The Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has condemned the recent amendment to the pension rights of former governors and Deputy governors by the state House of Assembly, which provided them with houses worth N300m.
The House had on Wednesday amended the 2007 Pension Rights of the Governor and Deputy Governor Law to include the provision of a building valued at not more than N200m for a former governor and another worth N100m for his deputy.
With the exit of the governor Adams Oshiomhole and his deputy, Dr. Pius Odubu, on November 12, they were also expected to enjoy the benefit of choosing their preferred locations for the houses. Among other benefits to accrue to the former governors are pension for life at a rate equivalent to 100 per cent of his last annual salary. They will be entitled to three vehicles that would be replaced every five years as well as free medical treatment for the governor and his immediate family.
But the state Chairman of the PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, described the action of the lawmakers as anti-people and unacceptable. This came just as civil society groups, under the Edo Civil Society Organisations, accused the House of allegedly promoting a “personal interest” with the recent resolution.
The group, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Osazee Edigin, said, “The recent action of EDHA is a huge disappointment to Edo people, owing to (the) recession in the country. “The way and swiftness in stepping down the house rules for that purpose has shown what matters to them is their personal interest.” “It is painful seeing legislators taking their personal gains more than the will of the people that elected them.” However, Orbih, who spoke during an interview on Thursday, explained that the amendment could not be justified, especially at a time when the current recession was taking its toll on the citizens of the state.
He added, ”The ridiculous aspect of it is that he is entitled to free medical services, himself and members of his family, anywhere in the world.” “This amendment is coming at a time they cannot pay pensioners their entitlements. You are talking about paying him his full salary for the rest of his life.” The PDP chairman, therefore called on Governor Godwin Obaseki to reject the amendment as a proof of his desire to run a people-oriented government.