LAGOS/By Dipo Awojobi – A Lagos State House of Assembly lawmaker, Hon. Tunde Braimoh has defended the proposal for pension for Speaker and Deputy Speaker, saying the law was meant to take care of the leaders of the house after they must have left office.
Braimoh, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Information and Strategy, said the lawmakers would be transparent in the passage of the controversial pension bill which is before the House.
The pension bill is titled”A Bill for a Law to amend the payment of Pensions and Other Fringe Benefits to Public Office Holders in Lagos State and for connected purposes.”
It seeks to amend the principal law by deleting the meaning of “Public Office Holder” and replacing it with “Public Office Holder” to mean Governor, Deputy Governor, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly.
The law may be amended as Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Amendment) Law 2016.
The lawmaker spoke at the 4-day workshop organised by the assembly for the journalists covering the assembly at the Centre for Management Development, Shangisha, Ketu, where he represented the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa.
He revealed that he has attended to several interviews on the matter in the last few days, adding that the law would not be passed through the back door.
“People would still be called upon to contribute to the law through public hearing. “The law is already in existence, but it only caters for the governors and deputy governors. But we felt that the leaders of the House should also have that kind of benefit so that they would not suffer, when they leave office.
“The legislature is the watchdog of the executive, so they should have a secured future so that they would not compromise their offices,” he said.
He said further that the pension of the speakers and the deputy speakers would be dependent on the number of years each of them serves, adding that the military has distorted the experience the people would have had on the legislature.
The theme of the workshop is; “Legislative Communication and Citizen Engagement-An Integrated Approach.”
Speaking earlier, the President of Grace College of Business and Marketing, which facilitated the training programme, Mr. Olu Oyewole, had expressed excitement with the calibre of the audience at the training programme.
He stated that the body is left uncatered for if the legislature, executive and the judiciary were the three arms of government.
According to him, it is unusual for the arms to exist all by themselves and for themselves.
“If we agree that usually, and logically, arms are necessarily appendages to a body, should we not agree also that the body is a quintessential part of the equation.
“If we so agree, might I ask; where in our compilation of arms of government is the body. Where is the citizen, the body to which the arms of government are attached in the scheme of governance,” he said.
He then wondered if the citizen was an afterthought, a supplement or an annex to governance.
Oyewole posited that ‘we have either not considered the citizen as part of the government or we have forgotten that they are indeed government or we are just so familiar with citizen, we have stopped seeing them.”
Also speaking at the opening ceremony, the Chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly Correspondents Association (LAHACA), Mr. Akinboye Akintola expressed appreciation to the leadership of the House for the training programme.
The journalists were then taken through the topic; “Integrated Communication And Strategies In Effective Legislation For Citizen Engagement” by Mr. Ade Thompson-John, while Mr. Oyewole took them through “Understanding the Media-Legislators Relationship.”