Confab adopts part-time legislation, seeks cancellation of severance pay for ex-governors

The Conference also adopted a recommendation for the creation of a character commission in each state of the federation.

The delegates to the on-going National Conference on Wednesday said governors and their deputies should no longer be entitled to pension and severance pay when they leave office.

The resolution might have been taken due to the pension laws passed by some states of the federation including Kano, Rivers, Gombe and Akwa Ibom.

The Conference also adopted a recommendation to make federal and state legislators operate on part-time basis.

These decisions were taken on Wednesday after the Conference adopted the resolutions of its committee on Public Service jointly headed by Ebele Okeke and Adamu Aliyu.

Under the new arrangement, states offering pension, life insurance and severance allowances to former governors and their deputies would be expected to cancel such perks and or align them with global best practices.

The Conference also adopted a recommendation for the creation of a character commission in each state of the federation to protect the interest of minority ethnic groups.

The implication of this is that if eventually accepted by the president and included in the constitution, minority groups in the 36 states of the federation would enjoy equal treatment in appointments into public service of their different states.

The Conference Chairman, Idris Kutigi, said the decision is meant to address the non-application of the Federal Character principles at the state and local government levels.

However, the Committee’s recommendation that retirement age for civil servants, be fixed at 65 or forty years of active service; from the present practice of 60 years of age or 35 years of service was rejected.

Delegates had argued that those who have clocked 35 years in service or were 60 years old should give room for younger ones with fresh ideas to join the service.

The recommendation for the creation of Foreign Service Commission with a chairman and six commissioners, one of whom should be from each of the six geo-political zones was unanimously adopted.

The Conference also accepted the recommendation that governments at all levels should make public offices disability-friendly by providing special access facilities in line with international charters and treaties.

Besides, governments at all levels are expected to add allowances equivalent to Salary Grade Level 6 to persons living with disability to enable them employ an aide.

The Conference also sought to minimize disparities in public sector pay, particularly between political appointees, public officers, civil servants and staff of parastatals.

As part of cost saving measures, the Conference suggested that henceforth, political appointees ranging from ministers to commissioners and local government chairmen should no longer employ special advisers, special assistants, and personal assistants.

Instead, political office holders are encouraged to utilize staff of their ministries and council areas where it becomes necessary, as contained in Circular No: B63833/73 of January 3, 2000.

It also sought an amendment to Section 147(3) of the 1999 Constitution which demands that the President appoints at least one minister from each state of the Federation.

Instead, it asked that the section be reframed to indicate that the President shall appoint not more than one minister from each state of the federation.

While calling for full implementation of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), the Conference also advocated strong budgetary reforms and the creation framework for budget monitoring and evaluation.

However, former lawmakers at the Conference were quick to kick against the decision to make the legislature part-time.

They argued that holding a political office is not the same as being a career public servant; and that the legislature as presently constituted, is operating on part-time basis because members do not sit for a whole week.

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