Posted by News Express | 24 March 2017 | 2,141 times
When the then conservative President of Prussia, Otto von Bismarck, presented an evergreen idea to the German Reichstag in 1881; he included a blueprint of financial support-system for aged members of the society, which will be government-backed and partly financed by contributions throughout their active working years. This radical idea formed the basis of what is now known as the Pension Scheme.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a Democrat, came to power as the first physically challenged President of the United States in 1933 with a slogan: The New Deal.’ He kept his side of the promise by signing into law, the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935. This set the grundnorm for the interfacing between the ruthless capitalist system and the humane tilting towards welfarism. It is no surprise that many decades later, immediate past US President, Barak Obama, used his presidential powers to bail out the auto industry, despite virulent criticisms from his adversaries who preferred a laissez-faire approach to his handling of the crisis.
Pension is something civil servants look forward to, after putting in decades of ‘meritorious’ service. It is a soothing balm that is supposed to make them relax and enjoy the twilight of their years. Unfortunately, modern-day confidence men who masquerade as progressive politicians - in a manner worse than how the robber barons in the gilded age operated. Through their rapacious greed and avarice for crude acquisition of wealth and use of power as an end rather than a means of selfless service, they have conspired to deny these hard-working civil servants a meaningful retirement life.
It is a monumental tragedy that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a hitherto pro-democracy activist, as governor of Lagos State, introduced the new wave of rewarding governors and their deputies with criminal pensions; after they have already amassed wealth that they don’t need, in the course of their eight years of foisting anti-people policies on the hapless men on the clap ham omnibus.
The holder of the preposterous Jagaban title coerced the boxer-like Lagos State House of Assembly in 2007 to pass the Lagos State Governors’ and Deputy Governors’ Pension Law. The terms are extremely obnoxious and cast a huge slur on his so-called democratic antecedents.
By the provisions of the law, the former governor is entitled to six new cars every three years, a house in Lagos and another in Abuja at the whopping cost of 500 million and 700 million naira. The adjusted inflation value, a decade later now will see it in the billion naira region. The ex-governor is also entitled to a cook, gardener, steward, domestic members of staff and free medical tourism trips in any part of the world without it being capped.
The other terms of the act repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience are: “Entitlement of 100 per cent basic annual salary of the incumbent governor and deputy to be reviewed every five years, 300 per cent of their basic annual salary as furniture allowance, 30 per cent of their basic salary for car maintenance, 10 per cent of their annual basic salary for house maintenance, 10 per cent of their annual basic salary in the name of entertainment allowance”, with other criminal benefits not worthy to be given a decent mention in this expose.
This is against the backdrop of current scenario where honest civil servants are ferociously battered by the pangs of hunger, grappling to live below the breadlines.
This ideology of institutionalised criminality has been exported to Edo State where the ‘comrade’ governor rewarded himself with a N200 million pension and N100 million for his deputy. Former Rivers State governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, also followed suit in an apparent blatant show of the raw abuse of power with cruelty and brutality done to the emotionally-battered citizenry in a manner worse than the legendary Genghis Khan.
One is not baffled by President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to communicate with the Nigerian people after over a month of a suspicious medical vacation. Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s tirade against innocent students of Lautech is only clear evidence of a party culture of total contempt for the electorate they claim to serve their interests.
In decent climes, politicians make their fortunes after they have stepped down from power and not by shameless manipulation for their selfish ends.
Tony Blair became an MP in 1983 and stepped down as Prime Minister in 2007. His millions came through his speaking, writing and consulting activities, after nearly three decades in partisan politics. Bill Clinton couldn’t afford a personal house after 24 years in active politics, with his windfall coming from his foundation activities and his silver tongue. Joe Biden almost put up his house for sale to fund the treatment of his late eldest son, but for the timely intervention of Barak Obama who underwrote the bill.
It is heartless of the Jagaban, a purveyor of nepotism of the apogee, to entrench a parasitic culture of such a massive reward for indolence. In one of his seven deadly sins, the sage, Mahatma Ghandi, warned against the sinister influence of wealth without work.
Weep not for Nigeria as the nation is suffering from the long-term effects of greed and stomach infrastructure, apologies to the current lone voice of the voiceless, Peter Ayodele Fayose, Governor of Ekiti State.
The so-called elders of NADECO should bury their heads in shame, as their short-term love for filthy lucre has precipitated a nationwide crisis that has the propensity to engulf almost everyone.
Why wasn’t late Funsho Williams allowed to govern Lagos State in 1999? Why was he denied the AD ticket after he won the primaries fair and square, on the asinine pretext that he was not a NADECO member? To use the popular Nigerian parlance, who Nadeco epp? Why was he ruthlessly murdered in cold blood? Later, as if to spit on his grave, his eldest son, Babatunde Williams, was appointed to the cabinet of former governor Babatunde Raji Fashola.
The only way this seemingly incurable Jagaban-inspired malady can be taken care of is if justice is done to the memory of Funsho Williams, who was denied the opportunity to offer himself for service through his needless murder.
As long as this injustice persists, the cries of the ever-wailing pensioners will continue to be one of the numerous songs of the anti-people All Progressives Congress-led government, at both the centre and state levels.
•Tony Ademiluyi can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org
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