Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described the self-determination of lawmakers’ emoluments as immoral and unconstitutional, decrying that those who should uphold the constitution are “the ones who undermine it”.
The former President said this on Monday while delivering a speech at the 60th anniversary celebration of legal icon Aare Afe Babalola’s call to the Bar held in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
According to Obasanjo, salary allocation for elected officials is the responsibility of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), which he said the lawmakers had jettisoned to fix salaries for themselves.
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 which I have seen and which I can attest to is most of the people who are supposed to be operationalising or managing and seeing the constitution and democracy move forward, they are actually the ones who undermine the constitution,” Obasanjo said.
“All elected people, by our constitution, their emolument is supposed to be fixed by the revenue mobilisation commission, but our lawmakers set that aside and they make laws and put any emolument for themselves.
“Even if that is constitutional, it is not moral and, of course, it is neither constitutional nor moral.”
He also complained that so 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 Aare 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.