Governor Hope Uzodinma has not stopped to receive encomiums over the repeal of the former governors pension law.
The Imo State Government had last Friday signed into law, the bill repealing former governors from receiving pensions, gratuities amongst other entitlements.
While Imo people, home and in the diaspora have kept hailing Uzodinma, the All Peoples Grand Alliance(APGA), a former National President of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASSU) and former Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ukachukwu Awuzie and Elder Statesman Bob Njamanze yesterday hailed governor Hope Uzodinma for repealing the Imo governors and Speakers Pensions and Privileges law
Although each spoke separately to Newsmen in Owerri , they were unanimous in applauding the courage of the governor for signing into law the Executive bill passed by the House of Assembly which abolished Pensions and Privileges to former governors and Speakers and their deputies, saying his action was in the best interest of Imo people.
Some of them also described the repeal law as the best law ever passed in the state, Just as they pleaded with the governor to use the pension funds from the past leaders to develop the
They were equally of the view that, the past leaders have been collecting pension illegally citing the pension act.
First to speak is the Imo State Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, John Iwuala. He said: “According to available statistics Imo spends up to N1.3 billion per annum on these people for payment of pensions and maintenance of privileges such as paying for cook and stewards, changing of cars every four years and annual medical check-up abroad, etc”.
“You ask yourself in the pension act, are these people qualified to receive pensions, the pension act said you must receive pension when you have served the public at least ten years and above none of them can claim he has served in that office up to ten years.
“Look at it, they want to be paid their own pension but they failed to pay pensioners their pension, during their time as governors, can you imagine that. In fact, if I am the governor, I will ask them to return the pension that they have received because they are not qualified.
“I want to say, this is a welcome development, I am of the APGA, but we salute when the governor gets it right and say nowhere he is not doing the right thing. Let us commend him for this bold step.”
Speaking also, the former President of Academic Staff Union of University, ASUU, and the former Vice-Chancellor of Imo State University, IMSU, Professor Ukachukwu Awuzie, said: “What the governor has done is very altruistic, I must commend him, his deputy and the speaker of the Imo state House of Assembly because they are supposed to be future beneficiaries and they have decided to deny themselves of that.
“That is commendable, it is inline with Uzodimma’s concept of shared prosperity this law is said to have been made in 2007 and since then the beneficiaries have become very rich with public funds and in addition to that, we have to pay and maintain them all through their life.
“This is not very fair. Uzodimma should be emulated by all other state governors of Nigeria. It is not fair to the populace.
“With this now we are making governance a very serious business and not to enrich oneself for personal aggrandizement. It will reduce the level of struggle for the governorship position, that if you don’t get it; life is finished. It is the best law I have seen in Imo state.”
Prince Bob Njemanze, an elder statesman, who represented Imo East Senatorial District, at the 2014 National Constitutional conference said “I am totally in support of it. However, there could one or two of them who went in there to do selfless service who may actually have the need for one form of sustenance or the other.
If the governor can create an alternative avenue to help such persons who have been at that height and it is clear to all that they did not loot our patrimony that will be wonderful.
“But in terms of repealing the law I want to say I am totally and completely in support of the law and that action of the governor.”