Some stakeholders in Bauchi, Dutse, and Gombe states have advocated the repeal of jumbo allowance for ex-governors, their deputies, and other categories of workers in the country.
They also warned against last-minute appointments and the award of contracts by outgoing governors.
The stakeholders including academics, politicians, pensioners, and civil society activists made the call in separate interviews in Bauchi, Dutse, and Gombe.
They argued that the measure was imperative for keeping the costs of governance low and promoting selflessness in public service.
The stakeholders said it was wrong for some former governors, who have become ministers and senators, to be benefiting from the pension laws in their respective states, while simultaneously receiving salaries and allowances provided by their current offices in contravention of the Code of Conduct Act.
They added that the repeal of jumbo allowance for ex-governors is consistent with the current economic situation of the country.
Dr. Nigel Bachama, the Head of the Department of Economics at Gombe State University (GSU), tasked the legislators to repeal severance packages for ex-governors and their deputies.
“We are calling on legislators across the 36 states in the country to review the law that created gratuity and pensions for governors and their deputies.
“The lawmakers should do that as a matter of urgency since the National Assembly is occupied by beneficiaries of the severance allowance,” he said.
He suggested that severance packages for governors, deputies, and other political office holders should be standardised at the end of their tenure.
“In some states, sitting governors are the ones who decide what should be given to them after leaving office.
“This is unfair as the same gesture is not extended to workers who spend 30 to 35 years serving their fatherland.
“The civil servants that spent their productive years in serving the nation cannot get one percent of what the governors are receiving as severance packages,” he said.
Commenting, Mr. Rambi Ayala (NNPP – Billiri East State Constituency) and Ibrahim Yusuf, Chairman, Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (ANGO), Gombe State, dismissed the severance allowance for ex-governors as “unrealistic and insensitive”.
Similarly; Mr. Sinusi Alhassan Maigatari, Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Jigawa, dismissed payment of life pension to ex-governors as unacceptable in view of the economic reality in the country.
Maigatari argued that payment of life pensions to ex-governors was uncalled for considering the fact that most of the states had outstanding gratuities, among others.
He, therefore, advised the incoming governors not to be in a hurry to engage in commitment regarding the payment of life pensions to their predecessors.
“Jigawa government has no issues regarding unsettled gratuities; however, the union will not support the idea when most of the state’s resources are not enough to pay for the basics.
Corroborating earlier opinion, Mr. Adamu Sha’aibu, the Chairman of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), said that such payments were in contravention of constitutional provisions, arguing that the law was masterminded governors at the detriment of the people.
“The states have the constitutional responsibility to ensure the provision of social amenities and critical infrastructure to their people before embarking on unrealistic projects.
“It is important for the state governments to look at their financial capacities in tandem with revenue portfolios and budgetary needs, if the answer is in the negative, they should not divert their resources to unrealistic payment of life pension to ex-governors,” he said.
Also contributing, Mr. Umar Baballe and Umar AbdulAziz, retired workers, called for pragmatic economic policies to boost states’ revenue sources and encourage economic diversification, to make them less dependent on the Federal Government.
They advised the governors to prioritise programmes targeted at moving the citizens out of poverty as well as investing in infrastructure development projects.
“Everyone must learn to sacrifice to recover from the economic meltdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Governors are public servants, be it elected or appointed, and this is a public service, it must be sacrificial and selfless,” Shu’aib said.
More so; Ibrahim Ali, a Bauchi-based Public Analyst, has decried last-minute appointment and award of contracts by some outgoing governors, describing it as inimical to the entrenchment of democratic governance in the country.
The trend, he said, would add to the cost of governance and cause financial instability in the states.
“Some governors are awarding contracts in a desperate move to siphon public coffers because life after office looks bleak, so, they need something to fall on to.
“The trend is not good for the democratic process because it’s supposed to be a government of the people for the people.
“As a governor, you are supposed to work and serve the people,” he said.
On his part, Umar Sa’idu, Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bauchi State Council, advocated for legislation to ban outgoing governors from approving appointments and awarding contracts six months before the expiration of their tenure in office.