The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has welcomed the proposed increase in minimum wage to N30,000 as a welcome development.
Backstory: Atiku urged the federal government to implement the proposed minimum wage, adding that the welfare of workers will be a priority of his policy proposal. “The Nigerian worker is the goose that lays the golden egg and is worthy of the best pay that Nigeria can afford,” he said in a statement by his campaign organization.
He described the leadership of organized labour in the country as patriots for calling off the planned nationwide strike.
Atiku had earlier appealed to labor not to embark on its planned strike while also calling on the national assembly to speedily pass a legislation that makes the new minimum wage a statutory requirement.
“Atiku means jobs, jobs that would pay the minimum wage and above because Nigeria should benefit the masses and not those who are in top government positions,” the statement said.
Bottom Line: The wages of workers will be an election issue this season. Labour is obviously aware of this, which explains why it has been forcing the issue in the last two months. It is not enough for Atiku to talk about support for workers. He served as vice president in an administration notorious for strike actions. In fact, it was the tussle between the Obasanjo/Atiku government that turned former NLC president, Adams Oshiomhole, into a celebrity, on the wings of which he entered into politics. The issue of Atiku’s stand on the welfare of workers is expected to come up again after he eventually puts out his policy document.