By Ola Ajayi
Ibadan—THE frosty relationship between lawmakers in the National Assembly and former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, worsened yesterday as he said with their monthly take-home pay which remains the highest in the world, they can best be described as: ‘’a bunch of unarmed robbers”
Chief Obasanjo who was the chief host at a public presentation of a book, entitled: I am Kagara, I Weave the Sands of Sahara, held at University of Ibadan said though he knew the legislators would call him names for speaking out his mind once again, he vowed never to stop until they empathised with the poor people who he said were more than 75 per cent of the population.
The ex-president, at the book launch which was authored by Prof Mark Nwagwu said; “It is even worse for the National Assembly. They will abuse me again but I will never stop talking about them. They are a bunch of unarmed robbers.
“They are one of the highest paid in the world where we have 75 percent of our people living in abject poverty. They will abuse me tomorrow and if they don’t, maybe they are sleeping. The behaviour and character of the National Assembly should be roundly condemned.”
The former President also used the occasion to advise the Federal Government to honour the 2009 agreement it signed with the striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.
According to him, since the government had allowed itself to be stampeded into signing the agreements without full consultation within government, it behoved on it to honour the agreement.
“Government allows itself to be stampeded into signing agreement particularly when one group or the other withdraws their service and go on strike. After the agreement has been signed, without full consultation within government, and implementation becomes an issue. An agreement is an agreement whoever the agent is that signed that agreement on your behalf, you are bound by it. You may now have to renegotiate to have a new agreement but the agreement earlier signed remains an agreement.
“The way we are going about spending all our revenue to pay overhead, we will not develop. And we will have ourselves to blame. 90 percent of revenue is used to pay overhead, allowances, salaries and not much is left for capital development. In a situation like that, we have to rethink,” he stressed.
Former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, at the occasion, called for positive attitudinal changes for national development.