Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state, says what governors earn in Nigeria is immoderate.
Speaking as a panelist at the dialogue organised by Ripples Centre for Data and Investigative Journalism in Lagos on Thursday, Obi 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.
“None of you knows what a governor earns, quote me anywhere if you know you won’t be here,” he said.
“It is something you can’t imagine. You just know the one of senators, and you are shouting, but what if you know that of the governors?”
Comparing Nigeria with the US, Obi spoke of the modesty in the earnings of public office holders in America.
“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 state. 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?”
Obi said while in power, he reduced the vehicles in his convoy to four, adding that he never used a bulletproof car.
“I asked them, why are all these vehicles following me, and nobody was able to explain to me. I didn’t stop it because of them following me, but the cost of maintaining them was high. I asked them why do we need to spend about N30 million fueling these vehicles that 60 percent are empty when following me?” he said.
“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, and they didn’t kill me.”
In 2017, Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, made public details of his state’s expenditure, including security vote.
On the payslip shared by the governor, the Kaduna state government paid the governor a net salary of N470,521.74 for the month of February 2017.
Obi also noted that politicians are fond of making promises they cannot fulfil when voted into power.
“You told us that you are going to solve a problem, and we voted you, and now you are telling us that you met a problem, what do you expect to meet?” he asked.
“You shouldn’t tell us the story of what you met there, we do not expect 100 percent result, but 100 percent effort. We voted you because you said you are going to solve this problem.”