Zik’s widow laments non-payment of stipendsHeadlines, Nnamdi Azikiwe (1963-66), Presidency Tuesday, December 27th, 2011
‘Y ar’Adua increased our stipend and approved cars for us to be changed after every five years, but up till now, not even the old stipend, was paid to us for the past two years and the cars are yet to be given to us.’ The failure to pay stipend to widows of the country’s deceased Heads of State can be classified as a dereliction on the part of whoever is responsible. This is especially so when the promise of the said stipend and renewable car gift, was made by a presidential fiat, courtesy of the former president, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
In this interview, Prof. Uche Azikiwe, widow of the first president of Nigeria and Governor-General, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Owelle of Onitsha, laments the non payment of stipend as well as provision of five yearly renewable car gift approved by Yar’Adua. She alleges that they have not received a dime from the Federal Government since 2009.
Recently you cried out about the delay by the Federal Government in the completion of the mausoleum to immortalize your husband
I have always said that I am a Christian and believe in God. I also believe that the Federal Government that started the project will one day complete it, because it is something that is worthy to be completed. Government is doing a lot of other things, otherwise to complete the mausoleum wouldn’t have been delayed. Any person coming to Nigeria would want to find the resting place of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. It is not a good intention for government to see it abandoned like that. From my investigation, I was also informed that almost every other year the government budgets for that mausoleum to be completed. My problem is that there is no work going on there. I hope that this time around it will not go like other years after announcing it and publishing in the newspapers and at the end, nothing will come out of it. I pray that there will be no more stories on that mausoleum as they have started.
I also pray that the minister in charge who is a woman, Ama Pepple, that there should be a change of attitude to that mausoleum. I believe a woman will do exactly what her ministry presented to government. I sincerely beg the minister to see the project completed during her tenure. Let it not be like the old stories, women are usually more dedicated when it comes to issues of this nature, I believe that Pepple will ensure the mausoleum is completed and on time.
Allowances to widows of late Presidents, heads of state
Another thing I want to say is the allowances, allowances paid spouses of deceased Presidents and Heads of State. It is saddening that in 2010 we were not paid a dime, in 2008, Yar’Adua increased our allowances to be reviewed every five years. We were all happy, the six of us including Mrs. Yar’Adua now. But since 2008 of that presidential magnanimity till now, the cars are yet to be given to us. Our allowances were not paid in 2010 before we begin to think of our cars being renewed every five years. Information reaching us was that the National Assembly trimmed down the budget of the SGF because the affairs of spouses of decreased President and Heads of State is under the office of SGF. It is incredible and unbelievable that it is only the allowance of widows of dead Heads of State of this country was affected by the National Assembly’s trimming down of the SGF’s budget.
We will apply and they will tell us there is no money, so, I hope National Assembly will rescind their decision. Let them spell out the stipend of spouses of former Heads of State. We are begging them and appealing to people who will reach them to help us to enable them pay us our stipends and also give us the cars.Yar’Adua approved. We applied, we wrote to him, few months later, he reviewed our allowances upwards with a car renewable every five years.
Medical attention overseas
We also requested for medical attention overseas, two weeks vacation abroad and a vehicle.
He graciously approved a vehicle but since 2008 till 2011 we have not been given the vehicle, 2010 allowance not paid. I am begging on behalf of five others that National Assembly should do something to change our standard of living because, it is not easy to take care of the premises and other domestic issues affecting us
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