Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) through its Senior Elders’ Forum has urged the Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) to follow the example of their counterpart in Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on the cancellation of payment of pensions former governors and their deputies.
Rising from a meeting held at the Bodija residence of the first female Professor in Nigeria and first female Professor of Library Science in Africa, Toun Ogunsheye, the elders noted that the stoppage of pensions to ex-governors and their deputies would not only reduce the cost of governance, it would also help government to focus more on reduction of youth unemployment in the South West zone.
Sanwo-Olu had on Tuesday November 10, 2020, while presenting the 2021 appropriation bill to the Lagos State House of Assembly, announced that his administration would repeal the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007), which makes provision for the payment of pension and other entitlements to former elected governors and their deputies in the state.
The Senior Elders’ Forum of YCE that spoke through the former president of the council, Dansaaki Agbede, and the secretary, Mike Omoleye, said: “We expect other governors in Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo, Osun and Ogun States to replicate the good move by Governor Sanwo-Olu because they are not economically buoyant. We can’t really afford the amount that these people, who have been there for four to eight years and have been having sumptuous life to continue collecting pensions.”
On the #EndSARS protesters, the group stated: “YCE also frowned at the Federal Government’s attitude towards the #EndSARS protesters. Freezing of their accounts, harassing, intimidating and detaining them negated the promises that government made to the innocent youths before they suspended the protests.
“We express our shock and disappointment at government’s attitude towards the EndSARS pledges, which it made. In our own view, we thought the government was going to make use of laudable suggestions and opinions and negotiate with them. But, we are horrified about what we are hearing from the general public that the #EndSARS leaders are being suppressed, harassed, their accounts being frozen and they are being picked one after the other for detention and humiliation.
“We expect the government to fulfill the promises made to the general public. The #EndSARS protesters have never been alone. The money they collected was not their school fees or pocket money. They represented the feelings of majority of the people. Instead of harassing the innocent protesters who have exercised their rights, the government should focus its attention to Boko Haram terrorists who inflict terror on the people. The government should focus on the security of this nation. What we hear now is that Boko Haram are now getting more sophisticated.”
The group also commented on the agitation for self-determination for the Yoruba nation, saying: “We want self-determination for Yoruba nation and the issue of sovereign national conference should be in the front burner of this government. We appeal to this government to see to the education of our children. For a whole academic year, Academic Staff Union of Universities has been on strike and it is not certain when they will suspend it. None of their children is suffering this. It is the children of the masses that are losing one academic year.”