The Lagos State Government has awarded a ₦10 million contract for the “production of architectural drawing for the proposed retirement house” for the outgoing governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.
The contract, which is being handled by Studio 3 Architects, was officially awarded by the state’s ministry of works and infrastructure on March 20.
Mr Ambode, who was elected into office in 2015, will hand over to his successor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on May 29.
As a former chief executive of the state, Mr Ambode will become a beneficiary of the Lagos State governor and deputy governor pensions law, known as the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension) Law, 2007; one of the most lucrative in the country.
According to Section 1 of the law, any person who held office as an elected governor or deputy governor shall be entitled to the payment of pension at the rate equivalent to the annual basic salary of the incumbent governor or deputy and other benefits provided by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
The law stipulates that the pension shall be for life, provided the person was not removed from office by impeachment or for breach of the constitution.
A breakdown of the law shows there shall be one residential house each for the governor and deputy governor at any location of their choice in Lagos State; and one residential house in Abuja for the governor on two consecutive terms.
The law also stipulates three cars for the governor and, in addition, one pilot and two back-up cars to be replaced every three years.
The governor is also entitled to, among others, a furniture allowance of 300 per cent of annual basic salary as well as a cook, steward, gardener, drivers, and other domestic staff who shall all be pensionable.
There shall also be free medical treatment for the governor and deputy governor and members of their immediate families.
‘An inanity across party lines’
Apart from Lagos State, at least six other states cashed in on the largesse for their former chief executives and their deputies, with Akwa Ibom providing what is, arguably, the most mouth-watering retirement benefits for its former governors and deputies.
The other states include Rivers, Gombe, Sokoto, Kano, Kwara, Yobe, and Zamfara states among others.
The revelation of the former governors’ and their deputies’ entitlements elicited outrage across the country, forcing the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, to approach a federal court in Lagos in 2017.
The group sued the federal government over its “failure to stop former governors and now serving senators and ministers from receiving double pay and life pensions, and failure to seek recovery of over ₦40 billion of public funds unduly received by these public officers.”
Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP’s executive director, told PREMIUM TIMES Saturday evening that the suit is still in court.
“What we see that is happening is so terrible and dangerous for the country,” Mr Mumuni, a lawyer, said.
“Where people charged with executive and legislative powers make laws for their own selfish interests, instead of for the people.”
Mr Mumuni said “these inanities” go across party lines as both the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress states are involved.
“It is unfortunate that none of the parties is ready to reverse the law. Nigerians should continue to demand for better governance,” he added.