A former vice president and presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Atiku Abubakar, may be setting a precedent as he plans to earn a token N1 as salary per annum, if he is elected president in the February 2015 election.
This indication emerged on Saturday ahead of the Policy Retreat Review at the Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State, which begins Monday.
The retreat is part of the campaign strategies of the former vice president, who on September 24, formally declared his intention to seek the APC ticket, come December.
The Nigerian president currently earns a basic salary of N3.5 million annually while the vice president takes N3.03 million.
However, the president is entitled to other benefits/allowances. These are regular allowances such as hardship allowance of N1.7 million; Constituency allowance, N8.7 million; leave allowance of N351,470.50: severance gratuity N10.5 million; and motor vehicle loan N14.1 million.
The other allowances are for accommodation, furniture, utility, vehicle maintenance, entertainment, medical, security allowance, newspaper/periodicals and domestic staff. The costs are not provided by the Commission Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, the body which fixes the emoluments of Nigeria’s political, public and judicial office holders.
Mr. Abubakar, who served for eight years as vice president in the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2003, had earned an annual basic salary of N1,938,000, the same as the Senate President and the Chief Justice of Nigeria, before it was reviewed upwards in 2009 by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC.
At the time, Mr. Obasanjo earned N2,586,000 per annum.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that Mr. Abubakar’s decision to take a flat rate of N1as salary if elected president, was premised on his desire to give back to the country for all it has done for him. He had reiterated this promise when he made his formal declaration last month.
The presidential hopeful, who is believed to be one of the richest Nigerians, it was further learnt, would deploy the balance of his salary to service charity homes of his choice.
According to a source close to Mr. Abubakar, “I believe that Turaki may be considering taking a token salary of N1 not because he is endowed like so many others but to underscore his preparedness to make personal sacrifices in the quest to rebuild and reinvent our dear country and by so doing engender a culture of sacrifice in his envisaged administration.”
The Coordinator of Atiku Media Office, Garba Shehu, said he was not aware of the plan by his principal to earn N1 as salary and that it could be discussed at the the policy retreat.
He, however, said the retreat was expected to bring together 50 experts drawn from diverse backgrounds and competences to analyse and review the policy document that will deliver on Mr. Abubakar‘s commitment of making Nigeria work again for all.
Mr. Shehu said the retreat would afford the aspirant the “much-needed opportunity to have experts from diverse fields review and make inputs into the formulation of a road map that will encapsulate his blueprint and vision for Nigeria.”
“Our country is tired of unprepared leaders in the saddle, and now requires experienced and able hand capable of retooling and re-engineering our economy to generate massive jobs for our teeming unemployed youths,” Mr. Shehu said.
“It is about the effective implementation of the Power sector reforms, institution of a people-oriented health and education system for a sustainable and productive manpower base.”
He also quoted Mr. Abubakar as having asked the 50 International and local policy experts, who will be attending the two-day session, to use the opportunity to make meaningful input into his vision to make Nigeria work again for all.