Former president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State remains loyal to his roots as he, yesterday, disagreed with other governors of the country on the ability of the states to pay the N18,000 minimum wage. He said they must pay.
The governor recalled that the minimum wage was agreed between the Federal Government and the organised labour by the previous administration. He, therefore, told the governors and other elected political office holders that democracy cannot be run at their comfort and convenience.
“I am a labour man, I have been clear with my colleagues in seeking to find solution to the problem we face. We have to be holistic, we cannot at one hand question the wisdom behind the national minimum wage. I joined the NLC to protest to the National Assembly when they were going to amend the constitution to make the minimum wage a concurrent issue.
“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,” Oshiomole said.
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