Despite the call for a reduction of the salaries of legislators across the country, a former deputy speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Musibau Kolawole Taiwo aka HKT, has said that people have misconceptions about the earnings of lawmakers.
He disagreed with those, who feel that no lawmaker earns less than 1 Million in a month, and that people get the whole thing wrong
Addressing the media during a thanksgiving programme organised for him by ‘HKT Friends’ at the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Hall of Ifelodun LCDA Area office recently, the politician said that the comments of RMFAC that no lawmaker should earn more than a million naira monthly is wrong.
“The salary of a lawmaker in the Lagos State House of Assembly, for instance, is less than N700,000. People don’t know that members of any house of assembly have equal powers, the leaders are just first amongst equals. Do you know how much they spend in running the state house in Abuja.
“When they were saying LSHA earns N500 Million as running cost in a month, they don’t realise that the money is not meant for the lawmakers to share, those who just got elected into the assembly are now realising that.
“We have about 800 staff in the assembly, and even the correspondents in the House earn stipends, the money is from there. All our lawns are well taken care of and other things are taken care of from the money,” he said.
Kolawole accused the people of being ignorant of the whole thing, while stating that they need to be educated on how legislators operate.
He stressed that lawmakers don’t have a say about the budget of the state, and that the only time they have a say in it is before the budget is passed.
“Once you pass the budget, you need to lobby to get anything. If you don’t want them to run the House again, then remove the money and see what would happen, people would carry placards because some people get salaries from the money,” he said.
While agreeing that there is need to reduce cost of running government as he said the country’s source of revenue is dwindling, he insisted that people should stop calling lawmakers thieves for what they know nothing about.
He revealed that a lawmaker in the Lagos Assembly does not earn more than N2 Million in a month and that yet people expect him to do poverty alleviation, empowerment programmes, solve personal problems of people and all that.
Speaking about his 16 years as a lawmaker having served from 1999 to 2015, Kolawole said that his stay in the House of Assembly was a great experience, and gave thanks and glory to God “for allowing me to be part of the most important part of the development of Lagos State.”
The seasoned politician said that there was no low point throughout his tenure of office as he stated that he started from nowhere, when, according to him, nobody knew that anything good could come from Ajegunle.
“I remember that in those days, anytime I wanted to enter the assembly chamber, I would say, ‘Ajegunle,’ so that the people could notice us.
“I didn’t want to hide my identity. I never failed to identify with Ajegunle people till I left the House. There was no low point in my stay in the House. I was part of the development programmes of the House from the beginning of my tenure to the end.
“I became the Majority Leader, when nobody expected a mathematician to hold such a position, people even doubted my ability, but by the time I was leaving, they were convinced that it was possible for anybody to be the Majority Leader. I left the House as the Deputy Speaker, so there was no low point for me,” he said.
In his goodwill message at the event, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Mudashiru Obasa lamented that the people of Ajeromi/Ifelodun have lost the opportunity of producing the next speaker of the house.
Obasa, who was represented by the Deputy Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Olumuyiwa Jimoh, stated that the people of Ajegunle have missed a lot by not allowing Kolawole to go back into the Assembly as he lost the 2015 election to the PDP candidate in the election, adding that Kolawole is a wonderful lawmaker, especially when it comes to budgeting.
“Kolawole Taiwo is very good in the area of budgeting as a mathematician and we really missed him in that regard as a lawmaker,” the Speaker said.
Also speaking at the ceremony, a former lawmaker in the House, who represented Ajeromi/Ifelodun Constituency 2 from 2011 to 2015, Hon. Abdulbaq Ladi Balogun said that the honour done to Kolawole by his people was a welcome development, as he said that he served his people for 16 years.
“This kind of thing brings nostalgic feeling, when he remembers how he started and how far he went. It is a welcome development,” he said.
Abdulbaq explained that he is still part of the system despite the fact that he also lost the 2015 election to his opponent in the PDP, and revealed that he is at the election tribunal to challenge the results of the election, while making it clear that politics is still part of him and that he would continue to serve the people.
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