Senator Dino Melaye Rejects N9bn Wardrobe Allowance For Lawmakers, Says Not In Tune With The Nation’s Mood
The Senator representing Kogi West in the upper legislative chamber, Dino Melaye, has said the N8.64 billion wardrobe allowance earmarked for legislators in the 8th assembly is not in tune with the current mood of the nation and should be reviewed or jettisoned.
State Governors have been unable to pay salaries and the Nigerian state screams austerity wherever you turn no thanks to a drop in the international price of oil–the country’s major revenue earner.
Melaye was speaking on an Africa Independent Television (AIT) program monitored in Lagos. He’s been an advocate for a pay cut for lawmakers and reiterated that position on Tuesday.
“I stand solidly on what I earlier said about pay cut. There must be a pay cut to Senators and House of Representative members. You can’t be talking about change and this kind of money in this country now when people are hungry. We must be sacrificial. We must show Nigerians that we must sacrifice by allowing a pay cut.”
Melaye also said the election of Bukola Saraki as Senate President wasn’t the catastrophe it has been made out to be by a section of his political party, the APC.
“Order 10 (1) is clear; the quorum of the Senate shall be one-third of the members of the Senate. One-third of 109 is 38. We had 76 Senators in attendance. The APC is not polarised, the party is not divided, what happened is that many people expressed their interests in the leadership of the National Assembly. Once there is a position, even in the family, different persons will express their interest.
“Interests were expressed, one person must win. We cannot have two senate presidents. Bukola Saraki, a distinguished senator, has emerged. All we are going to do as a party is to embrace him, and we would support him. There is no division in the APC. The wording of the constitution on the issue of quorum is clear; the quorum is one-third. There is no mischief anywhere. The law and the rules are very clear on that.”
He said Saraki would always remain a member of the APC and added that the election of Ike Ekweremadu as deputy senate president was unavoidable at the time.
“We lobbied the opposition to get this winning for our great party, because if we didn’t do that, the PDP already had 49 senators and had formed a quorum, so we had to do bargaining. That is what politics is all about, but those who made APC to lose the Deputy Senate Presidency are those who stayed away from the Chamber,” he said, referring to pro-Lawan lawmakers who say they missed the session because they were invited for a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
“If they had come, we would have won. For you to know that we stood by our party, we nominated Ali Ndume. We who were in the chambers as at the time of the election were 20 APC members and we voted for Ndume as at that time.
“The Senate President is an APC member, also like me. Saraki will be loyal and dedicated to his party. He can’t go back to the PDP. We were blind, but now we can see.”