Last Tuesday, when the Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Affairs, Ita Enang was about transmitting the new minimum wage bill to the National Assembly, the National Council of State, populated mainly by state governors in one of their ignoble meetings told Nigerians like a bolt from the blue, that the council would not be able to pay the agreed N30,000 minimum wage; instead they brazenly told Nigerians that they could only afford to pay N27,000 far below what the Federal Government agreed to pay workers meaning that there is a disparity in the minimum wage to be paid by government.
The cock and bull story of the governors being unable to pay N30,000 to their workers can only be told to the marines as nothing can be farther from the truth as long as they continue their senseless profligacy and bare-faced prodigal lifestyle for which they are notorious. Talk of what they go home with monthly and other perquisites of office, employment of array of special assistants and Advisers, not to talk of monthly security votes running into millions of Naira they spend anyhow. There is no way they cannot pay the N30,000 minimum wage.
The emperors (governors) should tell one country in the world where governments pay different minimum wages for their workers. What they are trying to do is illegal and unconstitutional and should be randomly dumped into the trash can. These are not the best of times for the organised Labour as they hop from one problem to another. If there is any arch-enemy the organized Labour and the Nigerian workers have today it is these extravagant state governors who live larger than life.
Henceforth, the governos should remove their toga of false affluence and stop deceiving the public with their cock and bull story of not being able to pay the agreed N30,000 minimum wage. We know they can even pay more that the N30,000 wage if they are patriotic and have the love of the citizens at heart. Aferwards, the Holy Bible says “A labourer deserves his wage”. Even the new N30,000 wage is still inadequate for an average family in Nigeria not to talk of slashing it to N27,000. It is now glaring that these governors are the ones impoverishing the citizens by their non-welfarist polices and decisions.
Let them jettison a Yoruba adage which goes thus: “We are belly-full we don’t know if others are hunger-stricken.”
The organised Labour has set this week, Monday to begin a total nationwide strike rather than accede to the governors’ decision to pay their workers N27,000. The fallout is better imagined than experienced now that the 2019 general elections are days away. If by commission or omission, the organised Labour has its way, it will definitely shut down the country, paralize the already comatose economy. All aspects of the economy will suffer terribly. There is no gainsaying the fact that hunger will worsen thus allowing the hoodlums have a free reign; banditry becomes an everyday occurrence so volatile for the security agencies to checkmate. Much money would be lost. Crimes and criminality will assume a high pedestal.
If there is anything the governors could do to save the country from this impending catastrophe nationwide, that they should do in the interest of the citizens they govern. All hands must be on deck to save this country from unavoidable extinction or disintegration because of an issue as trivial as national minimum wage.
Let us not willingly drive away foreign investors from our country. 2019 General Elections may not hold if organised Labour’s threat to go on nationwide strike materialises. A word is enough for the wise so goes an adage.