By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—CHAIRMAN of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, weekend, lamented the prevailing situation in which he said senators enjoy the powers to appropriate funds for themselves, draining the economy.
He also called for devolution to give more powers to the state and whittle that of the Federal Government.
Sagay said: “Politicians are killing themselves to be President, National Assembly members because all the monies are at the centre.
“With that type of self-interest and a few people collecting everything that we have, why should we allow the centre to have all the resources and the state completely impoverish, which is what we have today?”
Sagay, who spoke at the Wole Soyinka Annual Public Lecture in Benin, the Edo State capital, stressed the need for urgent restructuring of the nation into regions, noting that it is the only way to stop the bumper pay being received by the senators.
His words: “It is imperative that we return to the 1963 Constitution, modified to suit our present circumstances, if we are to co-exist in a stable crisis-free and fast-developing nation.
“The senators have wardrobe allowance; but they did not go to Abuja naked. They have newspaper allowance and furniture allowance— about 50 items which they never talk about.
“They only talk about their salaries, which is about N1 million a month. But when you add all these allowances, we are hitting N20 million per month. If you have true federalism, that money will not be available for them to blow.
“These are besides budget padding, which is a stable means of drilling money from the poor people of this nation.”