The Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma has declared that paying ex- governors, their deputies and ex- speakers from the state purse was illegal and designed to allow a few privileged people feed fat on the commonwealth of the people.
Governor Uzodinma made this known on Friday at the government house Owerri while explaining the rationale behind his governments’ decision to sponsor the bill on the repeal of Governors and Speakers Pensions and Privileges law of 2007.
According to the governor who wondered how the same people who collect fat severance allowances at the end of their tenure can turn around to be paid pensions as well, the law was against the Pensions act which stipulates that only those who have put in a minimum of 10 years in public service were entitled to pensions.
The governor said; “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 calculation 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.”
He added; “The same Governors and Speakers also received severance allowances, amounting to several millions of Naira, when they disengage from office.
The state House of assembly on Thursday May 21, repealed the 2007 pension act.
The executive bill tagged “A bill for a law to repeal the Imo State governors and Speakers Pension and privileges law No 5 of 2007 (as amended)”, was supported by some lawmakers who agreed that it was necessary to do away with pensions of ex-governors and speakers, to make funds available for other developmental projects in the state.
Speaking after the 2007 pension act was repealed, Chiji Collins, the speaker of the house of assembly said that though they are the first victims of the law, the sacrifice is necessary for the development of the state.