Otti signs Bill stopping Pension for Ex-Governors, Deputies

Leah TwakiMarch 22, 20244 min

Former President Obasanjo has described the payment of pension to former governors and their deputies as “daylight robbery.”

Abia State Governor, Alex Otti has signed into law the bill prohibiting former governors of the state and their deputies from receiving pensions and allowances.

The bill titled HAB 11, the “Abia State Governor’s and Deputy Governor’s Pensions Law Repeal Bill 2024,” was passed by the State House of Assembly on Tuesday

Otti’s signature on the Bill marks the enactment of the Abia State of Nigeria Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Repeal Law of 2024, superseding Law No. 4 of 2001, which previously granted pension benefits to former Governors and Deputy Governors.

Speaking after assenting to the bill, Otti commended the 8th Abia Assembly for the speedy passage of the Executive Bill.

Otti emphasized the importance of redirecting state resources towards addressing pressing issues, such as the backlog of retired Abia workers’ pensions dating back to 2014.

He said “I want to make a few things clear: even before we came on board a lot of people who had followed our views understood that we were not going to continue with the practice of paying pensions and allowances to this set of former government officials,”

The governor revealed that despite facing pressure from some quarters to maintain the status quo, saying they “had confronted me to remind me that very soon I will also be a former Governor” and become a beneficiary.

But while “I agree” that he could be a beneficiary of the Law of 2001, the Abia Governor noted that governance “is not about self-interest” hence repealing the law was proper.

“So it’s all about good governance, it’s all about stewardship to our people and I strongly believe that any leader who believes that leadership is a business has lost his way.

“As far as I am concerned, leadership is stewardship and if you now want to take up all the resources that belong to the people you are leading, I’m not sure that is morally correct,” Otti stated.

He argued that “government is not about self-interest and it’s self-interest that destroys government”, adding that even though he belonged to the class that the controversial law was meant to favour, “I have happily committed class suicide”.

He expressed gratitude to members of the State Assembly for the cordial relationship between the legislature and the executive arm of government “built on trust, respect and understanding that they are working for the common good of the people”.

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon Austin Meregini, on behalf of the Speaker, Rt. Hon Emmanuel Emeruwa, presented the Bill to the governor for his assent.

He explained that the Bill repeals Law No. 4 of 2001 which provides that the state government should be paying pensions to former Governors and Deputy Governors in the State.

The Deputy Speaker thanked Governor Otti for working harmoniously with the State House of Assembly.

Meanwhile, former President Olusegun Obasanjo praised Otti for his decisive action, describing the payment of pension to former governors and their deputies as “daylight robbery.” Obasanjo urged other state governors to emulate Otti’s example and put an end to such practices.

Obasanjo spoke on Friday when he paid Otti a visit at his country home in Nvosi, Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area.

He said, “I watched the television and I saw the repealing of Abia pensions, and I asked you; what exactly is this? You said to me that the pension scheme for former governors here was too outrageous.

“It’s like trouble because it allowed them to have a house in Abuja and elsewhere, and it allowed them to cart away with whatever they can, yet the pensions of ordinary people from 2014 are unpaid.

“What sort of leadership? You came and said there would be an end to that rascality. I congratulate you, and I say to you, I hope that your colleagues will follow in your footsteps.”

Leah Twaki

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