By Krazy Mary
Why Akpabio, Why? Why have you exposed us like this? Ewoo, dis kain wahala man sef! I have always known this your garrulous approach to things will put you in hot water sooner or later. But look at it now, it is the entire club of governors that you have put in an unnecessary tight corner. Every other governor was quietly creating pension benefits and ‘settling’ all other relevant parties but you, you went and did yours in the thick of a fight with members of your own party (PDP) and a vocal opposition. See? Now I cannot dare do what I had planned to do with my own pension law.
Anyway, na wetin sef? These people saying and writing all sorts, what do they know? Do they know how difficult it is to become and remain a governor in Nigeria? Do they think we are teachers who foolishly wait for their rewards in heaven? I beg, they should cool down jare. So they want a whole executive governor of a state to start ‘managing life’ after leaving office, or worse still go begging? Did they not hear what happened to the great Sam Mbakwe of blessed memory? After all he did to make Imo state great what did he get in return? The state abandoned the poor man to die because he did not have immediate cash to fly himself abroad for urgent treatment.
What of Lateef Jakande of Lagos State with all the praises he still receives from Lagosians almost a generation after his ‘action government’ days, I was shocked to see the ordinary house he was living in before I became governor. He was even driving a Tokunboh car! A whole executive governor. Kai! It is not my portion Allah! Shebi dem say “Once a Senator, always a Senator”; so also “Once a Governor, always a Governor”. So a Governor’s living standard must not drop by one kobo when he leaves office. Do these critics know the sacrifice it takes to be a Governor?
The funny thing is that Akpabio did not even ask for much…just a monthly pension for life at the rate equivalent to his current salary. Akpabio and his deputy; Mrs. Ebe will, receive 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 (RMAFC). Other perks incude a new car and a utility vehicle once every four years. Also, Akpabio’s rich state is also to provide an amount not exceeding N5 million or an equivalent of $50,000.00 monthly for Akpabio to engage the services of a cook, chauffeurs and security guards. That is not all, estacode for the ‘pensioned’ governor and his wife for 30 days of annual vacation abroad will be guaranteed along with telephone and internet services for life. So what is the big deal here? After all, Akwa Ibom is richer than some West African countries put together. Do they know that Tinubu gets 6 cha cha cars from Lagos every 3 years or that Saraki gets 40 million Naira from Kwara every quarter? Honestly, it is just the gra-gra politics of this Akpabio that is bringing undue attention to this minor matter.
Well, as for me, having a mansion in my state capital is not enough, my pension plan is that my state must pay for and maintain mansions for me in London, Paris, New York and, of course, Dubai. And, wait a minute, how do I go through these places without a private jet, so I must also get a private jet in tow, complete with estacode, any time I am traveling. Yes ke, it is not easy to be a Governor.
Well, if I were a retiring governor, I will look at the great legacies that will guarantee a warm space for me in the hearts of the citizens of the state. I will look at the major advances that I have made in my state and the ‘uncommon’ empowerment that I have given my people who will be struggling among themselves to shower me and my generations unborn with goodwill, love and kindness.
If I were a retiring Governor, I would realize that all the mansions in my state capital and Abuja are nothing compared to my castle in heaven or Allah’s paradise. I would know that I will only be qualified for God’s benevolence if I had graciously shown benevolence to the poor people he ordained me to serve. If I were a retiring Nigerian Governor, I would tailor my pensions in line with what the civil servants in my state enjoy. I will hearken to the paraphrased exhortation of the Late President of the United States of America, Mr. John F. Kennedy, who once said “Ask not what your state can do for you; ask what you can do for your state”. After all what is good for the Goose is good for the Gander. Haba Nigerian Governors!