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The Minimum Wage Conundrum



A simple definition of the word “conundrum” means “confusing, difficult problem” and that is exactly what this minimum wage issue is. Confusing, because there are still states of the federation that are owing not less than three months’ salary up to a year based on the N18, 000.00 minimum wage so I’m wondering which realm of possibility is this ship of N30, 000.00 minimum wage going to berth?? And then a difficult problem because there are so many issues besting the Nigerian worker that this is not the crux of the matter. With an extremely demotivated, battered, stressed work force; I daresay it is not the money (it is a factor, but it isn’t the main thing) it is a whole myriad of problems. The issue of mainly fighting for an increase in salary (reiterating; a good thing but not the main thing) serves as a band aid. Nothing materially changes in the real world outside the salary increase world and it is in that real world the money gets to be spent. This perpetuates the cycle of corruption on a different level not yet even hinted at by this war on corruption. Poor academic intakes, lack of proper placement, training, incentives, fairness, lack of work in the work. To say the least, the work environment is hostile. 

I am not discountenancing the effort made by the NLC to fend for the welfare of its staff; in fact, if they had gone on this strike, it was poised to beat any other strike on this matter that had been held. There was literally 100 per cent buy-in from affected bodies. I think they lost an opportunity to ram home a couple of points. Nigeria Labour Congress needs to move from only shutting down the country on the issue of minimum wage. This time they should have squeezed the governments’ owing on the 18k minimum wage as it were, to pay up in full and for good measure ask for a ‘warning” 30k to be paid to all workers; warning of the good salary that is to come; Kinda like NLC when it gives a warning strike of what is to come. In the still of the night, an owing governor threw his workers a lean bone; he paid one month’s salary out of the numerous months he owes; an effect the proposed 6th November strike had.

Next stop: Minimum Leadership Conundrum. This is what we should be trying to address and get a solution to. There is a minimum that we expect of our leaders, for workers or should I say labourers that minimum would be to pay their salaries as and when due and in full. I’m afraid that we will see many more of this tug-of-war drama.  Government has promised or rather agreed to the terms (which they always do after a dragged-out drama) and then reneges, and the cycle starts all over till it is eventually implemented if at all. Should the government that promised the increase, come back 2019; great they will continue from where they left off and deal headlong. Should they not, well, the incoming government has its work cut out for it.

Now, we have ASUU hot on the heels of government; can’t blame them might as well ride the crest of the moment.

In View

Is it me or does the time seem pretty short that INEC has set out for Voter’s Register verification? With the unprecedented number of eligible voters that registered for the first time, leading to a huge leap in the overall number of voters, it seems from 6th to 12th November is too short a time for the verification with a weekend in between. I can imagine the same crowd I saw on the day I went to register (and I was there for four days running) turning up to check one place for particulars between the hours of 9am-3pm. Anyway, we will do what we do best; suffering, smiling and relaying our ordeals. See you at the polls.

As I was wondering which lament to take up next, I saw this screaming headline: 85-year-old Biya Sworn in for Another 7-year Tenure in Cameroon. You can’t tell from his picture though. I don’t get it. How has he been able to be in power for 36 years and Baba wasn’t able to get just a third term of four years??He will be 92 when he completes the tenure, second only to Mugabe.

“In few minutes, I will be at the EFCC Old Office, Wuse 2, Abuja; I’m a man who stands by his words and I hope that after today, those President Buhari’s men that have been accused of corruption will also be bold enough to submit themselves to the @officialEFCC” the tweeted words of former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose. You have to say something of a man who even made a tee shirt for the occasion and promptly made his way to EFCC to answer charges of corruption; attack is the best form of defense. Juxtapose this with the recent case of the current governor of Kano State, Ganduje, caught on video “allegedly” receiving bribe. He has neither submitted himself to the authorities nor has he been summoned. On the other hand, “shuru ma magana ne.” (silence too is an answer)





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