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The Oracle: Nigeria Nation, The Past, Present and Future (Pt. 1)



By Mike Ozekhome


Nigeria as a nation became one in a visible entity in the year 1914 when Lord Fredrick Lugard amalgamated the Southern and Northern protectorates and Lagos colony. Ever since then, what is now known today as Nigeria steadily evolved. Nigeria was colonized by the British. Nigerians fought relentlessly before she finally gained her independence on October 1, 1960. Nigeria as an independent nation later became Republican in 1963 with a non executive president. On January 15, 1966, there was a military coup de’ tat which overthrew the regime of Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Belewa. The coup was led by the revolutionary Major Kaduna Nzeogwu Chukwumah.


The military coup ushered in major General J.T.U Aguiyi-Ironsi which promulgated the very unpopular unification Decree. On July 29, 1966, the regime of Aguiyi-ironsi was overthrown by elements of the Nigerian Military led by colonel General Yakubu Gowon who subsequently became the Head of State.


The Skirmishes associated with the coup and the question of who should be the Head of State coupled with deep-seated animosity and the program on the Ibos resident in the North eventually led to secession with the proclamation of the Republic of Biafra Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. This latter escalated into a full blown war on July 6, 1967 and lasted till January 10, 1970. During the civil war, Nigerians loss in human and capital resources was monumental and unquantifiable. Human resources running into millions of people were lost. The Nigerian government spends millions of naira to mark every January 15 which is set aside as “Remembrance Day”. It is pathetic but permit me to say that the widows and the loved ones of the soldiers that died in the war are without food and many without shelter. Many soldiers who survived the war are today not being remembered. They spend weeks on queue trying to collect their meagre pension where some of them have died as a result of the untold hardship which these old men are subjected to.


Gowon’s Administration which was famed for profligacy and broken promises was toppled by the Murtala Mohammed junta on July 29, 1975. The Murtala Administration was hailed as the best Military Administration as the general was determined to restore Nigeria back to its past glory. Most regrettably however, enemies of progress, who never wanted Murtala’s laudible and lofty ideas to come into fruition led by colonel Buka Suka Dinka waylaid and assassinated him in a botched coup on his way from the Mosque to his office on February 13, 1976. Consequent upon his assassination, General Olusegun Obasanjo being the second in command to the late Murtala Mohammed took over the mantle of leadership.


Under Obasanjo’s leadership as Head of State, Nigeria witnessed series of policies such as “Operation Feed the Nation”, Universal Free Primary Education, etc. None of these policies, improved or ameliorated the economic situation of the Nigerian people. The regime after three years finally organized and conducted a presidential election for Nigeria. In the election, five political parties participated. They were the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), National Party of Nigeria (NPN), Nigerian People’s Party (NPP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and the Great Nigeria People’s Party (GNPP). The election result showed that the candidate of Nigeria People’s Party, Alhaji Shehu Shagari won the election by winning twelve and half states out of nineteen states. The result of the election was seriously contested by the runner-up, Chief Obafemi Awolowo wherein the Supreme Court after listening to the opinion of the revered mathematician, Prof. Chike Obi declared Alhaji Shehu Shagari as the winner. Even though the Supreme Court had since declared that the judgment should not be followed as a precedent, opinions still linger that the judgment was nothing short of a political judgment.


The Nigerian people had not reaped the dividends of democracy when the military once again struck on December 31, 1983 under the leadership of major General Mohammed Buhari. Immediately after Buhari took over, he sent some of the second Republic Politicians into the gulag. People like Chief Olabisi Onabanjo of Ogun State and Prof. Ambrose Alli of the Old Bendel State died as a result of their long incarceration in prison.

Under the Buhari Administration, discipline was forcibly infused into the Nigerian polity Consequent upon the mantra called War Against Indiscipline (WAI). But suffice to say that Nigerians economic hardship continued as discipline alone could not put food on the table of Nigerians.


Buhari’s regime was finally toppled by his former school mate, Major General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB) in August, 1985. He called himself “military president” instead of “Head of State”. Babangida promised to hand over to a dully democratically elected president on October 1, 1999. Babangida later reneged on his promise to hand over to a civilian government in 1990 Nigerians suffered unprecedented deceptive tendencies. His double speak was o unparalleled that Nigerians nicknamed him “Maradona”. Abiola and June 12 After several failed promises to hand over to a civilian government, he finally organized and conducted an election in June 12, 1993 wherein Chief M.K.O Abiola contested under the umbrella of Social Democratic Party (SDP) The National Republican Convention (NRC) fielded Alhaji Bashir Tofa as its presidential candidate in the June 12, 1993 election. The election was adjudged the freest and fair election ever conducted in Nigeria. Chief M.K.O Abiola indisputably won the election with a landside margin. But to the chagrin of Nigerians and the international community, Babangida annulled this freest and fairest election in Nigeria. The annulment triggered off reactions from within and outside Nigeria. There were protest and demonstrations across the length and breath of Nigeria, including the North which resulted in the laws of many lives and wanton destruction of property. Chief M.K.O Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the election fled abroad for security reasons.


The agitation for the validation of the June 12 election persisted. The pressure on the Babangida administration became so unbearable, that he “stepped” aside on August, 27, 1993 thereby handing over to Ernest Shonekan as the Head of an Interim National Government. Despite the declaration of a court of law (Coram: Dolapo Akinsanya) that the interim National Government was illegal, Shonekan remained on his seat until November 17, 1993, when he was shoved aside by the dark goggled General, Sanni Abacha in what can be termed a palace coup. The day Abacha took over was the day Nigeria entered the darkest days of military brutality. Abacha’s regime unleashed a reign of terror on Nigerians he suspected at any slightest opportunity to be antagonizing his regime. Consequent upon this unprecedented doctorial tendencies, various pressure groups sprang up. The most vibrant and confrontational were the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) and the Joint Action Committee of Nigeria (JACON). Some of the Chieftains of NADECO like Prof. Wole Soyinka, Sen. Bola Armed Tinubu among others were sent on exile. Jacon paraded the likes of Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Chief Mike Ozekhome, Mr. Femi Falana, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, Dr. Fredrick Fashehun and so on.

Chief M.K.O Abiola’s Declaration

In June 1994, Chief M.K.O Abiola, the acclaimed winner of June 12 election declared himself the president. Consequent upon this Chief M.K.O Abiola was charged with treason, an act which engineered reaction from within and outside the country.

Some NADECO Chieftains who remained in Nigeria were terrorized and brutalized by Abacha’s “Killer Squad” Abacha planned to succeed himself in office despite contrary agitation by Nigerians. Abacha was desperate. He went ahead with the plan until June 8, 1998 when the cold arm of death snatched him away. Update, the details of Abiola and Abacha’s death are still sketchy.


The sudden death of Abacha ushered in the regime of General Abdusalam Abubarkar, who many thought would hand over to M.K.O Abiola thereby bringing into effect the aspiration and wishes of Nigerians who had voted for M.K.O Enmass in the June 12 election. Abdulsalam did not do this. He rather allowed some unknown persons to kill M.K.O Abiola in Government custody under the watchful eye of Kofi Anna, the then secretary General of the United Nation Organization (U.N.O). Nigerians are still asking: why was M.K.O killed? Till now, nobody has come out openly to tell Nigerians how and why Abiola was murdered in Government custody. But one thing Nigerians know for sure is that, the blood of M.K.O Abiola and all those who lost their lives in the heat of the June 12 crisis shall continue to hunt the perpetrators. (To be continued).


“There is beauty and power in unity. We must be united in heart and mind. One world, one people”. (Lailah Gifty Akita).

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Tempremental Labour Leaders and Teachable Moments in Minimum Wage Negotiations




By Magnus Onyibe

All gloves seem to be off as organized labor leaders decided to unbraid Senator George Akume, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF and leader of government’s team negotiating the minimum wage crisis with the organized labor leaders after they practically shut down our country last monday, 3rd June.

As the verbal exchange between the leaders of labor and government rages on and Nigerians are lapping up all the drama, what seems to have been lost on the nation is the gravity of and dire consequences of shutting down the national grid by the obviously enraged and therefore rampaging labor activists that were intent on bringing government down to its knees via a forced lock-down.

Has anyone considered a scenario whereby those that forcefully took control of critical and sensitive assets of our country are non state actors who have taken up arms against our country?

Think of a scenario whereby those that switched off our electricity grid were religious insurgents-Boko Haram, ISWAP that are holding sway in the northern region or sovereign state agitators like IPOB, ECN in the eastern flanks and Oodua Peoples Congress in the south west axis of our country or environmental rights activists like Niger Delta militants in the treasure trove of Nigeria?

Our country got very close to that apocalystic situation on 3rd June when organized labor embarked on industrial action to enforce their demand for minimum wage increase.

At the risk of being tagged an alarmist , the scenario described above is one of the teachable moments for me in the minimum wage increase agitation by the organized labor pitched against the federal government that is making frantic efforts to manage the crisis for an equitable solution.

To put things in perspective, it is apropos that we reflect on the aetiology of the minimum wage crisis.

The first to literally draw blood in the war of words was the SGF, Senator Akume whose verbal umbrage was triggered by the reported loss of some lives in hospitals country wide when labor activists forced their way into the national electricity grid to switch off power supply nationwide. That resulted in reported loss of lives of sick people that were on life support gadgets in hospitals, even as medical doctors that could have helped save lives were stopped from going into the hospitals to attend to patients. Ideally when strikes are called , those on essential duties are not prevented from working.

It is believed that the rampaging labor activists enforcing the industrial action that was called by the organized labor in Nigeria to force the hands of goverment to increase minimum wage from N30,000 to N500,000, which was the intial demand, but currently scaled down to N250,000, did cause avoidable loss of not only income,but the shut down resulted in loss of lives.

Although looses are still be counted, the two days shut down of our country stretched from the bureacracy to market/economic space all the way down to the airspace such as airports that were also shut down by the labor activists who were bent on causing massive disruption of the magnitude that would shake government.

Obviously, unbemused about the catatrosphic consequences of the strike action that resulted in a practical lock down of our country for at least 48 hours , the SGF accused labor leaders of economic sabotage and characterized their crime as treasonble felony.

The SGF, Senator Akume, reportedly expressed his displeasure when the executives from the National Council of Christian Association of Nigeria,CAN visited him last thursday, June 6.

Below is how an obviously piqued SGF expressed his displeasure:

“Nowhere in the world has labour ever tampered with the national grid. It is treason! Treasonable felony is economic sabotage; you don’t do that.

“We are trying to rebuild the economy. The president is picking it up, and they want to destroy it. Of what use is that to all of us? That is not the way.”
He concluded by saying:

“It is not that we are not working. We are working, and that is why we implemented the N35,000 wage, which is more than the minimum wage,” he said.

“There are buses ready to be distributed, and soon, rice and other essentials will be available.”

Not taking the SGF’s umbraiding lying low, the leaders of organized labor have gone ballistic by pushing back via their mocking of the SGF by alleging that politicians , which is the ‘tribe’ that the SGF belongs are the real ecomomic saboteurs:

“The SGF we are sure clearly knows those whose actions are treasonable and sabotages our economy. Those who loot our treasury around the country, those who divert public resources meant for hospitals and schools; those who are involved in foreign exchange roundtripping; padding of budgets and inflating contracts including those who steal trillions of naira in the name of subsidy are the real economic saboteurs who commit treasonable felony.

“These people are in costly agbada and drive in convoys all around the nation occupying the corridors of power and not innocent workers who are not slaves but chose to withdraw their services because of the inhuman treatment meted on them by the government”.

The thirty six (36) state governors that are leading the components of the country at the subnational level, all of which together constitute Nigerian nation, who felt like , to borrow a popular local cliche, that their hair was being shaven behind their back; in the sense that a national minimum wage which would be binding on them to pay workers at the state level was being discussed and decided without their input, had to join the fray.

In their statement they expressed the following concern:

“The Nigeria Governors’ Forum is in agreement that a new minimum wage is due. The Forum also sympathises with labour unions in their push for higher wages.

“However, the Forum urges all parties to consider the fact that the minimum wage negotiations also involve consequential adjustments across all cadres, including pensioners. The NGF cautions parties in this important discussion to look beyond just signing a document for the sake of it; any agreement to be signed should be sustainable and realistic.

“All things considered, the NGF holds that the N60,000 minimum wage proposal is not sustainable and can not fly. It will simply mean that many states will spend all their FAAC allocations on just paying salaries with nothing left for development purposes. In fact, a few states will end up borrowing to pay workers every month. We do not think this will be in the collective interest of the country, including workers.”

Expectedly, the governors have also become targets of the fiery darts and missiles of the angry labor unions.
They wrote:-

“We do believe that governors have acted in bad is unheard of for such a statement to be issued to the world in the middle of an ongoing negotiation. It is certainly in bad taste.

“As for the veracity of their claim, nothing can be further from the truth as FAAC allocations have since moved from N700 billion to N1.2 trillion( thanks to subsidy petrol and naira subsidy removal by president Tinubu) making the governments extremely rich at the expense of the people.”
Furthermore they bellowed:

“We are not fixated with figures but value.
Those who argue that moving national minumum wage from N30,000 to N60,000 is sufficiently good enough miss the point.”

As the popular aphorism goes ‘a hungry man, is an angry man’.

There is no arguement about the fact that Nigerian workers have been negatively impacted by the reform initiatives of the incumbent administration.

Even President Tinubu acknowledges that fact, hence he provided an interim remedial measure, which is the Federal Government award of N35,000 (strangely it is not being talked about very much ) as extra bonus on the N30,000 minumum wage to workers pending when the amount to replace the one that has recently expired, is agreed upon.

All over the world, labor union leaders have the reputation of being feisty,fiery and ferocious.

For instance, in the United States of America, USA, the highly influential and powerful United Auto Workers , UAW have been known to engage politicians in hot exchange of words when demanding for wage increase.

The last showdown between UAW and their employers was in 2023 when they were demanding for 40% wage increase. Owing to the fact that the union is very influential and pack a significant voting punch, the current President of the US, Mr Joe Biden joined them in the picket lines and backed their agitation for pay increase.

Unlike in the US where the private sector is often the largest employer of labor , in Nigeria, government is the highest employer of labor, so strike actions are often taken against the private sector employers of labor which is a tell tale sign of the abysmal level of industrialization in our country.

In the United Kingdom, UK, Baroness Margaret Thatcher, who Britons aptly tagged the Iron Lady owing to how she was able to tame the very vocal and influential labor unions, that could significantly influence the outcomes of political parties elections and as they were holding British politicians to a ransome, was hounded until her passage on 8th April 2013 and she was even disrespected by labor activists during her funeral.

From the narrative above, labor activists all over the world are known to be impetulent and tempestous.

Having put things in context, to give readers the opportunity to make a fair assessment of the crisis triggered by the negotiqtion for a new minimum wage characterized by hot verbal exchanges between the SGF and organized labor currently happening in Nigeria: and the carpeting of governors by labor leaders, after the governors forum reminded the negotiators that state governments may not be able to pay the wage being demanded; let us examine the veracity of the accusation leveled by the SGF against the labor leaders that they have committed treasonable felony by switching off the national electricity grid which he pointed out as having not been done anywhere in the world.

On the other hand, what also needs to be tested for veracity by being put in the crucible of truth are the charges against politicians at both federal and sub national levels by the labor leaders who are claiming that they did no wrong by plunging the nation into total darkness to drive home their demand for increase in minimum wage for workers and then accussed politicians of being the real economic saboteurs.

So, l posed the question of whether the switching off of electricity from the national grid was a treasonable felony using Artificial Intelligence, AI tool, and below is the response:

“Labor unions do not have the right to switch off the national electricity grid as a form of strike protest. While labor unions have the right to peaceful strike actions, sabotaging or tampering with critical infrastructure like the national electricity grid is illegal and potentially dangerous.

Such actions could lead to serious consequences, including:

– Endangering public safety
– Causing widespread economic disruption
– Damaging equipment and infrastructure
– Violating labor laws and regulations

Instead, labor unions typically engage in peaceful strike actions like:

– Work stoppages
– Picketing
– Rallies
– Negotiations

Unions may also explore other creative and lawful tactics to draw attention to their demands, like social media campaigns or public outreach efforts.”

In light of the forgoing, the SGF is right in his allegation that organized labor might have committed treasonable felony by switching off the national electricity grid because it has had grave consequences on the economy of Nigeria and lives of Nigerians.

Given the reality above, should the ongoing negotiation between governmemt led by a justifiably miffed SGF and labor leaders fail to attain success before the expiration of the one week period of forbearance granted by organized labor when it suspended the strike for one week which ends tuesday 12, June 2024; in order to prevent a re-occurence of the treasonable felony offenses that occured on 3rd June, should government not take steps to protect our critical assests like the national electricity grid, telephone networks, water reservoirs, airports and sea ports amongst many other such critical infrastructure to make them as impregnable as fortknox to protect them from being easily breached as had happened on 3rd June?

The second teachable moment from the minimum wage negotiation to me is whether the labor leaders are correct in labeling politicians as the ‘real’ saboteurs when they made the statement.

As l have always advocated, and in alignment with the title of my column which is also what l titled my latest book: “Leading From The Streets”, mass media platforms are sort of public opionon courts where everyone is free to act as litigants and appellants, as the case may be.

Put succinctly,we all have the right to present our cases in the courts of public opinion as lawyers do in courts of law.
After pleading our case, it is left for the people of Nigeria, particularly those leading from the streets to make the decision in the way that judges do in law courts.

That is one way in which we will be putting the masses who are Leading From The Streets in the centre-point of leadership.

Ideally,that is the way it is supposed to be as it would be in consonnance with the tenets of and in alignment with the definition of democracy which is: government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Arising from the above, and in the spirit of putting leadership in the hands of the people, it is only proper that we scrutinize the allegation by labor leaders that politicians are the ‘real’ economic saboteurs.

Going by the fact that Mr Ahmed Idris ,a suspended Accountant General of the Federation who is a public servant and not politician was arrested and araigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for allegedly stealing a whooping N109 billion naira from government treasury between February and december 2021, the allegation against politicians is rendered spurious. That is because the claim by labor leaders that politicians are the ‘real’ economic saboteurs is disputable.

One is also curious to know if our labor leaders are also implying that civil servants are the ‘fake’ saboteurs, if politicians are the ‘real’ saboteurs ?

Before Ahmed Idris, another Accountant General of the Federation that Idris suceeded in office is Mr Jonah Otunla.
He is another civil servant, not a politician who served as Accountant General of the Federation between 2011 and 2015 and was also alleged to have stolen about N26 billion from federal government treasury.
But he refunded about N6.3 billion after being arrested by the EFCC and he has been in court trying to make a case that having made a refund of some of the looted funds,he has been discharged of all criminal and civil liabilities.

How about Abdulrasheed Maina, that was a public servant heading the defunt pension reform department of government?
He was given the mandate to sanitize the pension fund space that had become a cesspit of corruption but he relooted what he had recovered from looters and was convicted in november 2021 for stealing 2 billion naira belonging to pensioners after a two-year trial.

As adumbrated by one Sanusi Muhammad who in a piece published in Trojan News of 3rd december 2023, wherein he identified a litany of acts of economic sabotage via financial corruption perpetrated,not only by politicians,but also by civil servants,it is clear that civil servants are not absolved from being economic saboteurs.

In fact from available records, civil servants are as culpable as politicians that they are pointing their fingers at.

So, is this a case of the kettle calling the pot black?

In any case, is it not telling that the indicted and convicted civil servants highligted earlier are members of the ‘tribe’ of the organized labor comprising of the umbrella body of civil servants-the Nigeria Labor Congress ,NLC and Trade Union Congress,TUC headed by Joe Ajaero and Festus Osifo who have been voiceferous in tagging politicians at both national and subnational levels as economic saboteurs?

It is trite, but it is worth recalling the fact that the indicted and convicted civil servants are actually colleagues of the labor leaders that are expressing righteous indignation.

The truth and sad reality is that we are all swimming in the cesspool of corruption that equates with economic sabotage, so there is no need expressing righteuors indignation of only condemning corruption when agitating for pay rise.

How about our labor leaders becoming more innovative by creating anti corruption vanguards/squads in government institutions to nip the crime in the bud?
As the conventional wisdom goes.
‘Corruption steals from us all’.

Is it not hypocritical that the Institutions listed below and managed by civil servants are ridden with corruption?

They range from the Niger Delta Development Commission , NDDC, Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSTIF, to Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC and Nigerian National Petroleun Company, NNPC, Niger Delta Amnesty Funds, as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

It is dishonorable that all of the public agencies listed above have been associated with humungous fraud in the past several years.

Let it be reiterated that they are being led by public/civil servants who have been engaging in economic sabotage.
These are crimes which they try to cover up by making incredulous claims such as termites eating up invoices and snakes swallowing missing funds.

Again, is it not rather hypocritical that there is no evidence that labor leaders reprimanded , condemned how much more sanctioned in any shape or form the referenced economic saboteurs within their ranks that have been indicted or convicted?
Yet they are lambasting politicians for rejecting their initial scandalous demand for N500,000 as minimum wage for workers instead of focusing more on how the currently very low productivity base in our country could be boosted through investements in infrastructure such as electricity energy generating projects like Geometric Power providing electricity solution in Aba,Abia state, Innoson Vehicles Manufacturer in Nnewi , Anambra state as well as Dangote refinery in Lekki, Lagos etc, to facilitate industrialization of our country that woud led to the creation of more jobs and prosperity for workers.

To be clear, one is not holding brief for the members of the political class, or in any way trying to absolve them of their culpabilty in corrupt practices that expose our dear native land to economic sabotage. But l am simply drawing attention to the fact that the allegations by labor leaders that politicians are the ‘real’ saboteurs is spurious and malicious because it is a case of the kettle calling the pot black.

In my view, the vitriolic exchanges are unhelpful and mischevious and at best diversionary.

Instead of chasing the shadows which the grandstanding by organized labor amounts to, they should invest more energy in identifying and addressing the primary cause/causses of the spike in the cost of living of which one of them is food insecurity and the other is due to ongoing economic reforms.

That brings me to the 3rd teachable moment which revolves around the law governing national minimum wage negotiations.
It would need to be reviewed because as it currently stands it negates the spirit and letter of true federalism since it empowers the federal government to pass national minimum wage, precluding state governments from fixing their minimum wage based on the resources available in the economy to support low or high wage.
For instance, would it not be foolhardy for Lagos state that earns Internally Generated Revenue , IGR in excess of N260 billion annually pay the same minimum wage to workers in Zamfara, Ekiti or Ebonyi states with little or no economic activities from which revenue could be derived as tax?

Obviously the high cost of living in Lagos ( food, housing ,transportation etc) which is the economic heart beat of Nigeria, can not be compared to that of people living in the aforementioned states in the hinterlands of Nigeria which are rural with much lower costs. So it would be understandable if the workers there are paid less. Is uniform minimum wage nationwide not an aberration of autonomy which defines true federalism?

For instance, would US law makers pass a law that the minimum wage in the highly industrialized and populous states of California and New York should be the same paid to workers workers in less urbanized states such as Mississippi, Lousiana or New Mexico?

The resounding answer is no!
That is because since the size of their economes are much smaller and weak, they would not find the funds to pay salaries as high as workers are paid in California and New York states that have robust economic bases.

A similar comparism can be made locally between Lagos, Rivers, Akwa lbom,Delta and Ogun states that are financially bouyant versus, Ekiti, Zamfara and Ebonyi states that are barely surviving on the lean revenue from FAAC, as they generate little or no revenue internally.

Clearly, fixing a national minimum wage that is binding on all the component states that constitute Nigeria would vitiate the concept of autonomy that is the underguarding principle of democracy and which would contradict the concept and practice of true federalism which is central to the practice of presidential system of government that is in operation in our country.

Arising from the above, the national mininum wage provision in section 4 of the 1999 constition of Nigeria would appear to be an aberration or a contradition of the concept and practice of true federalism which our nation prides herself as practicing.

As such,that provision for fixing a national minimum wage in section 4 of the 1999 constitution would need to be revisited with a view to tweaking or expunging it to reflect the dynamics of autonomy intrinsinc in the practice of true federalism as it obtains in the US from where we borrowed the presidential system.

There are several other teachable moments that one has gleaned from the ongoing minimum wage umpasse that my good friend Segun Adeniyi , the editorial board chairman of Thisday newspaper has titled: “Minimum Wage and Maximum Rage” in his column last week,but time and space would not permit my laying all of them out in this piece.

Be that as it may, inflation in Nigeria, especially of the food hue has hit an all time high which is in excess of 40%.

Obviously the N30,000 minimum wage plus the N35,000 hardship/bonus pay introduced by President Tinubu to cushion the negative fall out of the ongoing socio-economic reforms has not been good enough antidote to the current galloping inflation.

What elementary economics teaches us is that inflation sets in when a lot of money is chasing few goods.

Bearing that in mind, what needs to be done, in my humble opinion is increase the productive/production base of our economy.
Of course one is aware of dollar scarcity and exit of some multinational mamufacturing firms with low capital threshold from our country.

So, one is not being too bullish about improvements in manufactured products being abundant until the volatility in the financial sector particularly with reepect to foreign exchange rate and crude oil sales are better managed.

But targeting food inflation that has been skybound,it appears to me that one of the ways to tackle the hardship being experienced by workers would be to boost food security which is currently like a mirrage in light of the high level of insecuriy driven by non state actors-religious insurgents, bandits and separatists/ soveriegn state agitators that have heightened insecurity and made made farming either as a profession or vocation very difficult,if not impossible.

Since professional farming is currently highly risky in light of how Boko Haram, a couple of years ago gruesomely beheaded some farmers in Sokoto state who defiled their order not to go to farm, vocational farming in gardens around the homes of workers remains a good option to augument food supply that is fast drying up.
Therefore, a pertinent question to ask is: are our labor leaders considering a solution to the hardships from the prism highlighted above?

Why must money or wage increase be the only optics from which solution to current hardships is being considered?

Are our labor leaders not aware that even if the N250,000 minimum wage that they are agitating for is agreed,in less than 3 months, all things being equal, inflation would catch up with the wage increase even if it is as high as the N500,000 that is their original demand?

My humble counsel would be that workers should weigh all the options available and find a middle ground,even as l urge them to regard government as partners in progress not adversaries as evidenced by the barbs that they are currently being traded with government functionaries, including those in the two branches-executive and legislative.

Even government afficionados at both national and subnational levels have not escaped the tongue lashing by organized labor operatives, which is unfortunate because it is making our beloved country look like a theatre of the absurd to onlookers,both locally and internationally.

How antagonizing the negotiators and excalating the crisis would bring succur to the workers bearing the brunt remains unfathomable to me.

On the part of government , restoring security by reining in the outlaws that are putting lives at risk and making farming difficult, if not imposible should be priotized.

One is assuming that President Tinubu is on top of how to resolve the intolerable insecurity issues in our country, and positive result is yet to manifest in that sector, probably because he is rejiging the nation’s security strategy that has been driven from a kinetic approach which entails applyiing sheer military force as solution.

But hope for a respite seems to be on the horizon given that government is throwing in a mix of both kinetic and non kinetic strategies (which is about engagement with the society in more scientific methods) such as carrots and sticks approach to get to the route cause of the anti-social bevaviors manifesting as the menance currently hobbling the growth, development and progress of our beloved nation as well as prosperity of Nigerians.

To make our country great,our labor leaders must transit from being mere workers to problem solvers by becoming a source of innovation and a bastion of productive workforce that would propel our country into ultimately attaining a level of human, food and energy security that have been the dream of the masses which our leaders have been struggling to make manifest.

Magnus Onyibe, an entrepreneur, public policy analyst ,author,democracy advocate, development strategist, alumnus of Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Massachusetts, USA and a former commissioner in Delta state government, sent this piece from Lagos, Nigeria.
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One Year Anniversary: Rt. Hon. Sunday Umeha’s Giant Strides in the 10th National Assembly




By Raymond Nkannebe

As elected members of the 10th National Assembly get set to mark their 1-year anniversary in office; for the people of Ezeagu/Udi Federal Constituency in Enugu State, the event provides an auspicious moment to reflect and assess the performance of their elected representative, Rt. Hon. Barr. Sunday Cyriacus Umeha (Ezeabata 1) who on the 13th of June 2023 was duly inaugurated into the Green Chambers of the National Assembly together with his colleagues.

However, at a recent engagement with leaders of the Labour Party in Enugu – both at the State and Local Government levels as well as constituents and supporters, the resounding vote of confidence passed on Hon. Umeha, was the needed proof that his legislative strides in the National Assembly had caught on with the people in just one year, and of course, a potent indication that things can only get better from here. But in his characteristic humility, and undaunting commitment towards a better Ezeagu-Udi Federal Constituency, Hon. Umeha would not be flattered by the overwhelming seal of support and approval of his people. For him, the journey has only but begun.

Indeed, the record of performance of Hon. Umeha at the 10th National Assembly brings to mind the anecdote of the golden fish that has no place to hide. This has seen the Honourable Member take on numerous legislative engagements in the House as a gesture of his capacity and discipline of execution which must have been honed over the course of a diligent and successful legal career.

Whether in substantive role as the Deputy Speaker of the House Committee on Justice; Member of the House Committee on recovery of funds trapped in banks and other financial institutions; Member of Committee on HIV/AIDs, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Leprosy Control; or Membership of the Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Umeha has distinguished himself as an astute parliamentarian, within a short time, to the approval of not only his peers, but also the leadership of the 10th National Assembly.

It is no wonder then, that when the Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution was to be set up, Hon. Umeha was named as one of only 37 lawmakers to undertake that historic exercise on behalf of the Nigerian people. This is a feat that puts Ezeagu-Udi Federal Constituency and indeed the entire people of Enugu in an indelible page of history.

To say that all of these have come with great physical and emotional burden, is to say the obvious; yet, for the Honourable Member, “leadership is a function of service and anyone who is not prepared to do the hard work that leadership imposes, should not throw their hat in the ring”.

Ever alive to the pressing needs of his Constituents, Hon. Umeha has found an uncanny means to combine the excruciating demands of his office with responding to issues that appertain to the security and well-being of his constituents and Nigerians at large.

One of those notable interventions, was the motion moved on the floor of the House to urging it to direct the Federal Government to investigate gruesome murder and killings of Nigerian Citizens at the popular Ugwu Di Nso Junction in Udi Local Government Area, by operatives of the Nigerian Army and to provide succor and relief materials to the families of those who died from the dastardly act. It was a timely and responsive motion which expectedly received the nod of the 10th National Assembly. Another, was the motion calling on the Ministry of Federal Capital Territory to complete the Karshi/Apo Road in order to checkmate traffic gridlock on the ever-busy Keffi/Mararaba/Nyanya/Abuja Road which also received the stamp of the House of Representatives.

Hon. Umeha’s interventions in the core legislative work of law-making, so far, speaks for itself. At the last count, he has actively sponsored at least five Bills targeted at varying socio-economic outcomes. One of those legislative interventions that will potentially reverberate home, is the Bill for an Act to Establish Federal College of Entrepreneurship and Skill Acquisition in Ezeagu/Udi Federal Constituency of Enugu State. In the event that the Bill is passed into Law, Hon. Umeha hopes that it would elevate Ezeagu/Udi Federal Constituency as the entrepreneurship and skills-acquisition capital of Nigeria.

Others are, a Bill for an Act to Amend the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act, 2004 to Provide for the Abolition of Levies and all Forms of Fees in Public-Primary Schools and for Other Related Matters; A Bill for an Act to amend the NYSC Act, Cap. N84 2004, to make it mandatory for the Service Corps to provide Lie Insurance Policy for Members and for Other Related Matters; a Bill for an Act to Establish the National Football Academy in Ezeagu/Udi Federal Constituency an for Other Related Matters etc.

In the areas of infrastructure, social utilities, education, job opportunities and security, it is safe to say that Hon. Umeha has been punching well above his weight in spite of the limited resources at his disposal as a first-time lawmaker. Thus, in order to bolster security, he saw the wisdom in the installation of solar-powered street lights in Akama/Amankwo Ward. This intervention, according to many residents of the community has further increased the sense of security and provided more impetus for night-life which helps accelerate economic development.

In line with his Legislative Agenda of providing scholarships to eligible students in the Constituency; the partnership with several secondary schools across the wards in the Constituency to provide free Jamb registration to selected students during the last registration exercise, has been widely received as a gesture of matching words with actions. For the beneficiaries of the scholarship scheme, it would go down in their memories as a significant contribution to their legitimate aspiration for the Golden Fleece.

Hon. Umeha has also not lost sight of his commitment towards job creation for the youths of his Constituency. In that regard; beyond the job opportunities provided to those who serve in his Legislative Office either as aides of liaison officers, Hon. Umeha has gone further to negotiate sustainable job opportunities in Federal Parastatals for many of the Constituents to the extent that they’re duly qualified and have applied for those positions. Plans are also underway to organize week-long skills acquisition training across several technical skills for youths of the Constituency. These would include learning and developing competencies in the areas of soap making, painting, interior decoration, tailoring and fashion design, IT etc. The expectation is that by the end of these curated trainings, the beneficiaries would be able to earn legitimate living out of them and also, potentially create job opportunities for others.

Conscious of the fact that security remains focal to the attainment of these and other lofty Agenda for the Constituency, Hon. Umeha has explored a new approach at solving the intractable security problem within Ezeagu and environs. This would take the shape of what might be called “people policing” whereby every member of the community is actively involved in the policing process by ensuing vigilance, practicing information-sharing with local vigilantes and traditional security agencies such as the Nigerian Police and Military, and also responding to crisis points in unison to apprehend assailants and/or deterring future attacks.

All of this formed part of deliberations and resolutions reached at a recent Security Summit organized by the Honourable Member in collaboration with the Nigerian Army; the Police; the DSS and the Civil Defence Corps. The event which was styled as a townhall was in response to the recent upsurge in kidnappings in Ezeagu and elicited outcomes/recommendations some of which are now been escalated at a higher level with the relevant security operatives by Hon. Umeha.

Further; as accessibility is key in representative governance, Hon. Umeha has remained dedicated to his open-door policy which is critical in running a truly people-oriented representation. Thus, he has made the distance between Abuja and Enugu rather short, and is constantly amongst the people both in their time of celebration and in their time of sorrow to feel their pulse, receive constructive feedbacks with a view to factoring them within his leadership model.

Whilst it has been a very busy year; with a better part of it lost to the needless distractions of the multiple litigations that arose from his God-given mandate, there is yet a growing consensus that Hon. Umeha has hit the ground running. And just in the way a chick that will grow into a cock is spotted on the first day it is hatched, hope abound for the people of Ezeagu and Udi Federal Constituency that tomorrow will surely be better.

Raymond Nkannebe is the Director of Media and Press Affairs to Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Sunday Cyriacus Umeha

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Tinubu, One Year in Office and Catalogue of Woes




By Eric Elezuo

That day was a Monday. Nigerians had waited to know what was in store for them for the next four years. Expectations were high, considering that the three major presidential contenders had painted a blossoming picture of a better Nigeria. It was like whoever emerges knows the problems of Nigeria, and will fix it within a twinkling of an eye. Nigerians were sure to smile again.

But hope began to dim as the just sworn in president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, began to drift during his inauguration speech. Thousands were at the Eagle Square, venue of the swearing in ceremony, and millions were watching via online or cable television. When will he made the turnaround announcement that will usher in the much expected Eldorado.

The announcement did come. But it had no smack of Eldorado, it had no dressing of the Renewed Hope agenda on which Tinubu, and his All Progressives Congress (APC) campaigned, it was a blunt ‘spirit possessed’ outburst that changed the landscape of everything political, economic and welfaristic. It was a line borrowed from non-concentration, and it says “Subsidy is Gone”.

Since that Monday in 2023, May 29, to be precise, till now, one year after, Nigerians have practically lived from hand to mouth, moving from one terrible woe to another, and respite seems far from coming.

Just immediately after the announcement of May 29, the price of Premium Motor Spirit, ordinarily known as petrol, jumped to the roof. It sold at N615 as against N180 prior to the Tinubu era. The people did not protest. The people murmured, and adjusted to the hardship that came with the rise,  and emboldened the government for more draconian policies. The prices of foodstuffs such as staples like garri, rice and beans soared beyond the reach of the regular citizen, and so emerged hunger, extreme starvation, deprivation and untold woes.

Then the government took more extreme steps, and descended on tariffs, increasing electricity cost even with abysmal supply. The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, had defended the move, and in a petty response, blamed Nigerians for putting on the freezers and A/Cs. He however, apologized for his misplaced utterance.

The naira totally collapsed, and nearly exchanged at N2000. Today, it trades at a price a little less than N1500.

Adding salt to injury, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in a bid to deepend the country’s forex reserve introduced the Cybersecurity levy. The public outcry that followed the policy led to its suspension.

In the midst of all the woes, members of the National Assembly are buying cars at N160 million each and sending “prayers” to their various account numbers at regular intervals – while the masses continue to understand.

Meanwhile, Tinubu and his supporters have maintained that the government is doing well, and deserve applause as it completes one years in office.

Every Nigerian wants Tinubu to succeed, yes, but so far, it’s been a bleak one year of hunger, taste, deprivation and hopelessness. Someone says the matra has become renewed fraud!

The most fearful part is that there are three more years for the clueless administration to further torment Nigerians.

Tinubu government just have to review all they have done in the last one year with the eye of the regular citizen on the street, and not the Abuja landlord, and make amends before the hungry man truly becomes an angry man.

But Nigerians hope for the best, and this catalogue of woes may just end.

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