From Okey Sampson, Umuahia

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and a Board of Trustees (BOT) and national caucus member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Benjamin Apugo have lauded Governor Alex Otti of Abia State for his courage in repealing the law that allowed former Governors and Deputy Governors of the State to enjoy pension.

Obasanjo who spoke at the weekend when he paid the Governor a visit, noted that pensions paid to the former Governors and Deputies were outrageous while those of ordinary retired workers were owed in Abia from 2014, describing the act as daylight robbery.

“I watched the television and I saw repealing of Abia pensions and I asked you what exactly is this, and you said to me that the pensions scheme for former Governors here was too outrageous.

“It’s like trouble because it allowed them to have a house in Abuja and elsewhere, and it allowed them to cart away with whatever they can, yet the pensions of ordinary people from 2014 are unpaid.

“What sort of leadership! You came and said there will be an end to that rascality. I congratulate you, and I say to you, I hope that your colleagues will follow your footstep?”

He expressed the hope that other Governors will follow his footstep.

On his part, Prince Apugo commended Governor Otti and members of the State House of Assembly for the repeal of the Law.

The Bill known as H.A.B 11: Law to Revoke the Abia State Governors and Deputy Governors Pensions Law No 4 of 2001 and for other Matters connected therewith, was passed into Law on Tuesday.

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Apugo queried what the beneficiaries of the former law did for the state that will warrant them to be paid pension for life.

He said it was annoying that a Governor who had total control of the finances of the state for eight years and did whatever he liked with it, without anybody questioning him, will turn around to be paid pension for life.

The APC Chieftain said it is more annoying that civil servants and other public servants who were statutorily entitled for pension, were denied it, only for ex-Governors and their deputies to be paid bogus amount as pension.

“Ex-Governors and their Deputies do not deserve to be paid any pension. The people who enacted the Law in the first place did not love the state.

“It is quite unfortunate that monies meant for the pensions of those who genuinely deserve them were used to pay those who never merited or deserved it.”

He said it was only a Governor with the pedigree of Otti, who would push for the repeal of such Law.

Apugo said Abians are solidly behind Otti and members of the State House of Assembly in this wise.

While commending the Governor for promptly signing the bill into Law, Apugo called on Otti to ensure that monies paid to any former Governor in this regard, be refunded to the state.