Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa has withheld assent to the divisive “lifetime pension” proposed for former members of the state’s legislature, and recently passed by the State House of Assembly.
Backstory: The state assembly had proposed and passed a bill last Wednesday, to ensure that former speakers of the assembly receive a post service monthly pension of N500,000, while deputy speakers receive N200,000 and other lawmakers receive N100,000.
The state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had spoken out against the “selfish” bill which was passed by a legislature largely dominated by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which occupies 22 of the 24 seats in the house.
Shockingly, the Bayelsa assembly leader, Peter Akpe, claimed that the bill was actually sent by the executive arm led by Governor Seriake Dickson.
Dickson says NO: If the bill was truly the brainchild of the governor, he certainly isn’t standing by it. Gov. Dickson has withheld assent to the bill, according to the state Commissioner for Information, Daniel Iworiso-Markson.
In a letter to the Speaker of the House on Monday, the governor said:
- “The provisions of this Bill granting pension to members of 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 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.”
- He said even though the lawmakers can adjust how much pension is payable to those entitled to pensions, he was “not convinced that the House has powers to add to the categories of pensionable public officers.”
- He also said the state is not equipped to handle the payments due to the “myriad of issues and challenges” facing it and “the volatility of the oil economy and low Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).”