It is unconstitutional for lawmakers to determine their salaries — Obasanjo

It is unconstitutional for lawmakers to determine their salaries — Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has criticized the practice of lawmakers deciding their own pay, calling it immoral and unconstitutional.

He expressed his concern that those entrusted with upholding the constitution are the ones undermining it.

Obasanjo made these remarks during a speech at the 60th anniversary celebration of legal icon Aare Afe Babalola’s call to the Bar in Ado Ekiti, the capital of Ekiti State.

He highlighted that “the responsibility for determining the salary allocation of elected officials lies with the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).”

However, he pointed out that lawmakers have disregarded this authority and set their own salaries.

According to Paragraph 32(a-e) of Part I in the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the RMAFC is responsible for determining appropriate remuneration for political officeholders, including legislators, among other duties.

Obasanjo stated, “The individuals who are meant to operationalize, manage, and advance the constitution and democracy in Nigeria are, in fact, the ones undermining it.” He further emphasized that elected officials’ emoluments should be fixed by the revenue mobilisation commission, and lawmakers bypassing this process is not only unconstitutional but also immoral.

Obasanjo also raised concerns about various aspects of the Nigerian Constitution, such as the Federal Character principle, which he claimed were being disregarded. He criticized the Federal Character Commission for failing to fulfill its responsibilities adequately.

The former President asserted that when the constitution is continually violated in this manner, it erodes the integrity of Nigeria’s democracy and allows for a disregard of established norms.

Obasanjo commended Aare Babalola for his contributions to the country’s development, acknowledging that he has consistently improved the circumstances he encountered throughout his life, community, and family.

“You have taken on the world, your community, and your family at different points in time, and you have made them better than how you found them,” Obasanjo expressed his appreciation.

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