In order to reduce the cost of governance in the Southwest geo-zone, the Yoruba Council of Elders has called on remaining governors in the zone to follow the step of Governor Babajide Sanwoolu of Lagos State by canceling the pensions paid to former governors and their deputies.
The elders said this after rising from a meeting held at Bodija residence of Professor Toun Ogunsheye.
They maintained the call became necessary so that cost of governance is reduced and attention is focused on unemployment of teeming youths in the zone.
While commending Governor Sanwoolu for taking the bold step, they said other governors in Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo, Osun and Ogun should take a cue from their counterpart in Lagos and quickly implement it.
YCE which spoke through its former President, Dansaaki Samuel Adeleye Agbede, Prof Adetokun Ogunsheye and the secretary and Chief Mike Omoleye, said the treasury of the zone is too lean to accommodate such costs especially at this trying period.
According to them, “We expect other governors in Oyo, Ondo, Osun and Ogun States to replicate the good move by Governor Sanwoolu because they are not economically buoyany. We can’t really afford the amount that these people who have been there for four, eight, 10 years having sumptuous life to continue collecting pensions. Their pensions are looting the coffers of these states”.
YCE also frowned at the federal government attitude towards the #EndSARS protesters saying freezing of their accounts, harassing, intimidating and detaining them negated the promises that government made to the innocent youths before they suspended the protests.
“We express our shock and disappointment at government’s attitude towards the EndSARS pledges which it made. In our own view, we thought the governiwas going to make use of laudable suggestions and opinions and negotiate with them.
“But, we are horrified about what we are hearing from the general public that the #EndSARS leaders are being suppressed, harassed, their accounts being frozen and they are being picked one after the other for detention and humiliation.
“We expect the government to fulfill the promises made to the general public. The #EndSARS protesters have never been alone. The money they collected was not their school fees or pocket money. They represented the feelings of majority of the people.
“Instead of harassing the innocent protesters who have exercised their rights, the government should focus its attention to Boko Haram terrorists who inflict terror to the people. The government should focus on the security of this nation. What we hear now is that Boko Haram are now getting more sophisticated.
“They are already using anti missile guns to shoot down helicopters. This is a very worrisome trend in our security system and we, the elders are very worried because we don’t want problem or violence.
“Who are the Nigerians supporting these Boko Haram terrorists? If the Saudi Arabia could arrest give sponsors of Boko Haram, how many of those sponsoring them has our government arrested? Instead of the security to be getting better, it is getting worse.”
While restating their earlier stance that Yoruba nation want self determination, they called on the Federal Government to organise sovereign national conference.
“We want self determination for Yoruba nation and the issue of sovereign national conference should in the front burner of this government. We appeal to this government to see to the education of our children. For a whole academic year, ASUU has been on strike and it is not certain when they will suspend it.
“None of their children is suffering this, it is the children of the masses that are losing one academic year”.