National Secretary of the Labour Party (LP) and ace lawyer, Kayode Ajulo has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajofor announcing a 50% pay cut in their salaries, describing the action as “counter-productive, disruptive and unconstitutional”.
Speaking during an interactive session with journalists over the weekend, Ajulo expressed surprise that Osinbajo, who is a professor of law should make such a legal blunder, which he said is an outright violation of the law.
He said: “What they have done is nothing but a violation of law. It appears Nigerians are in for tough times going by the counter-productive decisions being issued from the Presidency. What exactly is a pay cut supposed to do, in terms of benefits to the common people?
“Cutting their salaries is not part of their manifesto. They should focus on the fulfilling the numerous promises they doled out by the kilograms to Nigerians while they were on the campaign trail.
“It is even more baffling that this counter-productive decision is being executed by no other person than the vice president who, as a professor, is a veritable veteran in the legal profession.
He went on to ask why the President and his vice decided to take on the responsibilities of the Salaries & Wages Commission and Revenue Mobilization Allocation & Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
According to paragraph 32 of Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the RMAFC is constitutionally empowered to:
• Monitor the accruals into and disbursement of revenue from the Federation Account;
• Review from time to time, the revenue allocation formulae and principles in operation to ensure conformity with changing realities: Provided that any revenue formula which has been accepted by an Act of the National Assembly shall remain in force for a period of not less than five years from the date of commencement of the Act;
• Advise the Federal, State and Local Governments on fiscal efficiency and methods by which their revenue is to be increased;
• Determine the remuneration appropriate to political office holders, including the President, Vice-President, Governors, Deputy Governors, Ministers, Commissioners, Special Advisers, Legislators and the holders of the offices mention in Section 84 and 124 of the Constitution; and
• Discharge such other functions as are conferred on the Commission by the constitution or any Act of the National Assembly.
Ajulo further enthused: “It is clear that a pay cut that is neither backed by law nor initiated by the RMAFC, is bound to bungle up accounts. If they do not accept it, how do those in charge of salary allocation handle the consequent balance?
“The right thing to do is to accept whatever salaries you are being offered and then give away the 50% portion to charity or whoever you deem fit, or state in motion a policy backed by law that would effect a permanent reduction in the salaries of both president and vice president.”
He went on to lampoon the top two citizen for showmanship and “playing to the gallery.”
He said: “If they expect to be cheered for taking a pay cut, they will be disappointed. Nigerians have matured and have grown beyond cheerleading leaders for less than stellar performances.
“If Mr. President and his vice really want the applause of Nigerians, they should concentrate on making good their campaign promises and fulfilling their mandate. Anything short of this would only incur the wrath of the teeming masses who look to the presidency to ease their suffering and deliver a Nigeria that works to the people.
“President Buhari should be more concerned about securing this nation from the hands of Boko Haram terrorists who appear to have grown more brazen in their attacks.
“He should also concentrate on the hydra-headed monster of corruption and the economic problems ravaging the nation. He should begin to find out how he would address the issue of unemployment and the plummeting power of the Naira, and not resort to cheap showmanship as connoted by this pay cut announcement.”