For the past few days, the social media has been awash with critical remarks against the Delta state house of assembly for passing a bill into law granting pension rights to a former acting governor, Prince Sam Obi, who served as acting governor for less than three months in 2011.
Sam Obi who was former speaker of the house of assembly, became acting governor when the Appeal Court in Benin sacked former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and called for re-run within a period of 90 days. Hence, the speaker of the state house of assembly, Obi, became acting governor of the state.
Within the period of the 90 days, the election was conducted and Uduaghan won again and was reinstated to continue his governance from where he stopped. This made Obi to be leader of the state executive council for the period under review.
Obi was not elected nor was he appointed governor but based on the foregoing he emerged as governor for the short period. As it is, Obi did not spend the entire 90 days in office as acting governor of the state. The constitution only grants pension rights to governors who were duly elected as governors of the state.
Even at that, there is practically no reason for granting pension rights to governors, most of whom steal their states dry before leaving offices for the next occupants, knowing that their stay is at least four years and at most eight years if they eventually scale through the hurdle of second term election.
But members of Delta state house of assembly whom many describe as rubber stamped house of assembly and an appendage of the state executive, within the week, passed into law a bill for the inclusion of acting governor into the pension rights for governors of the state. One finds it unclear the rationale behind this action of the rubber stamped house of assembly of Delta state.
The house of assembly that was once prided itself as the most vibrant in the nation has lost its prestige and become a ‘yes’ assembly to every bill from the executive without weighing the pros and cons of such a bill and the impact it will have on the average people of Delta state.
Although this writer cannot authenticate how much is the pension right for governors in the state, it may not be less than 500,000 to one million naira monthly for doing nothing and sleeping in their homes after amassing wealth to themselves when they hold sway as governors.
Many Deltans have voiced out their grievances over the development as it is believed the action of the house has no economic value to the state and why for the sake of one person the assembly will alter the constitution to pay him money monthly.
One Festus Tony who posted on facebook lamented the economic waste in the state. He accused the asseembly of yielding to all pleas from the executive probably with some financial gratification to allow the controversial bills from the executive scale through.
Tony said: “Just ask them to pass a bill that all unemployed graduates in Delta state should be paid two thousand naira monthly, it will take almost forever for that bill to scale through first reading. But here they’re, it didn’t take them less than two weeks to pass a bill that will cripple the state economy.
“Delta state does not have a legislative arm of government. What they have there are some group of hungry men who came together to hustle as well as mortgage the future of their own children and that of their relatives. They went there not to represent the people.
“It is worthy of note that these set of individuals who sold their conscience to mortgage the future of their children, will still come back to the people, and appeal for votes. And is so painful that they will return to the house for another four years.”
This is the sorry state Delta has found itself. Any bill that will favour their cronies easily scales through without glitches but what will favour the masses and the youths is completely politicized and maybe shared to politicians, girlfriends and family members.
Delta state has been suffering in the hands of hawks over the years. The state has been crying for deliverance and it is painful that a deliverer is yet to come.