Doyin Okupe, a former public affairs adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has slammed Prof. Itse Sagay for threatening to divulge the details of take-home pay of National Assembly principal officers.
Sagay had over the weekend said the country would explode by the time he comes up with a report on the actual earnings of the leadership of the National Assembly.
“If you come to know the allowances that the leadership of the two houses are getting…My God! It will blow up the country,” the Chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) had told reporters in reaction to Senator Shehu Sani’s disclosure that each senator gets N13 million as monthly running cost.
Sagay had added that “Eventually, I will come out with the figures. I am working on them now. When I am ready, I will come out with them.”
Reacting to Sagay’s outburst, Mr Okupe urged the PACAC Chairman to ensure he also divulges the “the running costs of the office of the President and Vice President” as well as that of himself and principal officers of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet.
“I find the threat by Professor Sagay on allowances and running cost of the leadership of the National Assembly very interesting. It will aid our fight for transparency in public affairs. However, he should not be selective. For us to take him seriously, he should include the details of the running costs of the office of the President, Vice President, Ministers, Special Advisers, heads of Government agencies, parastatals and even himself. Afterall, all the salaries, allowances and running costs come from the same public coffers,” he said.
“He should tell the world how much he is paid, how much he spends on his numerous junketing abroad, his allowances, honoraria and others, including the ones paid for by international donor agencies.
“For Prof. Sagay to say that the country would explode if he gives out certain figures is inciting, particularly, at a volatile and tensed period as we have now in the country. I believe the President owes this country a duty to call this man to order.
“It will also be interesting if Sagay can tell Nigerians what the achievements of his committee are in the last 30 months that it has been using government money. Or is the committee set up just for the purpose of abusing and attacking the National Assembly?
“With the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) rating recently released by Transparency International (TI), it does appear that Sagay’s committee has neither helped Nigeria nor the President who set up the committee and funded it with taxpayers’ money. Mr Sagay should sit down with members of his committee to work seriously in developing position papers and policies that will actually help the anti-corruption war and make it more effective. This will by far be a much more dignified job than rabble-rousing and witch-hunting of institutions and personalities in the country,” Okupe said.