Outgoing Nigerian Governors Set to Retire into Lives of Luxury Despite Mounting Debt and Unpaid Salaries
As their tenure draws to a close, the spotlight is on the outgoing Nigerian governors who are preparing to step into lives of luxury, all while their states grapple with mounting debt and unpaid salaries.
Despite leaving behind a staggering financial burden for their successors, these governors are poised to enjoy generous pension benefits, including opulent mansions, luxury vehicles, and domestic staff, News About Nigeria reports.
This stark contrast between their privileged retirements and the financial woes of their states has raised concerns about the fairness and responsibility of such arrangements.
Data from the Debt Management Office reveals that these outgoing governors will be handing over at least N3.06tn ($6.65bn) in debt to the incoming administrations.
This includes N2.27tn ($4.93bn) in domestic loans and $1.71bn in foreign borrowing. The enormity of these figures poses significant challenges for the incoming governors, hindering their ability to address pressing issues such as unpaid salaries and mounting infrastructure needs.
Despite the financial strain their states face, the outgoing governors are set to reap the benefits of laws enacted by their respective state houses of assembly.
These laws guarantee them substantial monetary pensions, luxurious mansions built in locations of their choice, an array of high-end vehicles, and a retinue of domestic and security aides.
These privileges, enshrined in the state-specific pension laws, further exacerbate the disparity between the retiring governors and the struggling citizens they leave behind.
For instance, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, who has faced accusations of owing teachers seven years’ worth of salaries, will enjoy the provisions outlined in the Rivers State Pensions for Governor and Deputy Governor Law, 2012.
The benefits include the regular provision of new vehicles, payment of 100% of their basic salaries, and generous allowances for furniture, medical services, and entertainment.
Similar scenarios are witnessed in other states. Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, despite the state’s staggering domestic debt of N304.25bn ($662.2m) and foreign debt of $58.77m, is entitled to a furnished duplex, extensive medical coverage for himself and his immediate family, regular vehicle upgrades, and armed security personnel. The perks extend to the deputy governor as well.
In Akwa Ibom State, Governor Udom Emmanuel and his deputy are expected to enjoy benefits outlined in the state’s Pension Act, 2014, which includes the replacement of official and utility vehicles every four years.
These cases, along with several others, raise questions about the priorities and accountability of the outgoing governors.
While they embark on lives of luxury, their states continue to grapple with mounting debt burdens and the distressing issue of unpaid salaries.
The stark contrast between the retiring governors’ opulence and the financial struggles faced by their constituents calls for a reevaluation of the system to ensure fairness, transparency, and responsible governance.