(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) -There are reports that the House of Representatives in Nigeria has began moves to remove some of the items, including Minimum Wage from the exclusive list.The purpose is to reduce the load on the federal government and allow the states to legislate on them. Unfortunately, the Nigerian Labour Congress has announced a plan to protest against the move by the National Assembly.They are demanding that Minimum Wage remain on the exclusive list. In their opinion, the status quo better serves their interest, even when many states have been unable to implement the Minimum Wage each time it is agreed at the centre.
Incidentally, here lies the chain in wheel of of Nigeria’s development. Everybody is only fixated on his own interest, and nobody wants to look at the bigger picture – the overriding interest of the majority of Nigerian citizens. For too long, the centre has been unable to fulfill the legitimate expectations of citizens because some vested interests over loaded it with issues, some of which could be better handled at the state levels. To address this anomaly, informed citizens have advocated for devolution of powers to the states. If, at this point in time, the House of representatives is taking concrete steps to address the lingering challenges of development posed by our constitutional inconsistencies – in response to popular demands, they should be commended, and not harassed. The House of Representatives should be encouraged to carry out a comprehensive review that can make the constitution inclusive, while opening doors of opportunities for citizens to pursue their lawful dreams without unnecessary legal impediments.
We are therefore using this medium to call on the National Assembly to reduce the items on the exclusive list to defence, external affairs and economy.The other items should be in the concurrent and residual lists.This is the way to go if we want to realize the full potentials of the citizens, and also maximize the potentials of the federating states.
The world is looking up to Nigeria to get her acts together, and it is our considered opinion that the House of Representatives are in the right track.They therefore deserves the support of all citizens, and not distraction in order to accomplish this all all important task – for the good of present and future generations of Nigerians.