Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state insisted that the N18,000 minimum wage must be paid against all the odds, thereby disagreeing with other governors, who were skeptical about it taking to consideration the present economic situation in Nigeria.
The governor made these remarks at Labour House, Abuja, on Friday, November 20.
He reminded that the minumum wage was in force since the times of the previous administration. Oshiomhole also noted that the N18,000 rate was a product of agreement between the federal government and the organised labour.
“I said workers have a stake in this democracy. They are the ones who could afford to march the streets and they march the streets for democracy. Democracy doesn’t have to run at the comfort or convenience of governors, ministers, and presidents.
“I believe that the issue in the economy hasn’t got to do with minimum wage. I have always also reminded my colleagues that the minimum wage was not imposed, it was negotiated and state governments agreed to it, the president signed it not under duress, there was no strike to compel the then president to sign it, he signed it voluntarily.
“I believe when you look at the minimum wage, as it is today at N18,000, it is less than 100 dollars. I think it is now about eighty dollars. Now, divide eighty dollars by 31 days, you will be getting about two point something dollars.
“Now we cannot argue that workers in Nigeria formal sector should not earn more than two dollars a day, I cannot subscribe to that because the heart of governance is the welfare of the people,” the governor was quoted by Vanguard.
The participants of the Friday’s meeting also asked the 36 governors to cut their salaries by half so as to leave more funds available for the workers in their states. The leader of the Northern Elders’ Forum Professor Ango Abdullahi, who introduced this idea, also asked any of the governors who would be unable to pay the minimum wage to resign. In his opinion, this move would pave the way for those who perform duties in the interest of the Nigerian workers.
It would be noted that Governor Oshiomhole has recently celebrated his seventh anniversary in the office. His young wife, Lara Oshiomhole, organised a special event for the internally displaced persons to mark this milestone in her husband’s career.
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