Double Pay: Count Me Out

Double Pay: Count Me Out
April 27 18:18 2016

BY CHRIS NGIGE

[I]t is my considered opinion that I respond in the public interest, to the issue of double emoluments to former State Governors, which has drawn sustained media discuss, and no less negative reactions from a cross section of Nigerians.

I am doing this, being fully aware of the relevant sections of the law, public morality and the prevailing ethos of honest and transparent leadership, which the Federal Government of our great Party led by Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, is battling to enthrone. It, therefore, becomes imperative for me to explain my own circumstance as I neither draw from nor have at any time drawn double emoluments, having been elected or appointed into public service positions at different times.

I wish to put on record that since I left office in 2006 as Governor of Anambra State; through the four years I spent in the 7th Senate (June 2011-2015) and currently as the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment with effect from November 11, 2015, I have never drawn a dime even in the intervening period that I was not in public office, as salary, emolument or pension from the Anambra State government coffers.

In fact, I have not received any severance benefit as prescribed in the Anambra State House of Assembly law on pensions and other welfare and benefits for former Governors and Deputy Governors, 2006, and amended 2013. Aside the two utility vehicles given to me some years ago, I have not accessed any of the privileges and other lawful trappings due to the office.

It is worth stating here that the Supreme Court affirmed that I was entitled to these benefits in their landmark judgment in Mike Balonwu and others Vs Anambra State Government, which declared me Governor, defacto and dejure between 2003-2006.

This explanation has become more necessary because of the calls and enquiries I have been receiving from so many quarters especially my friends and even from my new constituency, the labour.

The ultimate aim of public office is service to the people and putting the public conscience in mind is the only way to achieve it. This I will continue to pursue.