By Dapo Akinrefon
Mr Shehu Bankole-Hameed, author, politician is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC. Bankole-Hameed, a member of the Lagos Forum in this interview, lampoons former governors and their deputies who receive pension from the state coffers. Excerpts:
What is your take on the discovery that some former governors and their deputies earn pension and salaries?
This development in itself might have not been a bad news , but for the fact that a cursory look at the entire provisions opens up a can of worms. It is unheard-of that a pensioner in an organisation; will be found at a full time job receiving full time wages and allowances in addition to the pension fund, which the company pays to this individual.
If that ever happened, we all will immediately describe such an occurrence as fraudulent and criminal. What is happening is not different; here are a bunch of misfits who happen to rundown their respective states, got fantastically rich in the process (mostly through corrupt means), screw the system to get selected to Senate, get astronomical salaries and allowances – from Nigeria while been paid pension, through the same Nigeria.
If this is not daylight robbery, tell me what it is. It must stop. For any truly retired elected official, who is due for pension, the rules should follow simple rules that guide civil service rules. No unworthy appropriations for a man, who only worked for eight years. It is absurd. I honestly think we need to jettison the so called constitution and give true governance and legislation to the people. This country needs a proper constitution and not what the soldiers gave us.
How do you see the recent meeting of APC leaders in the South West to re-position and forge unity in the region?
I was concerned with the drift in leadership and the seeming lack of growth in the region and we of like minds got together to impress it on the elected leaders and other elders to close ranks. The issue is not only that of one political vehicle or the other, it is much of agreeing to have reasonable development in the region.
Lately, though, I have not been actively involved in the elders efforts at meetings, but as you may have noticed the leaders generally are coming to the realisation that APC may be drifting and all hands must be on ground if any real gains are to be reported.
Do you see the meeting impacting positively on the zone in terms of development?
The obvious take away is the commonality of direction. A more determined effort at guaranteeing the future of the region. Don’t forget that the region has been clamouring for restructuring before the advent of this administration.
In fact the direction that the leadership of this administration and in particular APC has taken in governance makes the call for restructuring a minimum guarantee for the country to be a nation.
Two years in the Buhari administration, how has it impacted in the South West?
It’s really being two years, how time flies. A very thoughtful question; if you will recall I started off with the administration on a note of caution , advising then that I think the south west was being short-changed. Events since then have led me to believe that we in this part of the nation have been seriously misled.
A careful and informed analysis of development efforts, deployed resources, political appointments and other social economic factors have been skewed away from the south west in the name of gaining more political acceptance , particularly in the other southern part of Nigeria.
The impact politically is to try and cause rift within the party – deciding who are yoruba leaders for us and the attempt to ‘win’ all southwest states. It’s no secret that the voters decided to split their votes along PDP and APC during the presidential election – and there has really nothing on ground as a noticeable or notable progress or development that has set the administration apart from the former.
On the contrary people have complained to me about abysmally lower standard of living and lack of visible infrastructural change. I’m saying all these because I think our politicians have developed extremely thin skin to criticism, but a rather thick skin as regards emotional intelligence and other forms of natural inclination to the good.
What is difficult in delivering a few good federal linkage roads – eg Shagamu to Benin ( an ensuing disaster)? What is wrong in improving on basic take home of workers? At least the administration has successfully remove so-called subsidy on petroleum products? So many questions that my community is asking me, with no successful reply. If anything, I think there was little or no negotiations or agreement as to how both parties of the then ACN ( which delivered most of southwest) as to the way forward after winning.