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Obasanjo Commends Alex Otti for Ending ‘Daylight Robbery’ Governors’ Pensions

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NVOSI, Nigeria – Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has praised the Governor of Abia State, Alex Otti, for his decision to put an end to the controversial pensions paid to former governors and their deputies in the state.

Labeling the practice “outrageous” and akin to “daylight robbery,” Obasanjo commended Otti during a visit to his country home in Nvosi, Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia State, on Friday, March 22, 2024.

“I watched the television and I saw the repealing of Abia pensions and I asked you what exactly is this, and you said to me that the pensions scheme for former governors here was too outrageous,” Obasanjo recounted from his conversation with Otti.

The former president criticised the scheme for allowing excessive benefits and pointed out the hypocrisy in such lavish provisions for former governors while ordinary citizens’ pensions remain unpaid since 2014.

Highlighting the courage of Governor Otti in repealing the law, Obasanjo expressed hope that other state governors would follow suit.

“You came and said there would be an end to that rascality. I congratulate you, and I say to you, I hope that your colleagues will follow in your footsteps,” he stated.

The former president did not stop at commendations. He emphasized the importance of physical fitness for leaders and shared his own regimen, drawing a parallel to Otti’s morning exercise routine.

“A leader must keep himself or herself in a healthy condition,” he remarked, underscoring the connection between physical wellness and effective leadership.

Beyond the issue of pensions, Obasanjo urged the governor to focus on infrastructural development and leadership that would support the industrious nature of Abia and the South East region.

“All they need is the leadership that will give them all the encouragement,” he added, pointing out the potential of the South East geo-political zone for regional development.

Responding to Obasanjo’s visit and comments, Governor Otti reassured his commitment to infrastructural development, particularly in Aba, the state’s commercial and industrial hub. He expressed gratitude for the support for repealing the pension law, which he believes aligns with his view of leadership as stewardship.

The move to end pensions for former governors and deputies in Abia State has been widely lauded as a step towards reducing the cost of governance and addressing the imbalance in public expenditure.

The Abia State House of Assembly repealed the Abia State Governor’s and Deputy Governor’s Pensions Law number 4 of 2021, eliminating provisions that offered extensive benefits to former state executives.

As this legislative change marks a significant shift in governance ethics, it sets a precedent that could inspire similar reforms across Nigeria, reflecting a growing demand for accountability and prudent management of public resources.

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