In contrast to how much a civil servant earns and the minimum wage of the country, Nigerian Politicians take a whopping amount of money at the end of every month. The remuneration package of top politicians trumps anything any ordinary citizen might hope to earn throughout their years of service.
These remunerations include salaries and allowances. The allowances are accommodation, newspaper, wardrobe, house maintenance, utilities, entertainment and so much more. The amount earned by these people in power has always been a source of concern to the citizens at large.
Although this has been a course of national concern, no one tends to look deeply at how much these politicians earn after they leave the office. In some states, past governors and their deputies are entitled to 100 per cent of their annual basic salaries.
In Akwa Ibom, a former governor and his deputy would be earning an allowance of 300 per cent of their annual basic salary as at the time of leaving the office. This is just the tip of the iceberg as these leaders are entitled to other allowances for life.
This is worrisome because most states find it difficult to pay their staffs’ monthly salaries but find the money to fund the extravagance expenses of past governors.
A clear example of states who owe civil servants salaries and pensions is Kogi state. For over 30 months, teachers in Kogi have not been paid their salaries and pensioners are not in a better position either. Over 7,000 teachers are being owed.
On Tuesday, the Zamfara house of assembly abolished a law that allowed the payment of pension and other entitlement for the states former governors and their deputies. According to the spokesperson of the state’s assembly, Mustapha Jafaru, the new law would affect former speakers of the house of assembly and their deputies. Regardless of these governors, senators and other highly placed politicians get their monthly allowance regularly and without delay. This brings the question of if the people are being owed salaries on purpose? or is it that after top politicians have been paid, there is nothing left for the masses?
This development came after a letter from the former governor, Abdual’aziz Yari, leaked. In the letter, he demanded for his monthly N10million which had not been paid in months. This is a good step in reducing the extravagant expenses incurred in taking care of past leaders who are no longer of service.
It’s so sad that most of these leaders offer so little during their stay in office. The embezzle public funds, owe workers’ salaries and still get an outrageous amount in salaries and allowances. So why then do they need to be paid so much more again after their service year when they offer so little?
If other states and the federation at large can emulate Zamfara and channel these excesses into the proper payment of salaries and infrastructures, then, in the long run, a state can flourish and people can smile to the bank when the month ends.