Gift Joseph Okpakorese
It has gradually become a general conception and candidly a fact in the opinions of some persons that, the average Nigerian citizen no longer wants to believe in the genuinely of the government’s proposals or intentions to serve and perhaps fight for the interest of the common man because of their experiences from the past.
There is thus an overwhelming perception amongst most residents of the federations that most people in the position of leadership are solely concerned about their interest and self-satisfaction, every other person’s interest is either secondary or none important.
As a result of the above-mentioned beliefs, the majority of the Nigerian people are always very angry whenever they are abreast with pieces of information suggesting that the federal government alone stands to gain certain special privileges devoid of the masses. Such knowledge oftentimes brings about serious controversies and in worst-case scenarios, violence.
Recent reports have just revealed that there is an ongoing protest at the Enugu house of assembly over a bill seeking life pension for retired governors of the state.
According to eyewitness reports, the protesters invaded the assembly premises at approximately 11 am, request demanding that the bill should be immediately rescinded. The visibly angry masses were observed holding up placards that read, “No to political life pensions”, while chanting ‘solidarity’ songs.
Recall the uprising sprang up exactly a day after news sources; The Cable circulated an exposé on the bill which gives special entitlements estimated to be worth billions of naira for ex-governors, their deputies, and wives.
Media outlets further revealed that the executive bill was initially submitted for first reading last week Thursday 11 March 2021, coincidentally at a period where retired primary school teachers are being owed their pensions.
Another provocative factor in the proposed bill in the opinion of the protester is the fact that its provisions cover almost any apparent important expenses an ex-governor can incur in their lifetime even with the inclusion of monetary obligation for a funeral.
More so, the bill affords a very reasonable percentage of a governor’s annual salary as monetary entitlements for the retired governors every year as well as their wives being also entitled to a whopping sum of N12 million as annual medical allowances.
Hence it was observed that the majority of the state’s residents generally condemned the bill especially since other states including Lagos and Kwara are pushing towards the opposite direction with a strong opinion of discontinuing such life advantages for ex-governors.
It is interesting to note that more controversies are still on the horizon with regards to financial expenditures as well as revenue generation, as it was recorded that Enugu was only able to generate N12.2 billion as revenue in the first half of 2020. Certain other factors would need to be put into consideration such as the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic suffered by all economies globally, nationally, and statewide Enugu not being excluded. These issues will further weaken the resources of the state which has a 58 percent poverty rate, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
News reporters and eyewitnesses commenting on the episode, having observed the numerous examples, comments, chants, and grievances of the protesters are certainly convinced that these controversies and confrontations won’t be going away any time soon.