By Inalegwu Shaibu
ABUJA-The proposal by the National Assembly to reduce allocations of legislators by 40 percent has been received with mixed feelings by Senators, with some affirming that it was a deliberate plan to frustrate them.
The planned pay- cut which has already been inserted into the 2011 budget of the National Assembly has pitched the new Senators against old Senators, as most of the first term Senators claim that it was targeted at undermining their performances in their constituencies.
But the old Senators are in support of the proposal, as most of them are confident that it will improve the economy of the nation.
Senator Smart Adeyemi, PDP, Kogi West while commenting on the pay reduction for legislators observed that the cost of running the National Assembly is too high. He advocated for a part time National Assembly to reduce cost of governance.
He said, “It is a good development that will help reduce the plight of the suffering masses of Nigeria. I commend the Chairman of the National Assembly for coming up with the proposal because the welfare of the people must be paramount. They said power belongs to the people, so the aspirations of the people must be met.
“I support it. We even need to go down further, leadership is about sacrifice, and we must be ready to sacrifice any time we are called upon. There was a time I proposed that the National Assembly should be on a part time bases to reduce cost of governance, this will enable us meet the aspiration of our people. I think that is the line we should go. I support it.”
Senator Dahiru Kuta, PDP, Niger East was also in support of the pay reduction, adding that the reduction in governance will boast infrastructural and economic development of Nigeria.
According to him, “I believe it was agreed right from the beginning that because of the economic condition, we should reduce our allocation by 40 percent. We are of the thinking that it is good. It was an agreement between the executive and legislature that we need to do a lot of sacrifice for the people.
“There are many competing issues in terms of infrastructure, power, wealth creation, and poverty. We agreed that it is not a big sacrifice that is too much in order to move the nation forward.
“It has already been captured in the budget to cut running cost by 40 percent. We are happy to do it. It will go a long way in improving the quality of life of our people. I believe the amount realised from the pay cut will be put into good use.”
But Senator Babayo Gamawa, PDP, Bauchi a new Senator held a different view saying it was a ploy by old Senators to deprive them the money to service their constituencies.
His words, “By the time we came to know about it, we felt very sad, the entire new comers are not happy. It was decided by the out going Senators without our input. They did it because they are going, had it been they did it while coming to continue, everybody would have known that they are doing a sacrifice for the nation. It was done deliberately to affect the performance of the Senators in the constituencies.
“The decision was taken before our resumption and it was supported by the losers of election. It was a deliberate policy so that the new Senators will not have money to carry out his duties in his constituency.
“Therefore cutting 40 percent of allocation does not go down well with us.”
Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, PDP Delta North and Datti Ahmed, CPC Kaduna North both were unable to comment on the pay cut.
Senator Okowa in his comment said, “I do not have any details on the pay cut. It is difficult to make any useful comments at the time. I will like to comment when I have full details on it.”
Senator Ahmed on the other hand said, “Until I come to the Senate, then we can talk.”