The Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, says he will pay “monthly stipends” to former lawmakers and local government chairpersons in the state, his spokesperson said Thursday.
Mr. Umahi made the announcement at his Uburu country home when the people of Izzi clan, comprising Abakaliki, Izzi and Ebonyi Local Government Areas, paid him Christmas and New Year visit.
The payments will begin in 2017 and will be backed by law, the governor said.
“My aim is to carry everybody along especially the political class and that’s why I will be approaching the House of Assembly to ask them for approval so that those legislators that are not on seat now, we start paying them some stipends,” the governor was quoted by his Chief Press Secretary, Emma Anya, as saying on Thursday.
“Former Local Government chairmen will also be included. I believe this is how we can get them to help in developing and creating wealth in our state,” he said.
The payments would be unprecedented as states and federal governments are not known to pay pension or stipends to former lawmakers.
Serving and past Nigerian governors have been criticised for endorsing lavish post-office perks and benefits for themselves and their families.
More shocking, several such governors who later become Senators or Ministers, receive pensions as former governors, and also salaries for their new positions.
Laws passed by states assembly, authorising those packages, do not cover former lawmakers and past local government officials.
But the Ebonyi governor said he would approach the state House of Assembly soon, to make a law authorising payments to former state lawmakers and council chairpersons.
”I have said that all the former House of Assembly members and National Assembly members will come under our payroll in 2017,” the governor said. “This will douse tension and allow me some concentration with them so that we can complete the work we have started.”
Mr. Umahi has made similar spending in recent months.
In December, the governor announced the distribution of 18 Prado SUVs worth N279 million to 18 traditional rulers in the state.
Earlier, he distributed SUVs to all former governors of the state and other top officials like the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim.
He said the Director-General of his 2015 election, Fidelis Nwankwo, would be reappointed in 2019 – suggesting his plan to seek re-election.
Mr. Umahi also announced on Thursday that he would source for funds to conduct Local Government election in 2017.
He appealed to the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Francis Nwifuru, to enact a law that would enable the Caretaker Chairmen of LGAs to contest the election.