Connect with us


Four Reasons Dickson Dumped Bayelsa’s Controversial Pension For Lawmakers

By Our Correspondent



Serikae Dickson has cited four fundamental reasons he withheld assent to the controversial pension bill for members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly. He cited the fact that government should not be to serve a privileged few among the four reasons he rejected the bill on Monday.

The governor’s veto of the bill, however, came against the background of mutterings in some quarters that the governor was in agreement with the bill. There were indeed insinuations and reports in some sections of the news media last weekend that the governor had against the popular agitation of civil society and the public had given his assent to the controversial bill.

The bill provided among others that former Speakers of the House of Assembly would receive N500,000 monthly, former deputy Speakers, N200,000 and former members N100,000 monthly. The provisions of the bill were supposed to cover those who served in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly and indigenes of the state who served in the Rivers State House of Assembly when the state was part of the old Rivers State House of Assembly.

In rejecting the bill, Governor Dickson cited four reasons. The first was that the bill was against the provisions of Section 124 of the Constitution as it sought to expand the areas of the public service covered by pension. Second, the governor said that the state was beset with unstable revenue flow and as such could not sustain the weight of the bill on its finances. Third the governor said that no other state had such a law in its statute and fourth, the governor said he rejected it because government should not be for a select few.

In rejecting the bill, the governor said:

“The provisions of this bill granting pension to members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly and the extension of same to former members of the Assembly and Bayelsa indigenes who served in the old Rivers State House of Assembly, is inconsistent with Section 124 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

“I am not convinced about the legality of this bill which seeks to expand the categories of persons entitled to pension. While I agree that the Assembly can adjust the quantum of pension payable to persons entitled to pension, I am not convinced that the House has powers to add to the categories of pensionable public officers.

“Evidently, there is no record of any other state in this country that has expanded the categories of pensionable public officers to include lawmakers.  I do not agree that Bayelsa, which is coping with all the myriads of issues and challenges, with our low Internally Generated Revenue base and the unpredictable oil economy, should be the first to initiate this.

“Honourable members of this Assembly, Bayelsans and other Nigerians following our progress as a government would clearly attest to the fact that my entire public service, actions and decisions are marked by what is in the public interest, particularly the interest of the vulnerable, ordinary people. It is in the service of this category of people that in the last seven years, I have, in an unprecedented manner, which only history will record and reward, extended the frontiers of the benefits of purposeful democratic governance.

“It is my philosophy that government should not be for a select few. In the last seven years, my actions and decisions, which have sometimes elicited opposition from the elite who have been feeding fat on the resources of our state, have been marked by this singular disposition of mine.

“And I do not intend at this point to abandon that. Rather, I intend to do more to consolidate on the policies and actions which have been taken to protect the vulnerable. Therefore, I am unable to assent to this bill which in my view aims to expand and consolidate the class interest of a privileged few.”

 And For More Nigerian News Visit GWG.NG