Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has faulted the self-determination of lawmakers’ emoluments, describing the act as immoral and unconstitutional.
Speaking on Monday, July 10 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, Obasanjo called out the National Assembly that should uphold the constitution for being “the ones who undermine it”.
He said that salary allocation for elected officials is the responsibility of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) as stipulated in the constitution, but the lawmakers had jettisoned it to fix salaries for themselves.
The former Nigerian leader said; “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.
“By the Nigerian Constitution, the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission are supposed to fix the salaries and emoluments of the members of the National Assembly, but they set the constitution aside and decided to fix their salaries. Even if that is constitutional, it is not moral and, of course, it is neither constitutional nor moral.”
Obasanjo added; “Democracy doesn’t mean anything to any man who is hungry, whose life is in danger, or whose property is being destroyed.
“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.”
He also complained that 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.
He 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.
Obasanjo said citizens were meant to enjoy democracy, which he said could only be strengthened if the players respected and implemented the constitution to the letter.