Pay cut by Buhari, Osinbajo unconstitutional, says LP scribe
NATIONAL Secretary of Labour Party (LP), Kayode Ajulo, has faulted the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice, Prof. YemiOsinbajo, to cut their salaries by 50 per cent, describing it as counter-productive, disruptive and unconstitutional.
Ajulo, who is also the founder and convener of Egalitarian Mission for Africa, said the decision was baffling, lamenting that “the Vice President, who, as a professor of Law, is expected to be deeply acquainted with the rudiments of the Nigerian Constitution, would be a party to what can be described as a violation of the law.
“What the President and his Vice have done is nothing but a violation of law. It appears Nigerians are in for tough times going by the counter-productive decisions being issued from the Presidency?”
Ajulo, who is a legal practitioner, wondered why the duo of the president and vice president were taking decisions which he alleged to be “spanner in the works” for the Salaries and Wages Commission and Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
“RMAFC derives its powers and constitutional functions from paragraph 32 of Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Commission, accordingly, has been vested, constitutionally, with powers and responsibilities to:
• Monitor the accruals into and disbursement of revenue from the Federation Account;
• Review from time to time, the revenue allocation formulae and principles in operation to ensure conformity with changing realities;
• Ensure that any revenue formula which has been accepted by an Act of the National Assembly shall remain in force for a period of not less than five years from the date of commencement of the Act;
• Advise the federal, state and local governments on fiscal efficiency and methods by which their revenue is to be increased;
• Determine the remuneration appropriate to political office holders, including the President, vice-president, governors, deputy governors, ministers, commissioners, special advisers, legislators and the holders of the offices mention in Section 84 and 124 of the Constitution; and
• Discharge such other functions as are conferred on the commission by the constitution or any Act of the National Assembly.
Ajulo said: “It is clear that a pay cut that is neither backed by law nor initiated by the RMAFC is bound to bungle up accounts. If they do not accept it, how do those in charge of salary allocation handle the consequent balance?”
He posited that the right thing to do is to accept whatever salaries they are entitled to and then give away the 50 per cent portion to charity or whoever they deem fit, or set in motion a policy backed by law that would effect a permanent reduction in the salaries of both President and Vice President. “Anything other than this is mere theatrics and a ‘playing to the gallery’. Announcements such as these are an assault to the sensibilities and intellect of the Nigerian public,” the LP scribe said.
He advised that the president should concentrate more on issues like security, unemployment, industrialization, corruption and provision of power to Nigerians.“He should begin to find out how he would address the issue of unemployment and the plummeting power of the naira, and not resort to cheap showmanship as connoted by this pay cut announcement.”
He said Buhari and Osinbajo appeared confused as regards how to go about fulfilling their numerous promises to the Nigerian electorate. “Cutting their salaries is not part of their manifesto. They should focus on fulfilling the numerous promises they doled out by the kilograms to Nigerians while they were on the campaign trail.
“It is even more baffling that this counter-productive decision is being executed by no other person than the vice president who, as a professor, is a veteran in the legal profession,” he said.