Caveat: please take your time to read this

— Samuel Ajayi

I have been asking this question for weeks: can states pay N30,000 minimum wage? Yes they can. And I would draw from personal experience and the insight I gained in my little time in government. That experience and insight, a billion dollars cannot buy them!

I was appointed as Special Assistant on Public Communications in June 2007. By 2008 June, it was changed to Special Assistant on Media. (Kindly find attached photograph). If you break it down, my salary came to N280,763.66. After deductions, it came to N245,000 which was what I was earning as take-home pay until I left in April, 2009.

My Direct Individual Benefit Allowance, DIB, (which was erroneously referred to as Furniture Allowance) was N2.6m payable once in FOUR years. This was THREE HUNDRED PERCENT OF MY ANNUAL BASIC.

My severance package, assuming I spent the full four years, would have been another N2.6m.

Note that for Senior Special Assistant, it was higher and then Special Adviser and Commissioner who were virtually on same scale in terms of remuneration.

It would interest you to know that the woman (I still remember her name but won’t mention it) who used to prepare the salary payment voucher for political office holders, including the governor, was on THIRTY THOUSAND NAIRA (N30,000) per month as at then! That was N360,000 per annum!

I noticed that the total salary of Ekiti State workers (including political appointees) then was around N1.4b but political appointees alone was responsible for around N450m! This was apart from the DIB and other perks of office that gulped (and still gulping) tens if not hundreds of millions every month!

As at 2008, the Security Vote of the Ekiti State governor was about N80m per month. Rivers was N400m then while states like Bayelsa and Delta was around N500m.

For attending the weekly State Exco meeting, a commissioner is entitled to an allowance. I will withhold the figure. A day outside his duty post in Ado, AS AT THEN, attracted an out of station allowance of almost N50,000. A trip by the governor outside the state for a couple of days would gulp at least a million naira.

From Senior Special Assistant upwards, you are entitled to official fuel of about FIFTY LITRES every week.

The State Chief of Protocol (SCOP) is in charge of welfare in Government House. This welfare includes foods, drinks and other consumables. Since hangers on will hang around Government Houses to “see the governor” till the wee hours of the morning, you can do a mental arithmetic of how much is needed to run a Government House per day!

Since commissioners, special advisers, power brokers, top party chieftains and so on use Government House chalets (and there are so many in every Government House in the country) for some unholy and randy purposes, virtually all these chalets are always occupied every night. And guests have to be fed, laundry done and drinks served!

If you calculate what goes into maintaining political appointees and Government Houses across the country, you ask why democracy should be such an expensive venture for us.

Next: Why do governors complain about lack of funds to pay salaries? It is greed.

Watch out for Part Two of this piece!

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