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Okorocha, Ambode, Others to earn N2.06bn as Severance Allowance



Fourteen governors, their deputies and 434 state lawmakers who will not be returning to government will be going home with N2.06bn, investigation has shown.

Prominent among the governors are Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, and Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, who are concluding their second terms in office.

Akinwunmi Ambode who lost the nomination of his party prior to the governorship election on March 8; and Adamawa State Governor, Bindo Jibrila, and his counterpart in Bauchi, Mohammed Abubakar, who did not win their re-election bids are also among the governors to collect severance allowance.

Going by a template obtained from the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, each of the governors will get a total of N6.67m as severance allowance. Each of their deputies will receive a total of N6.34m as severance allowance at the end of their tenures on May 29.

This means that the 14 governors and their deputies will be going home with a total of N182.11m at the expiration of their tenures on May 29.

The severance allowance is, however, separate from other packages which many states have put in place as retirement benefits or pension packages for their governors and deputy governors.

Some of such packages include unlimited health care benefits as well as houses in any place of their choice in the state. Some also offer another house in the Federal Capital Territory. Some former governors have been known to implement some of the packages for themselves towards the end of their tenures.

Investigation also showed that 434 state lawmakers spread across 27 states will be going home with a total of N1.88bn. Each state lawmaker is entitled to 300 per cent of their annual basic salary as severance allowance. This comes to N4.34m.

In Oyo State where 30 lawmakers will not be returning to the state House of Assembly, the lawmakers are to receive a total of N130.14m.

In Niger State, 27 non-returning lawmakers will receive a total of N117.12m; while in Benue, 24 non-returning lawmakers will get a severance package of N104.16m. Ekiti State also has 24 non-returning lawmakers that will go home with N104.16m.

Twenty three non-returning lawmakers in Kwara State will be receiving a total of N99.82m. The same amount will be going to 23 non-returning lawmakers in Osun State.

Ogun State has 22 non-returning lawmakers who will receive a total of N95.48m. The same amount will also be paid to 22 lawmakers who will not be returning to the Bauchi State House of Assembly.

In Imo State, 21 non-returning state lawmakers will go home with a total of N91.14m while 19 lawmakers in Gombe State will be going home with N82.46m. Ondo State has 18 non-returning lawmakers that will return home with N78.12m.

Anambra State has 17 non-returning lawmakers that will go home with N73.78m. The same applies to Plateau State while Kogi and Zamfara states have 16 non-returning lawmakers respectively that will go home with N69.44m.

Edo State has 15 non-returning lawmakers that will go home with N65.1m. Adamawa and Akwa Ibom states have 14 non-returning lawmakers (each), who will go home with N60.76m.

Katsina State’s 13 non-returning lawmakers will go home with N56.42m; Bayelsa State’s 12 lawmakers will go home with N52.08m while Abia State’s 11 non-returning lawmakers will get a total of N47.74m. Taraba State’s 10 non-returning lawmakers will receive a total of N43.4m.

Ebonyi and Borno states tied at nine lawmakers that will go home with a total of N39.06m per state. Cross River State has only four non-returning lawmakers who will go home with N17.36m while Rivers State produced only three non-returning state lawmakers who will get N13.02m.

Incidentally, Lagos State whose governor could not get the party’s ticket produced the least number of only one non-returning lawmaker that will get N4.34m.

Severance allowance is paid to political office holders at the end of their tenure. There are other allowances which they receive while in service. These include motor fuelling allowance, furniture allowance, newspaper allowance, hardship allowance and a host of others.

The Punch

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Napoli Consider Renaming Stadium after Diego Maradona



Napoli are considering renaming their stadium in memory of Diego Maradona after the club legend died aged 60.

Maradona, regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, forged a strong bond with the Italian club and its supporters during his seven-year spell between 1984 and 1991.

The forward, who inspired Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986, joined Napoli from Barcelona and won their only two Serie A titles – in 1987 and 1990 – along with the Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup.

Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis confirmed following Maradona’s death that the club will discuss renaming their stadium in his honour, combining its current title with his full iconic name, Sky reports.

“We can consider the idea of calling our stadium San Paolo-Diego Armando Maradona,” De Laurentiis told French sports channel RMC Sport.

Naples Mayor Luigi De Magistris supported the proposal that the city’s San Paolo Stadium be renamed for Maradona, who scored 81 goals in 188 appearances for the club.

“We are already putting it together this morning, taking the first steps to dedicate Naples stadium to Maradona,” De Magistris said.

The Mayor added: “We’re hoping to make it coincide with the resumption of games with fans.”

Fans gathered outside the stadium, which was lit in memory of Maradona’s time at the club, in the southern Italian city on Wednesday evening.

Tributes have poured in from the world of football and beyond, with three days of national mourning underway in Argentina.

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Implement People’s Demands Or Set Nigeria on Fire, Wike Tells Buhari



Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to prove to Nigerians that he is ready to do the people’s requests.

The governor said the President will set the country ‘on fire’ by not implementing some of the requests voiced out by leaders during the recent discussions with the presidential delegation led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari.

The PUNCH had reported that Gambari led ministers and federal lawmakers to meetings with leaders of the six geopolitical zones as a way of addressing concerns raised in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests.

Gambari and the presidential delegation had met with governors and leaders of the South-South geopolitical zone in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Tuesday.

At the meeting, the South-South leaders including the Rivers State governor demanded the restructuring of the country in line with the principle of true federalism, saying it will guarantee peace, security and stability in the country.

Giving an update on the meeting on Thursday morning, Wike said the President still has time to implement the will of the people and etch a legacy for himself.

The governor spoke today on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme monitored by The PUNCH.

He said, “I am not a pessimist. I don’t believe that because you didn’t do what you agreed to do yesterday, therefore, you will not do what you agree to do today. Even if he (Buhari) has not done what he told Nigerians he would do, he can say, look, I promised Nigerians yesterday, I didn’t do that and that is affecting my integrity and so, for people who know me, I will implement what I have said.

“People have raised the issue that they don’t think anything will come out of the dialogues. I don’t agree with them. I believe that if the President does not do it, given the opportunity he has now, he will be putting Nigeria on fire.”

Continuing, Wike said political will to implement what the people want is key in governance.

According to him, the President has to show leadership by listening to Nigerians and by implementing the people’s requests.

“He may not necessarily implement everything the people may want but let the people see the concrete evidence that under President Buhari, he has been able to implement one, two, three, four demands by the people.

“If he (Buhari) doesn’t take this opportunity now to implement some of these requests, I don’t think it will be very good for Nigerians and for his legacy,” the governor added.

The Punch

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Legendary Football Star, Diego Amando Maradona Dies at 60



Diego Maradona, one of football’s greatest-ever players, has died. He was 60 years.

The 1986 World Cup winner had surgery to remove a blood clot on the brain earlier this month. The Argentine Football Association confirmed he had died this afternoon.

“The Argentine Football Association, through its president Claudio Tapia, expresses its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend, Diego Armando Maradona. You will always be in our hearts,” they said.

Another of football’s greats, Pele, has led the tributes to: “Certainly, one day we’ll kick a ball together in the sky above.” Follow latest updates and reaction here.

Dr Leopoldo Luque, Maradona’s personal physician, said the former player had shown signs of improvement after a successful operation three weeks ago.

Dr Luque said Maradona “laughed” and “grabbed my hand” just a day after he had the procedure.

“Diego is without any type of neurological deficit, without any type of complication associated with surgery,” Luque said, addressing reporters at the clinic’s door.

“He has an excellent post-operative period, the laboratory parameters even improved.

“The first impression is it is favourable, but it is difficult to evaluate.”

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