THERE is this general belief that once you are appointed a commissioner or special adviser by any state government you are made for life.
This explains the deluge of congratulatory messages the appointees receives once their names are announced as commissioner or special adviser in any state.
The situation is certainly not different in Lagos State, which is even considered economically buoyant than many other states in the federation.
Presently, the monthly total emolument of a commissioner and special adviser in Lagos State is N520,878.00 (Five hundred and twenty thousand, eight hundred and seventy eight naira).
(I) Basic salary N104,175.00
(ii) Rent allowance N156,263.00
(iii) Vehicle maintenance N78,131.00
(iv) Domestic allowance N78,131.00
(v) Entertainment allowance N31,252.00
(vi) Newspaper allowance N15,626.00
(vii) Personal Assistant allowance N26,046.00
(viii) Utility allowance N31,252.00
The commissioner or special adviser is also a beneficiary of a monthly N500,000 running cost for his office. When they travel abroad for official assignment, they get $2,000 per week. This may be more, depending on destination and number of days to be spent abroad. When it is an official trip within the country, they get as much as N150,000 to N200,000 as transport and accommodation allowance. They are also entitled to two official cars. In the last two administrations in the state, the two official cars have been a Toyota Prado jeep and Toyota Camry or Toyota Avensis.
All these allowances and perks of office are just a tip of the iceberg compared to what you get as a commissioner or special adviser in a money sending ministry where contractors dole out expensive gifts to win contracts. Such ministries include Works and Infrastructures, Health, Transportation, Environment, Education, Science and Technology, etc.
The governor, to a larger extent, will determine the commissioner’s perks of office in a particular ministry. If the governor does not like your face for one reason or the other, he may give the responsibilities of the ministry to another agency or ministry. The commissioner in such ministry will just be a figure head.
It happened in the previous administration in Lagos State where a commissioner was getting his ‘perks of office’ from a special adviser who had the ears of the governor.
There was also the case of a ministry where the permanent secretary was the one calling the shots because she had the ears of the governor.
The parting gift of a commissioner or special adviser also adds to his or her benefits. Aside the severance pay which is in the region of N2 million plus, a commissioner gets land allocation in choice area of the state.
During Tinubu’s tenure, we gathered that virtually all the commissioners and special advisers got a plot or two in choice areas of the state. But during Fashola’s administration, only a few got.
- TOLANI ABATTI