The Delta State House of Assembly has finally passed the Governor and Deputy Governor Pension Rights and Other Benefits (Amendment) Bill 2019 into law, controversially making persons who have served the State as governors in acting capacity beneficiaries of full pension.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reports the Bill, which has caused rancour and heated up the polity after it was first introduced to the House was read the third time and passed on Wednesday at a plenary session presided over by Speaker Sheriff Oborevwori.
The passage of the bill which seeks to accommodate former Acting Governor in the Pension law, followed a motion to that effect by the House Majority Leader, Hon Tim Owhefere, seconded by the Deputy Majority Whip of the House, Hon Fred Martins and was adopted at Wednesday’s plenary.
The House had at the Committee of the Whole, chaired by the Speaker, scrutinized the report on the bill by the Joint Committee on Rules, Business, Legal and Judicial Matters and the Special Committee on Bills.
At the Committee of the Whole, some amendments were proposed and adopted with the Chairman, House Committee on Rules, Business, Legal and Judicial Matters, Hon Charles Oniyere and that of the House Committee on Special Bills, Hon Tim Owhefere, leading the process.
The Speaker, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori while reporting progress on the findings, recommendations and resolutions of the Committee of the Whole, commended members for the painstaking attention given to the bill.
He said members carefully scrutinized the bill, and commended them for participating in the exercise, adding that; “Esteemed Colleagues, at the Committee of the Whole of the Delta State Governor and Deputy Governor Pension Rights and Other Benefits (Amendment) Bill, Members carefully scrutinized the Bill and made vital contributions that were very useful in the consideration of the Bill. I thank you for making the Committee of the whole a success”.
According to him, the third reading and subsequent passage of the three clause bill was another milestone in the desire of the House in making laws for the progress and good governance of the state.
In his words; “Distinguished Colleagues, this Bill has been passed in recognition of the hard work put in by meritorious men that have been saddled with the job of holding the reins of the affairs of the State. The passage of this Bill is not only apt but an achievement to the Seventh Assembly. I thank you for recognising the importance of this Bill and for your support and contributions throughout its consideration”.
The Governor and Deputy Governor Pension Rights and Other Benefits (Amendment) Bill 2019, which was read for the first time on 22nd of October 2019 by Tim Owhofere as the Majority Leader, was said to have been pushed by the State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa.
The bill was criticized as crude for seeking to make Mr Sam Obi who acted as a governor in 2010 for only two months when Emmanuel Uduaghan election was annulled by the Court of Appeal.
By the passage of the bill into law, Sam Obi would be entitled to annual salary of the incumbent Deputy Governor, and the formulae for calculation of his pension and gratuity will have 300% as final pay for gratuity while 70% as final pay for pension.
Sam Obi will now also enjoy free medical treatment within Nigeria and abroad where necessary, subjected to the approval of the serving governor. Tax payers will also foot his 15 days annual vacation anywhere within Nigeria.
As Fmr. Acting Governor, Mr Sam Obi will also be entitled to have his luxury vehicle and back up cars changed every two years and a new house built for him anywhere he chooses in Nigeria, with retinue of domestic staff and security personnels paid from the public purse, office with four staff paid for by the state.