By Gabriel Olawale
LAGOS— Former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, yesterday, disclosed that what a governor earned as take home allowance was far more than what a senator gets.
This came on a day members of the House of Representatives refused to disclose their salaries and running cost.
Obi, who spoke as a panellist at the dialogue organised by Ripples Centre for Data and Investigative Journalism in Lagos, told the audience that if he revealed how much a Nigerian governor earns, the outrage would be hotter than what trailed the N13.5 million monthly pay of senators.
He said: “None of you knows what a governor earns, quote me anywhere if you know you won’t be here. It is something you can’t imagine. You just know the salary of senators, and you are shouting, but what if you know that of the governors?”
He said what a public office holders earned in America was modest, adding: “America’s GDP is way above Nigeria’s but an American senator earns $174,000 (about N50 million) a year and you can imagine what his Nigerian counterpart earns in a month.
He said: “In America, governors earn according to their states. The governor of California is the highest paid in America, and he earns $192,000. The smallest state earns $70, 000.
‘’But in Nigeria, I can tell you because I’ve been there, the cost of just keeping convoys alone is in millions. And when people ask me why am I saying these things, I tell them that even if we made mistakes yesterday, can’t we correct it today?
“What is the essence of a bulletproof car? Anyone who wants to kill you would come when you are out of the car. For eight years, I didn’t use it, and they didn’t kill me.”
Reps refuse to disclose how much they earn
Meanwhile, lawmakers in the House of Representatives have declined to disclose their salaries and running cost.
Most lawmakers expressed angst when they were contacted on the issue.
Recently, Shehu Sani, a senator representing Kaduna Central, disclosed that apart from the basic monthly salary of N750,000, each senator gets N13.5 million as “running cost.”