous but indefensible. My simple calculations told me that there could come a time when the state could be spending more than one third of its resources to maintain former governors and speakers,” the governor reasoned.
“The same governors and speakers also received severance allowances, amounting to several millions of Naira when they disengaged from office.
“How then can the same category of former public office holders turn around to receive pensions?” he queried.
According to Imo governor, paying governors , speakers and their deputies who spend a maximum of eight years or less in office is actually criminal because it is against the law of the land.
He said: “It is noteworthy that I am supposed to benefit from this law when I leave office as governor yet I called for its repeal. This should leave no one in doubt that I am acting in the best interest of our state and our people.
“I believe that those of us who have had the privilege of occupying exalted positions must be human enough to resist the temptation of feeding fat from the lean resources of the state at the expense of the people. We must know when to say enough is enough.
“I had no choice but to ask for its repeal as part of my government’s recovery agenda. Yes, I needed to recover the billions of public funds that would have been lavished on a privileged few and plough it back to the more important business of developing our state.’’
Uzodimma said history and his conscience would not forgive him if he did not act in the interest of the people by repealing the law.