The former president described the pension law as a “rascality” and “act as daylight robbery,” considering that retired workers were owed their pensions

Former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has urged state governors to follow the example of Governor Alex Otti of Abia State in repealing laws that support the payment of pensions to former governors and deputies in their states.

On Tuesday, the Abia State Assembly passed a bill to repeal the 2001 law that allowed former governors and deputy governors in the state to receive pensions that included houses in Abia and Abuja at the state’s expense, as well as lifetime salaries.

The governor signed the bill into law on Thursday.

At least two former governors of the state have stated that they did not receive their pensions, despite the existence of a law. The state government has not yet provided any information on the beneficiaries or the amount spent on the ex-officials.


This repeal of the law is in response to previous calls by civil society groups who had demanded the cancellation of such laws in states where they exist.

During a visit to Governor Otti in his private residence on Friday, Obasanjo praised the governor for his bravery in repealing the law, according to a statement by Otti’s spokesperson, Kazie Uko.

The former president described the pension law as a “rascality” and “act as daylight robbery,” considering that retired workers were owed their pensions.

“I watched the television and I saw repealing of Abia pensions and I asked you what exactly is this, and you said to me that the pension scheme for former governors here was too outrageous.

“It’s like trouble because it allowed them to have a house in Abuja and elsewhere, and it allowed them to cart away with whatever they can, yet the pensions of ordinary people from 2014 were unpaid,” he told the governor.

“What sort of leadership! You came and said there would be an end to that rascality. I congratulate you, and I say to you, I hope that your colleagues will follow your footsteps?” Obasanjo added.

The former president who congratulated Otti on his election as governor, reminded him that much work needed to be done.

“There is still a lot of work to be done. I said to you, you have started, but you should never be tired.

“Don’t be discouraged; you will be abused, you will be called names but if we have one-third of our states doing what should be done, this country will be a different country,” he said.

Obasanjo urged the governor to prioritize infrastructure development in Abia State, explaining that it will lead to greater heights with good leadership.

“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 worry 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 if there is any zone in this country that could really give what I call regional development, it’s the South-east geo-political zone because you are almost monolithic in everything,” he said.

Governor Otti, responding to the former president, assured him that his administration was prioritizing infrastructural development, particularly in Aba – the commercial hub of the state.

He pointed out that his administration had completed and commissioned 10 roads in Aba within the last nine months, while 31 other roads are at different stages of completion.

“We also have a 67.4-kilometre road we commissioned a few weeks ago that connects Umuahia through Uzuakoli and terminates at Ohafia,” he said.