Former Governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, has evaded a question regarding reduction in lawmakers’ allowances.
Daniel, now Senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, emphasized that legislators now have more responsibility of executing projects, in addition to lawmaking.
The Senator, who spoke to Channels TV, did not provide a direct response when asked if he could sponsor a bill to reduce lawmakers’ allowances.
He said, “Well that perception of the people, how humongous the so called allowances are, I must confess that while I was outside I felt that, because when I compare what we are getting as governors and former governors by way of pension and you hear some figures you think that (it) is indeed important that this thing should be trimmed down.
“But I am also warned that a lot of things have changed in the last few years, ordinarily a lawmaker is supposed to go to the House or Senate Chamber to look at laws, bring out bills and so on and so forth.
“But regrettably the perception is now totally different, in fact I am not so sure that any lawmaker will be applauded for making one law or the other when you go back to your constituency.
“The level of poverty is so that they just say look the governor is doing his job, you too as a senator what are you bringing home, what are you facilitating. And when you are not able to do that, you better be sure that from your allowances you are doing a lot of things.
“For instance, I am going to in the next one week lunch a micro credit for all the local governments in my constituency which will cost me millions, that’s not from the government, I have to find a way either from my little resources or from whatever allowances I get to do some of those things.
“If I don’t, then I won’t be perceived as a successful senator, so a lot of things have changed and I think going forward, what I think may happen is to also look at the possibilities of looking at the laws again and ensuring that this constituency projects is giving to lawmakers because that is the only thing that people want to hear all the other things are not interested.”
Regarding his personal decision to request that the state government cease his pensions as a former state administrator, Daniel explained that he does not wish to receive duplicate renumeration given his return to public service after a 12-year.
“I remember there was indeed a court judgement which SERAP got basically saying that people should not be entitled to double payment, especially if you now have another kind of public office. But even before then, naturally, a human being should not be entitled to double remuneration.
“So, for me like I said earlier on, for about 12 years I was not in public service, now that I am back in public service let me just make sure that I tidy things up and somebody just pointed out to me and say why don’t I just remind the governor that I am not here and he should please stop the monthly pension that he was paying and hopefully when I am out of the Senate we check what the law says,” Daniel said.