Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Bello Masari, in an interview recently granted to the Sun bore his mind on many issues facing the country presently. The former lawmaker who has been silent on the political scene for some time now, criticized the attitude of most Nigerian governors to governance in the country.
What is interesting about the stance of the former speaker is the fact that he has especially expressed his reservations for the way most of these so called leaders focus on issues that concern sharing of the country’s revenue as if there are no other important things to deal with as far as governance is concerned.
Reacting to a particular question on whether there is any justification for calls by some people that the country be restructured, he said that the country is not practicing true federalism, that each state should in fact be granted autonomy and it should not be the responsibility of the federal government to determine a uniform salary for all political office holders.
In his words: “For example, under the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission, a salary structure was fixed for councilors, Chairmen of local government, state and National Assembly members and parastatals. I think they should limit themselves to the presidency because a councilor in my ward should not be earning the same thing like a councilor in some parts of Port Harcourt where revenue of a local government is even more than my state revenue… This is a simple area where the state government should determine the salaries and allowances of political office holders.”
He continues: “My governor should not behave like governor of Bayelsa. He should not behave like governor of Rivers. He cannot behave like governor of Lagos because their income is different. But what do you have today? The governors are competing over the issue of who has the best of fleet and who is the most well-dressed. They have abandoned the responsibility of leadership by doing something totally different. Salary structure should be fashioned on the basis of income of each state not on artificial basis.”