Former Deputy Governor of Lagos, Sinatu Ojikutu has disclosed that only governors and deputies from 1999 are beneficiaries of the law Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu plan to repeal the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007), which provides for payment of pension and other entitlements to former governors and their deputies.
The 75-year-old former deputy governor said that she spoke to the government of Babatunde Raji Fashola on the issue, but was specifically told that she and other legitimately elected governors and their deputies, including Lateef Jakande, were not eligible for the pension.
“But you know Pa Lateef Jakande, he just was not bothered. But both myself and Chief Rafiu Jafojo fought for our rights and we were not successful,” she said.
Ojikutu said they were told by Governor Fashola that only governors and deputies from 1999 were eligible when she inquired soon after the gazette on the pension was released.
She however said that former Deputy Governor under Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor- Akerele successfully had her name included in the pension scheme after a protracted legal battle.
Ojikutu was deputy governor to Sir Michael Otedola in the aborted Third Republic. Both were elected on the platform of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC). Sir Otedola who died in 2014 was also denied the pension package.
Ojikutu said it was necessary to make this known so that the wrong impression created that all former elected governors and deputy governors in Lagos State were beneficiaries of the controversial pension package.
“They cut off Jakande and Otedola. Can you imagine that?”, she said, adding that all efforts by Jakande’s deputy, Chief Jafojo to be included failed until the old man died.
She lamented that her own case was worse because she had not been earning pension from anywhere even after years of public service.
Ojikutu said that although she worked for the Lagos state civil service for years, she was specifically told that despite these, she was not entitled to both gratuity and pension from the state government.
“I started working with the system in 1966, soon after secondary school, but because I moved from one service to the other, the years were never accumulated. So, I have not gotten anything from the system.”
She disclosed that following persistent pressure, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode later agreed to include them in the system, but that he could not finalise it before he was removed from office.
Following outcry by the people of Lagos over the controversial pension package for former Lagos governors and their deputies, Governor Sanwo-Olu, during his budget presentation to the State House of Assembly Tuesday, had announced plan to repeal the pension law.
“Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members of the House, in light of keeping the costs of governance low and to signal selflessness in public service, we will be sending a draft executive bill to the House imminently for the repeal of the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007), which provides for payment of pension and other entitlements to former Governors and their Deputies”, Sanwo-Olu stated.
The governor added that, “It is our firm belief that with dwindling revenues and the appurtenant inflationary growth rates, that we need to come up with innovative ways of keeping the costs of governance at a minimum while engendering a spirit of selflessness in public service,”
The repeal of Pension Law 2007 will stop payment of pension to former governors Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who was governor from 1999 to 2007, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (2007 to 2015), Mr Akinwunmi Ambode (2015 to 2019), and their deputies.