The Lagos State House of Assembly may soon renew an amendment to a law that would provide life pension for the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, months after suspending the amendment as a result of public outcry.
Residents of Lagos had condemned the amendment when it first came up shortly before the end of the Seventh Assembly.
The amendment is to be done on the state Public Office Holders’ Pension Law (2007) to accommodate the duo instead of having just the state governor and the deputy governor as beneficiaries.
The issue came up again after a concerned citizen, Alhaji Kola Oseni, wrote to the House seeking that former governor of Lagos State, Lateef Jakande and two former deputy governors, Rafiu Bakare Jafojo and Sinatu Ojikutu should be accommodated in the law.
Segun Olulade, the representative of Epe Constituency 2, pleaded with the House to urgently consider the request, noting that during his tenure as Lagos State Governor, Jakande made some positive marks including making it possible for the House to have the first sitting.
In his contribution, Lanre Ogunyemi, the representative of Ojo Constituency 2 at the House, expressed surprise that Jakande was not part of the beneficiaries of the life pension law in the state.
He urged the House to act very fast about it, especially considering Jakande’s immense contribution to the state.
Victor Akande, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, representing Ojo Constituency I, described Jakande as a “symbol of democracy.
“He was part of the struggle for democratic and participatory governance right from the days of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and I think he should be considered in the law.”
However, in his contribution, Sikiru Osinowo, the representative of Kosofe Constituency I, urged the House to just use the opportunity to address the inclusion of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker in the proposed amendment that is meant to accommodate Jakande and others in the life pension law.
His argument was that Speakers and Deputy Speakers serve their various states longer than state governors and their deputies.
He further stressed that the immediate past Speaker of the state, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, served as Speaker for 10 years, adding that it would just be good to consider those who occupy the positions.
Osinowo said: “if the scheme cannot be extended to all members of the House, at least there is nothing bad in including the speaker and the deputy speaker in the law.”
Speaker Mudashiru Obasa said though he was not sure of any past leader in the state benefitting from the life pension law, the amendment of the law to accommodate the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker was not a bad idea.
He said the amendment must be placed before the people for approval.
According to Obasa, “it is not a bad idea but we have to take it before our people. If our people want it, so be it and if not, it’s also fine.
“The point is that the final say on this is with the people.”