Akpabio’s pension for life and the fear of tomorrow – a failure of the ruling class

(By Abiodun Aladetan)

No nation can survive without strong moral and ethical foundation. Correspondingly, a nation devoid of morals and strong code of ethics is a nation without a soul. In plain language; such a nation is without identity and can never take a pride of place in the comity of nations.

Late president John F. Kennedy once said “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country”, but in Nigeria, after serving for many years and in several capacities, the ruling classes are still asking the government what to do for them and their families. The reason is obvious, the fear of tomorrow.

Such is the case of the Governor of Akwa Ibom state and his new Pension for life initiative.

This scheme is evil, corrupt and capable of increasing crime rate among the millions of jobless graduate who suffer as a result of the failure of the ruling class who care about themselves and their cronies.

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, has defended his N200 million annual pay retirement perks, saying the new law was in the interest of the state. How can that be in the interest of the state? Or is Akpabio’s interest now also the state interest?

Based on Section 1(1) of the law, “An indigene of the state who has held office as a democratically elected governor or deputy governor of former Cross River State and a person who has held office as a democratically elected governor or deputy governor of the state shall when he ceases to hold office be entitled,” to the new perks.

Although similar laws have been passed by many Nigerian governors including those of Lagos, Rivers, Bauchi and Benue states, among others. Under the new law, Mr. Akpabio and others listed in Section 1(1) are entitled to a monthly pension for life at the rate equivalent to his current salary. Under this law, Mr. Akpabio and his deputy; Mrs. Ebe will, therefore, pocket a total of N2, 223, 705. 00; and N2, 112, 215, 00 respectively as monthly and a total of N26, 684, 460,00 and N25, 346, 580 respectively as pension, per annum. This is based on approved remuneration package for state executive and local government executive by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission. The governor is also entitled to a new official car and a utility vehicle once in every four years, one personal aide and the provision of adequate security for his person during his lifetime at the expense of the state government. Akwa Ibom taxpayers are also expected to provide an amount not exceeding N5 million or an equivalent of $50,000.00 monthly for Mr. Akpabio to engage the services of a cook, chauffeurs and security guards.

This is unfortunate. Why should an elected civilian governor and one who flaunts his “good boy” and “good performance” credentials with swagger be the harbinger of this bold advert of corruption and public profligacy?

Is Akpabio scared of tomorrow? I think the answer is a capital YES. This is premised on the fact that there is much uncertainty in the country, everybody especially the ruling class wants to accumulate enough wealth for themselves and their children’s children.

However, this line of thought by those who claim to have seen or known it all is flawed because nobody knows tomorrow. In other civilized climes, they approach the future with hope and confidence by putting structures as well as positive policies and programmes that guarantees a better tomorrow for all, and not the avaricious unilateral approach of stealing the present to create a better tomorrow that most of them don’t use in good health. In Nigeria, it pays to steal because there are no stringent laws against such act. No wonder the president said stealing is not corruption. This is the only country where a sitting president makes such a statement and its business as usual.

No nation can survive without strong moral and ethical foundation. Correspondingly, a nation devoid of morals and strong code of ethics is a nation without a soul. In plain language; such a nation is without identity and can never take a pride of place in the comity of nations.

Our leaders must therefore, note that in their mad rush to scandalous wealth accumulation, they murder the hopes and aspiration of our children who have also now imbibed the culture of thievery and lasciviousness. The implication being that we are raising a generation of Nigerians who are blind to the difference between right and wrong. They (the brand new corrupt youths) will kill, maim, rape, kidnap and defraud with impunity, even more than they have been taught by the bad examples of our present crop of corrupt leaders which means that the future the ruling class wishes to protect with their insatiable desire for wealth accumulation will be loaded with regrets and pains if this unacceptable trend is allowed to continue.

(Source: Dailypost)

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