Obasanjo commends Otti for repealing ex-govs’ deputies’ pension law

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Friday, commended Gov. Alex Otti, and the Abia State House of Assembly, for their courage to abolish the law which had entitled former Governors and their Deputies to enjoy life pension.

Obasanjo made the commendation when he paid a courtesy visit to Gov. Otti in Abia, on his way to Item where his former Special Assistant on Privatisation, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, was celebrating his 61st birthday.

Describing the abolished Pension law as “rascality”, Obasanjo expressed the hope that other Governors would follow Governor Otti’s his footsteps.

Obasanjo noted that pensions to the former Governors and Deputies were outrageous while those of ordinary retired workers were owed in Abia from 2014, describing the act as daylight robbery.

His words: “I watched the television and I saw : 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.

“It’s like trouble because it allowed them to have a house in Abuja and elsewhere, and it allowed them to cart away with whatever they can, yet the pensions of ordinary people from 2014 were unpaid.

“What sort of leadership! You came and said there will be an end to that rascality. I congratulate you, and I say to you, I hope that your colleagues will follow your footsteps?

“I say congratulations. Congratulations for your tenacity, congratulations for your not giving up, congratulations for your weathering the storm and congratulations for what you did yesterday (signing the repealing of pension law for former Governors and Deputy Governors).

“This morning, I came in and I met you exercising, a sound mind and a sound body and I say to you, now I know your secret. I was glad when you said you do that every  other day. It’s just like me playing squash on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I think a leader must keep himself or herself in a healthy condition.

“There are still a lot of work to be done, I said to you. You have started, but you should never be tired. Don’t be discouraged; you will be abused, you will be called names but if we have one third of our states doing what should be done, this country will be a different country.”

“I will  urge you to pay adequate attention to infrastructure, because if you give infrastructure and you give the type of leadership you are giving, the people of the state will have nothing to worry about. On their own they are enterprising. All they need is the leadership that will give them all the encouragement.

“I have always maintained that if there is any zone in this country that could really give what I call regional development, it’s the South East geo-political zone, because you are almost monolithic in everything.”

Receiving the former President, Governor Otti assured him that his administration was focused and single-minded on infrastructural development, especially in Aba, as that is at the core of all that is required.

Otti disclosed further that his government had in the last nine months completed and commissioned 10 roads in Aba, while 31 other roads are at different stages of completion.

He said, “In the last nine months, we’ve completed and commissioned 10 roads in Aba, and at the moment, we have about 31 roads that are in different stages of construction and completion. 

“The last one was flagged off two days ago; the Ozuabam to Arochukwu through Ndiokereke, and Okobo bridge. It’s a 30.1-kilometer road and that road has not been used in the last several decades. It connects Arochukwu to the rest of Abia state.

“We also have a 67.4-kilometer road we commissioned a few weeks ago that connects Umuahia through Uzuakoli and terminates at Ohafia.”

Governor Otti appreciated the former President for supporting his government’s decision to repeal the law that empowered former Governors and Deputy Governors to receive pensions, stressing that cost of governance is a major problem for every State and the Federal Government.

“I agree  with you completely on your comment about infrastructure, that is why we are very focused and single-minded in developing infrastructure particularly for Aba, which is the commercial and industrial hub of the state, and actually the South East.

“I want to also thank you for supporting our decision to repeal the Pension law for former Governors and former Deputy Governors. I had said yesterday as I signed the bill into law that I strongly believe that leadership is stewardship and if you’ve come to serve the people, you can’t at the same time be fleecing the people,” the Governor declared.

The former President was accompanied on the visit by Ms Adewunmi Osagie, MD Ocean City, Lagos; Ambassador Okey Emuche, Otumba Oyewole Fasawe, and Barrister Kingsley Ononuju

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