(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, on Thursday, made good his promise to enhance the fortunes of Nigerian workers by signing the 30, 000 Naira Minimum Wage Bill approved by the two Chambers of the National Assembly into law. This singular action has not only enlivened the homes of civil servants across the country, it has also increased the confidence of the citizens in the person and government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
After wide consultations with governors, labour leaders and other stakeholders, the President, who had been unshaken in his commitment to enhanced wage for the civil servants from the beginning of the proposal, went ahead to present the Minimum Wage Repeal and Reenactment Bill, 2019 to the National Assembly. Many Nigerians are pleased that Buhari proved to be a man of his words by seeing the project through to the point of signing the Bill into law, without delay.
While we commend the president for giving his blessing to the 30,000Miminum Wage, it will not be out of place to urge him to go a step further to persuade the reluctant governors to do the needful. Just as nobody begrudges them for the luxury they enjoy in office, in addition to executive pensions for some after a maximum of eight years in office, they should not be seen as being opposed to the enhancement of the welfare of the civil servants – whose pay hardly take them home.
Meanwhile, it is important to observe that, while Nigerians are commending the president for the new Minimum Wage, that the population of those who will not benefit from the kind gesture are more that those who will benefit. The reason is because, much more members of the population are outside the civil service net.
It is therefore against this background that we advise the president to pay attention to also spreading joy to the generality of Nigerians – by working hard to achieve regular electricity. This is possible if Buhari makes supply of electricity a priority of his administration in the next four years. By so doing, the unemployed, self employed and several others who will not benefit from the increased minimum wage, can also have reason to smile, and to remember Buhari as the president who did what others could not do.
This is one legacy that the president can strive to leave behind at the end of his tenure, and one of the ways this can be achieved is by overseeing the affairs of the Ministry of Power directly. Supply of regular electricity will provide a suitable environment for the citizens and foreign investors to come and engage in more productive activities that will boost Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product. There will also be advantages of generation of employment opportunities, with implications of reduced crime rate.
Our considered opinion is that regular supply of electricity is possible in Nigeria. What is required is the political will. One way President Muhammadu Buhari can show appreciation to God and to Nigerians, for giving him the rare opportunity to preside over the affairs of the country for the third time is to do all within his power to guarantee regular supply of electricity in Nigeria in the next four years of his administration.
If Buhari can do it, his name will be written in gold as the greatest of all Nigerian leaders, who came and exceeded the expectation of the citizens. Enhanced Minimum Wage is good and the president should be commended for showing good faith. However, regular power is better because all Nigerians will enjoy it, if it is realised, and the multiplier effect will be unquantifiable. We sincerely believe that, if there is a will, there will definitely be a way.