Collection Of Illegal Jumbo Pay: Open Letter To Senator Babafemi Ojudu
This 7th January 2014 makes it 3 years from your pact with the electorate, and our experience is one of a perfect breach of the pact: like every other senator, you would have unlawfully collected the sum of N540million in each senator’s N45m Quarterly Allowance alone (i.e by year ending May 28, 2014)
4th January, 2014.
Senator Babafemi Ojudu,
Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
(Representing Ekiti Central Senatorial District),
National Assembly, Three-Arms Zone,
(AN OPEN LETTER)
Dear Senator Ojudu,
Culpable Breach Of Election Pact In Collection Of Illegal Jumbo Pays
This is to congratulate you on your electoral victory at the April 2011 general elections in which you won as a Senator to represent the good people of Ekiti Central Senatorial District at the Senate. Sir, it is recalled that one of the factors that endeared you to the electorate and which facilitated your election was your promise then to denounce and reject the jumbo pays being claimed by Nigerian legislators. As the Managing Editor of Abuja-based P.M. News then, your promise to, and pact with, the electorate was reported on page 10 of THISDAY newspaper on Friday January 7, 2011 thus: “Comrade Babafemi Ojudu has expressed a strong will to lead a campaign against lawmakers’ huge allowances and the National Assembly’s budget, if elected. Ojudu…also asked the entire community of the electorate in the country to vote out any aspiring (or returning) lawmaker that would not openly support the reduction of lawmakers’ allowances and the National Assembly’s budget. Take it from me, there is no way I will be in that Chamber and will not speak against ridiculous allowances. We should be ashamed that diseases which have been eradicated in other climes are still killing our people while a few Nigerians are appropriating the country’s wealth to themselves. ..”
Senator Ojudu, this 7th January 2014 makes it 3 years from your pact with the electorate, and our experience is one of a perfect breach of the pact: like every other senator, you would have unlawfully collected the sum of N540million in each senator’s N45m Quarterly Allowance alone (i.e by year ending May 28, 2014), an amount that is far in excess of the N15,i98,960 (N5,066,320/year)recommended by RMAFC for the same purpose over the same 3-year duration, by virtue of S.70 of the amended 1999 Constitution. And this means that at the expiration of a 4-year tenure on 28th May 2015, you, like every other senator, would have collected a minimum total amount of N720m in Constituency Allowance alone – as against N20,265,280 statutorily due. Coming closer, you, like every other senator, collect a minimum total annual emoluments of N187,700,320 as against N12,766,320 constitutionally recommended by RMAFC; accordingly, you would at the end of 4years have collected a cumulative total emoluments of N750,801,280 (net of severance benefits, loans and cuts from Constituency projects, etc), as against N51,065,280 which you are lawfully entitled to. This excess N699,736,000 amounts to almost 14 times (1,370%) bloat in a senator’s emoluments. These and a more scandalous bloat in personnel overhead account for the unconscionable NASS’ N150bn recurrent budget that has brought international ridicule and condemnation on all members of the National Assembly.
Dear Senator, the Nigerian electorates want to know why you neither spoke against nor rejected this satanic package when you got to the Senate, as you vowed to do in 2011. They also want to know why you could not pay back the excess jumbo allowances into the treasury, assuming your colleagues forcefully paid it into your bank account. We also want to know if you and other legislators who go about trying to appease the deprived electorates with crumbs of benevolent Greek gifts do not consider such politically motivated kindness as amounting to blood money and stealing, seeing that you cannot give out what doesn’t belong to you, in the first place? Senator, does it appear to you that this contrived benevolence of most politicians is a nobler virtue than keeping the compact of honest dealings between the people and their rulers?
By this almost 14times inflation margin in a legislator’s personal emoluments, is it still arguable the assertion by cost experts and management consultants that NASS’ present N150bn budget can be conveniently reduced to a less outrageous sum not exceeding N25bn naira, and save over N125bn to meet the current pressing needs in the health and education sectors, or to create direct jobs for 500,000 jobless youths? Is it of any concern to Senator Ojudu that the recent and previous wage crises rocking the economy had been propelled by the largely outrageous labour’s demands benchmarked on such fiscal irresponsibility exhibited by the legislators?
Again, Senator, do you realize that legislators are in treasonable breach of the Constitution and oath of office by drawing any salary or allowance outside of the (still very high) amounts recommended by RMAFC – as published in the dailies way back in July 2011? Do you doubt the claim that only an illicit pact between the senators and EFC/ICPC chairmen could have prevented the agencies from arresting and prosecuting the 109 senators for such prolonged financial malfeasance? And judging from your 2011 pronouncement of voting down any aspirant who receives or approves of such jumbo pays, do you still want the electorate in future elections to vote for you and any of your present co-legislators who have received such jumbo pays and allowances?
Dear Senator, kindly help to point out to your co-legislators the evil of misappropriating such large sums of money to themselves in the face of acute poverty and unemployment ravaging the country, and persuade them to limit NASS’ 2014 budget to N25bn, while making arrangements to refund the billions of naira so far stolen through the budgeting process. Legislators who in the past committed similar frauds in countries like Britain, Canada, and Nova Scotia all resigned from parliaments and refunded the excess claims. Nigeria’s case is even more reprehensible, and should not be treated differently. The people and the international community have protested for too long, and see no reason to prolong this evil to 2015. The Book of Proverbs 20:17 warns that “Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel”
Victor TC Anyanwu –Snr. Economist.
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