A former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, on Thursday called for the downward review of the pay of political office holders for equity and justice.
Obi made the call while speaking at a programme “The Ripples Dialogue” in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the theme of the programme was “Rebuilding a Divided Nigeria”.
He said it was improper for political office holders to allocate huge pay to themselves when the masses lived in poverty.
Obi said that salaries of political office holders did not reflect the realities and were not in tandem with the standards in other parts of the world.
“The salaries and allowances of political office holders in Nigeria are outrageous, especially when most people in this country are living in want.
“Come to think of it, a university professor with all his experience and contributions to the society earns N300,000, whereas some political leaders collect like N13.5million with some other perks; this is not fair.
“In the United States, academics such as professors earn so much, and that is why they are able to focus on research that promote the development of their country.
“Even the governors in the US earn according to the sizes of their states and how buoyant the economy is. What politicians earn here is way too much.
“I think we made a mistake with all these huge salaries for political office holders; but we have made mistake, can we go back?”
He said the country had witnessed so many divisions along ethnic, religious and even class lines.
The former governor described the situation as unhealthy for the unity of the country, and urged everyone to do his bit to bring the country together.
He decried the rising debt profile of the country, saying it was not good for growth.
“Even if we are borrowing, we should be able to justify why we are doing so.
“The people should be able to see the concrete things we are doing with the borrowed funds,” he said.
The former governor said the country was lagging behind in development among it’s contemporaries such as Malaysia and Indonesia.
He said the key to accelerated development was massive investment in education and urged governments at all levels to invest in the sector.
Obi said nation-building is a collective responsibility, urging all Nigerians join hands to reposition the country.