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Pensions and/or Salaries?

 

Last week, a political acquaintance called to obtain my opinion on the multiple jumbo pensions and salaries being drawn by several politicians in Nigeria.

There are apparently 21 serving Senators who were Governors and deputy Governors that are now Senators.

Another good example is David Mark, a retired Army Brigadier General and former minister of ‘miscommunication’ who is now a Senator.

The question generated by the debate is whether they are entitled to receive all of the payments coming from different sources from their past.

My first, final and only answer was YES.

We mistakenly often equate their salaries to the distribution of national cake and morosely not as contribution or service to Nigeria.

Assume David Mark and myself joined the military on the same date. He retired honourably as a Brigadier and due to my dexterity, I exited as a Field Marshall.

Based on the contractual agreements guiding our Army careers, we both are entitled to pension.

As you well know, life after serving in the Army can be majestic and so I retired to my Hilltop mansion near my presidential library in Abia State.

While I am at home chilling and tending to the cows and ostriches in my compound, David Mark went on to become a Senator brilliantly working several hours a day.

Is it fair to ask him to work for free as a Senator churning out those good laws that have made Nigeria the envy of the world? The right answer is NO.

It is indeed not fair to suspend his pension while I am being paid. No one should be penalised for offering to serve Nigeria.

It is also grossly unfair to label David Mark as a crook. We should be applauding him for his service right?  The people in his senatorial district agree wholeheartedly with me.

The same position is true of President Buhari. He should be receiving his pension as a retired Major General. The only exception should be that any benefits accruing to him from his time as dictator ought to have been suspended.

To all that are crying wolf on this issue, the joke is on you my friends.

We allow the same politicians to be recycled playing musical chairs on juicy positions. Either because you simply did nothing or as in the case of my London bourgeoisie friends who don’t give a damn, things are what they are in Nigeria.

The emoluments are also very sadly mouthwatering because your voice is missing. The State Governors should not be allowed to negotiate those obscene pensions. There should not be a pension period.

Take the case of Amaechi and Governor Wike as a good example. Wike served as Minister while Amaechi was Governor. Today by the default assistance of the rotten system, they have switched chairs.

To the above, I must ask this question, “Na only Wike and Amaechi waka come from Rivers State?”  Please kontinue!

The entry costs to these positions are so insanely corrupt and prohibitively expensive.

This is one area that I expected President Buhari to have zeroed in with a permanent solution. Buhari should have also disclosed the name of his Bank Chairman who authorised the 27 million Naira with an update on the payback status. We are entitled to see the loan applications and the basis on which it was approved.

The more I think about it, the more I conclude that the EFCC should look into that loan agreement. What were the assets pledged to guarantee the loan. Is the Bank and the Chairman currently receiving any special treatment from this administration?

Buhari is either working overtime window dressing Nigeria’s gigantic problems or simply wallowing directionless in the dark. Either or both reasons are substantial enough for my regrets that I shared elsewhere two weeks ago.

All the sufficiently educated ignoramus amongst us must reason with me today, Buhari does not need any time to fix a low hanging fruit like this.

My next epistle coming near you with the help of a friend is titled “I want to write a memo to President Buhari”.

Hillary Okoronkwo, guest on this column wrote from Michigan, USA

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