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Abia’s Governor Alex Otti Scraps Pensions for Governors’ and Deputy Governors

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UMUHIAH, Nigeria – In a landmark decision on Thursday, March 21, 2024, Governor Alex Otti of Abia signed into law the Abia State of Nigeria Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Repeal Bill of 2024, marking a significant shift toward promoting fiscal responsibility and good governance in the state.

During the signing ceremony in Nvosi, Governor Otti underscored the importance of the new legislation as a cornerstone of his administration’s commitment to stewardship and ethical leadership.

He criticized the concept of leadership as a means to embezzle public funds, asserting that government should focus on public welfare over individual benefits.

“I strongly believe that leadership is all about stewardship and should not be viewed as an opportunity to embezzle public funds,” Otti remarked, highlighting the bill’s role in realigning governmental priorities towards the needs of the citizens rather than the comfort of former officeholders.

The governor extended his gratitude to the Abia House of Assembly for their swift action on the bill and praised the harmonious working relationship between the legislative and executive branches of the state government.

This collaboration, he noted, was founded on mutual trust and understanding, with both arms working in unison for the betterment of the populace.

Under the new law, pensions for former governors and deputy governors of Abia State will be revoked, a move that Governor Otti described as a necessary step towards rectifying the misuse of state funds.

By diverting funds previously allocated for pensions of former officeholders to more critical areas of need, the state aims to address the pressing concerns of its citizens, especially pensioners who rely on these funds.

Governor Otti also addressed the state’s previous budgetary practices, expressing his displeasure over the allocation of 80% of the budget to recurrent expenditure and only 20% to capital expenditure.

The repeal of the pension law is part of broader efforts by Otti’s administration to reduce the cost of governance and allocate resources more effectively.

The legislative process leading to the bill’s enactment was spearheaded by the Speaker of the Abia House of Assembly, Emmanuel Emereuwa, who stated that the law would revoke the Abia State Governors’ and Deputy Governors’ Law no 4 of 2001.

Represented by his deputy, Austin Meregini, Emereuwa delivered the bill to Governor Otti for his signature, culminating in its transformation into law.

The Attorney General of Abia State, Ikechukwu Uwanna, commended Governor Otti for his “bold and audacious step” in assenting to the bill, reflecting the will of the people and setting a precedent for responsible governance.

Uwanna also acknowledged the collaborative effort of the House of Assembly and the executive in bringing about this transformative legislation.

This pivotal move by Governor Otti and the Abia State government represents a commitment to prioritizing the needs of the state’s citizens above the privileges of its former leaders, establishing a new standard for fiscal responsibility and public service in Nigeria.

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