On Monday, no fewer than 18 state governors will handover to their successors. With the handover comes an increase in the money being spent by states on the enormous pension packages being enjoyed former governors and their deputies.
The fat emoluments that started in 2007 when the first set of governors who were elected in 1999 completed their second and final terms, have been met with criticism and uproar yet little or nothing has been about it.
Lagos state: The Lagos State Governor and Deputy Governor Pension’s Law of 2007 signed by Bola Ahmed Tinubu when he was the governor of the state provides that, “A former governor is entitled to six new cars every three years and a house in Lagos and another in Abuja.
“Conservatively, a house in Lagos will cost N750m and one in Abuja N1billion. The former governor and family (spouse and children both married and unmarried) are entitled to free medical care.”
“Another highlight is that the ex-governor is entitled to a cook, steward, gardener, and other domestic staff, who are pensionable.
“Other benefits are the annual basic salary: 100 per cent of annual basic salaries of the incumbent governor and deputy.
“Transport: Three cars, two back-up cars and one pilot car for the ex-governor every three years; two cars, two back-up cars and one pilot car for the deputy, every three years.
“They are also entitled to 300 per cent of annual basic salary every two years. House maintenance: While 10 per cent of annual basic salary for domestic staff: Cook, steward, gardener, and other domestic staff (no limit) who shall be pensionable.
“They are also entitled to free medical treatment for ex-governor and deputy and members of their families (not just spouses).
“Security: Two SSS operatives, one female officer, eight policemen (four each for house and personal security) for the ex-governor; one SSS operative and two policemen (one each for house and personal security) for the deputy,” the Laws say.
However, in 2021, these jumbo benefits were slashed by 50% by the state House of Assembly. The amendment followed the report by the Chairman, House Committee on Establishment, Training and Pension, Yinka Ogundimu, during plenary.
The lawmakers also expunged the provision of houses in Abuja and Lagos for former governors.
Rivers state: Nyesom Wike and his deputy, Dr Ipalibo Banigo will get benefits as stipulated by the Rivers State pensions law, authorized by former governor, Rotimi Amaechi in 2012.
According to the law, former governors will get three new vehicles which are replaced every four years; two choice houses in the any area of their choice in Rivers state and Abuja. Also, the governor will be paid 100 per cent of their basic salaries, 300 per cent of their annual basic salaries for furniture, free medical services and provision for entertainment, amongst others.
In addition, they will get 20 per cent, 10 per cent and another 10 per cent of the annual salary of the incumbent governor should be earmarked for utility, accommodation maintenance and entertainment.
Benue State: The outgoing governor, Samuel Ortom initiated “A bill for a law to make provisions for the maintenance of former governors of Benue State and their deputies,” which has passed its first reading. However, the bill is being vehemently opposed by the incoming governor, Reverend Father Hyacinth Alia.
If passed, the bill which provides entitlements for life will take retroactive effect from 1999, implying that it will cover former governors and their deputies like Senator George Akume and his deputy, the late Ogiri Ajene; Sen Gabriel Suswam and his deputy, Steven Lawani, as well as the outgoing governor, Samuel Ortom and his deputy, Benson Abounu, an engineer.
2(a) (i) makes provision for the payment to the former governors of a monthly “stipend” equivalent to the salary of a sitting governor, while section 2(a) (ii) makes provision for the payment to all former deputy governors of a monthly “stipend” equivalent to the salary of a sitting deputy governor.
Similarly, section 2(b) provides for the building of a permanent residential accommodation in any town “of their choice” in Nigeria, while sections 2(c) and (h) provide for the provisions of 4 new cars every four years for the former governors and two new cars every four years for former deputy governors which will be maintained by the state.
Sections 2(d) and (e) provide for six personal staff for the former governors and three for the former deputy governors to be paid for by the state, while section 2(f) provides for a 24-hour security surveillance and guard for all former governors and their deputies, at their discretion.
Section 2 (g) provides for free medical treatment for them, their spouses, and at least four children under 18, section 3 provides that all the above expenses can be monetised.
According to the section 4 of the bill, former governors of the state are entitled to two vacations abroad annually and the former deputy governors to one vacation abroad annually.
In the same vein, all the entitlements, except the vacation, can be converted into cash and paid to the beneficiaries.
Kano state: According to the pension law for former governors and their deputies enacted in 2007 by Malam Ibrahim Shekarau’s administration, the entitlement of former governors and their deputies include 100 per cent of the incumbent’s basic salary.
Former governors will also receive a well-furnished six-bedroom house while former deputies get a well-furnished four-bedroom house.
The law also provides free medical treatment for them and their family members, plus an annual 30-day vacation within and outside Nigeria.
They are also entitled to an office, two drivers (for former governors) and a driver (for former deputy governors), a personal staff not below the rank of a principal administrative officer and an aide not below grade level 10.
Akwa Ibom: Ex-governors and their deputies will receive pension for life equivalent to their annual basic salaries.
They are entitled to befitting houses at least a 5-bedroom lush apartment, in the state or in Abuja with furniture allowance once every four years.
There shall also receive a severance gratuity of 300 per cent of the annual basic salaries, yearly utility and entertainment allowance of 100 per cent of annual basic salaries.
In addition, they will get new official cars and utility vehicles once in every four years. Yearly maintenance and fueling of vehicles are provided for under the law.
The law also provides for personal aides and security men, funds to employ cooks, chauffeurs and security guards at not less than N5million per month for former governors and N2.5 million monthly for former deputies.
There are also free medical services for the ex-governors and their deputies, as well as their spouses at a cost per annum.
Sokoto state: According to the Sokoto State Grant of Pension (governor and deputy governor) law, 2013 states that, “The total annual pension to be paid to the governor and deputy governor shall be at a rate equivalent to the annual total salary of the incumbent governor or deputy governor of the state respectively.”
Other privileges to be enjoyed by former governors and their deputies include personal aides, official vehicles with drivers and free medical treatment for themselves, their spouses and biological children both within and outside the country.
They shall also be provided with furnished and equipped offices and residence in any location of their choice in addition to the payment of all their utilities, such as electricity and water bills.
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.