By Peter Akinwande
LEGISREPORTS NG – The Lagos State House of Assembly has said that there is nothing wrong in including former Speakers and their deputies in the state Public Office Holders’ Pension Law of 2007, which will make to be entitled to life pension scheme of the state government.
At the moment, the law only caters for life pensions of some former governors and deputy governors, which served from 1999, except for those impeached before leaving office.
The House had earlier proposed the amendment to accommodate the speaker and the deputy speaker in the law but jettisoned the amendment due to public outcry against it.
While commenting on a petition addressed to the House by a concerned citizen, Alhaji Kola Oseni seeking the inclusion of some individuals in the life pension scheme, lawmakers were unanimous in proposing an amendment to the law to accommodate the two most senior principal officers of the House.
Oseni had petitioned the House asking that the respected former governor of Lagos State, Lateef Jakande and two former deputy governors – Rafiu Bakare Jafojo and Sinatu Ojikutu should be accommodated in the law.
Reacting to the petition, member representing representing Epe 2, Hon. Sugun Olulade urged his colleagues to expeditiously consider the petitioner’s request, noting that Jakande, during his tenure as the state Governor made it possible for the House to have a chamber, which has now been converted to an auditorium named after him (Jakande).
Olulade also pointed out that Jakande had contributed immensely to the development of the state and the country.
Buttressing Olulade, member representing Ojo Constituency 2, Hon. Lanre Ogunyemi, expressed surprise that Jakande was not included in the beneficiaries of the life pension law and urged the House to urgently do something about it.
Ogunyemi said considering Jakande’s immense contribution to the state, nothing could be more glorious for him to be honoured with inclusion in the life pension scheme.
The lawmaker further recalled that the House had honoured Jakande in the the past and named one of the halls in the Assembly after him, but that there was a strong need to further honour him with the well-deserved life pension.
On his part, Victor Akande representing Ojo 1, pointed out that Jakande had paid his dues and therefore, eminently deserved to be included in the life pension law.
“Baba Jakande was a symbol of democracy. He was part of the struggle for democratic and participatory governance right from the days of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and I think he should be considered in the law.”
However, Sikiru Osinowo representing Kosofe I said the House should jointly address the inclusion of speaker and deputy speaker in the proposed amendment to accommodate Jakande and others in the life pension law.
He said most governors and deputy governors serve the state between three and eight years, whereas speakers and deputy speakers serve more than that.
Osinowo recalled that the immediate past speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji served as speaker for ten years, and that there was nothing bad in including the two most senior principal officers of the House in the pension scheme.
“If the scheme can not be extended to all members of the House, at least there is nothing bad in including the speaker and the deputy speaker in the law,” Osinowo stated.
The speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa said he was not sure of any past leader in the state who had benefited from the life pension law.
He added that the idea of the law being revisited to accommodate the speaker and the deputy speaker was not a bad one, but that it must be placed before the people for approval.
“It is not a bad idea but we have to take it before our people. If our people want it, so be it and if not, it’s also fine. The point is that the final say on this is with the people,” Obasa stressed.
Post from Legis Reports Ng