Even the rich, mighty cry: After 31 years, third republic lawmakers beg Tinubu, NASS for their entitlements

After 31 years out, members of the House of Representatives who served in the aborted Third Republic have appealed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the National Assembly to pay their entitlements.

The lawmakers who made the appeal Wednesday in Abuja while speaking under the aegis of the Third Republic Parliamentarian Forum, said if Chief MKO Abiola and Amb. Babagana Kinginbe could be recognised, former members who were duly inaugurated should also be given due recognition and get their entitlements paid.

They made the appeal while honouring one of their members, the member representing Sagbama federal constituency of Bayelsa state, Fred Agbedi, who was a member of the third assembly.

Speaking, the group’s welfare officer, Hajia Amina Aliyu, said even though no fewer than 593 of them were inaugurated as members of the third assembly, at least 250 of them had died without being paid their entitlements.

She said: “When we came here, we were 593, but over 250 have gone. Most of the women are dead. Yesterday (Tuesday) was 31 years since we were sworn in as members of this parliament. Our grandchildren can vote and be voted for now, yet we still have problems.

“Our problem is one, our claims. We are here to honour this man who has been struggling to fight for our rights and the rights of other Nigerians.

“If Abiola and Kingibe were honoured and recognised, we are the foot soldiers. We are the delegates that voted them into power. What about us? Why can’t we be honoured and paid our salaries and outstanding?

“Many of us have died; some are half-dead,

like me here. I am also half-dead because my engine is knocked. I am just trying to make life easy for myself.

“We are calling on the government, especially Asiwaju who is the president and one of us, because he is our product of the Third Republic. We are all together. We are crying out. We have been crying in silence.”

Hajia Aliyu said they decided to honour Agbedi because he had continued to identify with them and taken care of the welfare of many of them.

Responding, Agbedi appealed to President Tinubu to listen to the cries of the former lawmakers and order the payment of their entitlements.

He said, “I also want to use this opportunity to call on Mr. President who was part of the assembly as a senator to ensure that all their entitlements in that republic are given to them. Of course, he is also going to benefit from it being president or not.

“I also join them in calling on the National Assembly to do the needful. If for any reason they have kept crying out that there are things, there are entitlements, there are benefits that were cut short because of the military intervention, the National Assembly should take the lead in ensuring that what is right is done for the people.”

He congratulated President Tinubu who was also a member of the Third Republic parliament for emerging president, saying it was a clear testimony that the Third Republic had survived.

He expressed appreciation for honour, saying it would charge him to do more while promising to continue to do his best in the service to the National Assembly.

Also, speaking,

the leader of the group, Basil Okafor, noted that the election that brought them to the parliament was the best election ever conducted in the country.

“We were elected in the clearest and cleanest election in the history of this country. That was the Option A4. At that time there was no rigging. Anybody who came to the House at that time came with the support and backing of his people.

“Unfortunately, as it was the trend at that time, the military overthrew the government and we were all sent packing. However, we did not relent because we were united. Although they had asked us to go, we are still alive, and we stand to fight, not only for our cause, but also for the cause of the ascension,” he said.

 

UNI Agric Markurdi
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