Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described the practice where parliamentarians in the country allocated to themselves salaries and other benefits as immoral and unconstitutional.
The ex-president, who spoke at the 60th-anniversary celebration of Afe Babalola’s call to the Bar in Ado Ekiti, noted that those who should uphold the constitution are “the ones who undermine it.”
Obasanjo said salary allocation for elected officials is the responsibility of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), which he said the lawmakers had jettisoned to fix their own salaries.
Under Paragraph 32(a-e) of Part I to the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the commission is saddled with determining the remuneration appropriate for political officeholders, including legislators, among other functions.
“The point in Nigeria that I have seen and can attest to is that most of the people who are supposed to be operationalizing or managing and seeing the constitution and democracy move forward are actually the ones who undermine the constitution,” Obasanjo said.
“All elected people, by our constitution, have their emoluments fixed by the revenue mobilization commission, but our lawmakers set that aside and make laws and put any emoluments for themselves.
“Even if that is constitutional, it is not moral, and, of course, it is neither constitutional nor moral.”
He also condemned the fact that many other aspects of the Nigerian Constitution, such as the Federal Character, were “absolutely ignored,” saying that the Federal Character Commission barely carried out its function.
The former President said that when the constitution is “continually breached like that,” the country’s democracy becomes one where anything goes.
The former Nigerian leaders commended Afe Babalola for his contributions to the development of the country, saying that he had made things he met in life better than he met them.
“You have met this world at a point; you have met your community at a point; you have met your family at a point; and what you have done is that what you have met, you have made it better than what you have found,” Obasanjo said.
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