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Why Wike, Oyetola, Umahi, others’ life pensions must be stopped – SERAP tells Tinubu

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has urged President Bola Tinubu to ensure the stoppage of further collection of life pensions and other allowances of former governors who are serving as ministers in his administration from the states while they serve as ministers.

SERAP, also urged the President to instruct the former governors to immediately return any pension and allowances that they may have collected since leaving office to the public treasury.

The affected former governors, who are now ministers in the Tinubu administration, include: Badaru Abubakar, Nyesom Wike, Bello Matawalle, Adegboyega Oyetola, David Umahi, Simon Lalong, Atiku Bagudu and Ibrahim Geidam.

In the letter to President Tinubu, dated August 19, 2023 and signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “The appointment of former governors who collect life pensions while serving as ministers is implicitly forbidden by the Nigerian Constitution 1999 as amended and the country’s international legal obligations.”

“You would be acting in the public interest by stopping former governors now serving as ministers in your government from collecting life pensions, especially given the current grave economic realities in the country.

“If the ministers that the president appoints are those who collect life pensions rather than serve the public interest, then that may show little about the conduct and integrity of the ministers, but speak volumes about the exercise of presidential power of appointment.

“Nigerians will judge you in part by the conduct, integrity and honesty of the ministers that you appoint to work in your government. Ultimately, the success of your government would depend on the conduct of the ministers that you appoint.

“While many pensioners are not paid their pensions, former governors serving as ministers get paid huge severance benefits upon leaving office, and are poised to enjoy double emoluments on top of the opulence of political office holders.

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.

“Stopping the former governors from collecting double emoluments would be entirely consistent with the proper exercise of your constitutional power to appoint ministers.

“Stopping the former governors from collecting life pensions would ensure that the country’s wealth and resources are used for the common good and benefit of the socially and economically vulnerable Nigerians rather than to satisfy the opulent lifestyle of a few politicians.

“Instructing the former governors now serving as ministers in your government to stop collecting life pensions from their states would also improve public confidence in the integrity and honesty of your government.

“The states currently implementing life pensions for former governors reportedly include: Jigawa, Kebbi, Jigawa, Ebonyi, Yobe, and Rivers. Many of these states owe workers’ salaries and remain the poorest in the country.

“Several of the pension laws in these states include provisions for six cars every three years, a house in Lagos worth N750 million, and another in Abuja worth N1 billion, unrestricted access to medical attention, and pensionable cooks, stewards, and gardeners.

“Other provisions 100 per cent annual salaries of the incumbent governor, security operatives and police officers permanently assigned to former governors.

“SERAP notes that in your inaugural speech as president you promised that your administration will be guided by ‘the principle of the rule of law, a shared sense of fairness and equity’, and that Nigeria will be impartially governed according to the constitution.

“Life pensions for former governors serving as ministers are entirely inconsistent and incompatible with the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption.”

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Business

BREAKING: Tinubu Appoints Ayodeji Gbeleyi as BPE DG

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President Tinubu
– Ayodeji Gbeleyi appointed as Director-General of Bureau of Public Enterprises
– Renowned financial expert and award-winning chartered accountant
– Over 30 years of experience in diverse sectors

President Bola Tinubu has appointed Ayodeji Ariyo Gbeleyi as the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).

According to the President’s spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, Gbeleyi is expected to bring his vast experience and competence to bear in this role.

Gbeleyi is a fellow of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.

He has also attended executive programmes at the prestigious London Business School, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Lagos Business School.

With over 30 years of post-qualification experience in diverse sectors, Gbeleyi is well-equipped to strengthen the agency as the national resource centre for capacity building and sustenance of reforms.

The President expects him to promote a competitive private sector-driven economy and ensure social accountability and efficient deployment of public resources.

“The new Director-General is expected to bring his vast experience and competence to bear in this role,” said Ajuri Ngelale. “He will advance effective corporate governance and fiduciary discipline in the public and private sectors.”

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Opinion

Love Knows No Age: Breaking Down the Taboo of Younger Men Dating Older Women in Nigeria

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As I explore Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage, I’m struck by the harmful biases that exist.

One example is the stigma against older women dating younger men – a double standard that restricts women’s choices and reinforces harmful gender stereotypes.

In Nigeria, a woman’s value is often tied to her age, with younger women being prized for their beauty and fertility.

what about older women who desire love and companionship? Why are they shamed for their relationships, forced to hide their love due to societal pressure?

The double standard is clear. Older men marrying younger women is widely accepted, even celebrated, while older women in relationships with younger men face judgment and discrimination.

This issue affects men too, who are trapped by societal norms, forced to conform to traditional gender roles and expectations.

It’s time to challenge these outdated norms and embrace love in all its forms by promoting gender equality and inclusivity.

Let’s look to inspiring examples of older women who have defied societal norms and found love with younger men. Women like Gabrielle Union, who has spoken publicly about her relationship with her husband, Dwyane, who is several years younger than her or women like Viola Davis, who has embraced her love for her husband, Julius Tennon, despite their significant age difference.

These women are trailblazers, paving the way for a new generation of Nigerians who refuse to be bound by societal norms.

They show us that love knows no age, no gender, and no boundaries. It’s time for us to follow their lead and create a society that truly celebrates love in all its forms.

Research has shown that relationships with significant age gaps can be just as fulfilling and long-lasting as those with smaller age gaps. In fact, some studies suggest that older women in relationships with younger men may experience increased happiness and satisfaction due to the younger partner’s energy and enthusiasm.

By letting go of societal constraints and embracing our true desires, we can experience increased self-esteem, confidence, and overall life satisfaction.

we can create a society where everyone can love freely, without fear of judgment or rejection.

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