More explanations and fact have been coming out from official quarters, following how arguments trails the announcement of proposed abolishing of pension law that will bring an end to the payment of humongous amount of money from the public funds to the former Governors and their Deputies in Kwara State as pension after they left office.
We could recall that the present administration in the state led by the Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq was on Friday, 13 November announced through the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) Rafiu Ajakaye that a bill will be send to the State House of Assembly, the following week requesting the lawmakers to immediately repeal the law awarding pension packages to former governors and their deputies.
The statement reads in part “The Governor has listened to voices of the majority of the citizens opposing the pension law for former governors and deputy governors. In line with his campaign mantra and as a product of democracy himself, he will be sending a bill to the House of Assembly next week requesting them to repeal the law,”
“As representatives of the people, the lawmakers would exercise their discretion to call a public hearing on the topic to further harvest wider opinions on the topic. However, the Governor feels it is time for the law as it is to give way. He would rather the state commits the scarce public funds to tackling the question of poverty and youth unemployment.”
Meanwhile, in his reaction to the proposed stoppage of pension for the former Governors, and their Deputies, a Press Officer to the former Governor, Bukola Saraki, on Local Matters, Abdulganiyu Abdulqadir has challenged Governor, AbdulRazaq to always check record before coming to the public on certain issues, in order to safe the state from avoidable embarrassment.
According to him “It is worrisome how politics is beclouding the judgement of the present administration under Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq and making it become desperate to score cheap political point, not minding the embarrassment it is causing the good people of the state”
“It would be recalled that in February 2018, the Kwara State House of Assembly revised the law and abolished payment of the pension, a move that was publicly hailed by then Senste President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki.
“Since the review of the law in 2018, Saraki has stopped receiving any Pension from the state government. These are verifiable facts that are in possession of the Kwara State Government. If there is any contrary information to this, we urge the incumbent Governor to inform the public”
“It is now worrisome and an embarrassment to all Kwarans that a law that has since been repealed in the state is the same law Governor Abdulrahman is claiming that he intends to abolish”
“Must this administration copy everything from Lagos word for word? One needs to advise His Excellency, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, to desist from just copy and paste system without properly checking the record to know what is appropriate and what is not relevant in the State”
Meanwhile, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor AbdulRazaq, Mr. Rafiu Ajakaye has also reacted to the statement of Saraki’s aide said the reaction and clarification is very important in order to set the record straight and guide against misinforming the public by the aide of the former Governor Saraki’s.
Ajakaye reaction reads in part “The Kwara State Pensions Law 2010 (as amended) is an extant law of the state. It has not been repealed at any time. What was done in 2018 was a slight amendment to the law. The amendment was a child of necessity to suspend payment of pension ONLY for former governors/deputy governors who are serving in any public office and getting paid for it”
“This was to disallow double payment from the treasury to the same individuals, as was the case in Kwara State when Dr. Bukola Saraki was in the Nigerian Senate and was at the same time taking humongous pension in the state. That was the gluttonous practice that rightly drew the ire of the public and for which the Kwara State’s House of Assembly hurriedly amended the law”
“We had taken it for granted that the media would not be taken in by the grandstanding, ignorance or deliberate mischief of a media aide of Senator Bukola Saraki that the law had been repealed in 2018. A repeal is different from an amendment that merely suspended payment of the pension package for a limited duration of time. A repealed law ceases to exist. This is not the same for an amended law which exists in a different form”
“As earlier stated, His Excellency the Governor will send a bill to the House of Assembly to finally repeal the law next week. This is consistent with his views, right from his days as a candidate, that the meagre resources available to the state are better channelled to tackle poverty and youths unemployment” Ajakaye said.