Former President Olusegun Obasanjo applauded Governor Alex Otti of Abia State for repealing the legislation supporting pension payments for former governors and their deputies, calling the payment of pensions to them absurd and akin to a daylight robbery.

When Obasanjo visited Otti at his country home in Nvosi, Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area, on Friday, he spoke.The former President commended Otti for his bravery while simultaneously expressing his hope that other governors would follow Otti’s example and repeal the law.

He said, “I watched the television and I saw repealing of Abia pensions, and I asked you; what exactly is this? You told me that this place’s pension plan for former governors was too ridiculous.It is like trouble because it let them own a home in Abuja and other places, and it let them take whatever they wanted with them. However, the pensions of regular people from 2014 are still unpaid.

“What kind of management? You arrived and assured me that the mischievous behavior would cease. I congratulate you, and I say to you, I hope that your colleagues will follow your footsteps.”

Obasanjo congratulated Governor Otti for his tenacity and for weathering the storm to become the state governor and reminded him that a lot of work needed to be done.

“This morning, I came in and I met you exercising, a sound mind and a sound body and I say to you, now I know your secret. When you mentioned that you do it every other day, I was relieved. It’s just like me playing squash on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I think a leader must keep himself or herself in a healthy condition.

“Don’t be discouraged; you will be abused, you will be called names but if we have one-third of our states doing what shoulI was relieved to hear that you only do it every other day.

He urged the governor to focus on the state’s infrastructure development, stating that the state will rise to greater heights with both infrastructure and sound leadership.

Obasanjo described Abia and South East Asians in general as hardworking and enterprising, adding that the zone’s citizens needed strong leadership to inspire and support them in order to achieve greatness.“I will urge you to pay adequate attention to infrastructure, because if you give infrastructure and you give the type of leadership you are giving, the people of the state will have nothing to w

orry about.

On their own, they are enterprising. All they need is the leadership that will give them all the encouragement.”I have always maintained that the South East geopolitical zone is the one area in this country that can really give what I call regional development, because you are almost monolithic in everything,” the esteemed statesman chastised.

Receiving the former President, Governor Otti assured him that his administration was focused and single-minded on infrastructural development, especially in Aba.

“I want to also thank you for supporting our decision to repeal the pension law for former governors and former deputy governors. I had said yesterday as I signed the bill into law that I strongly believe that leadership is stewardship and if you’ve come to serve the people, you can’t at the same time be fleecing the people,” the governor declared.Governor Otti’s decision to remove the life pension for former governors and deputies was applauded by Mr. Clement Fatuwase, the chairman of the Trade Union Congress’s Ondo State chapter.

Fatuwase said, “What Otto did is good in the reality because these people are not supposed to be earning salaries after all they acquired while in office. How long did they work for before receiving a pension, whereas someone else worked for 35 years without receiving a pension when it was due?The governors would receive enough money while they are out to cover their gratuity.

Many workers owe these individuals 15, 20 years of pensions and gratuities, while they serve for eight years and receive lifelong benefits.In addition, the TUC Chairman urged state governors throughout the federation to take Otti’s lead and cease providing lifelong pensions to former governors and deputies.

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