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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Workers’ rights under civil rule

Workers’ rights under civil rule

By Ayodele Fagbohun
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The rights of the working people as the sole creators of the nation’s wealth and the largest social force in a given society may be compromised or trampled with dire consequence for the powers that be.

Thanks the providence, for the life of the present Mohammadu Buhari led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration for signing into law the much awaited nation Minimum Wage (Amendment) Bill, N30,000 new minimum monthly wage.

Characteristic of Mr President, he heeded the pleas and said emphatically and unambiguously that “the implementation of the bill into law is with immediate effect and it is for all workers across the federation with exception of organisations with less than 25 workers.

“It also gives the workers the rights, if you are compelled by any circumstance to accept salary that is less than N30,000 to sue your employer to recover the balance and it authorizes the Minister of Labour and any person nominated by the Minister of Labor or any person designated by the Minister of Labour in any ministry, department or agency to on your behalf take action in your name against such employer to recover the balance of your wages.”

According to the president through his Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly, Senator Ita Enang, “the Act ensures and mandates National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission and the Minister of Labour to be the Chief and Principal enforcers of the provisions of this law. And this law applies to all agencies, persons and bodies throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

By assenting to the critical bill, it is a master stroke calming the frayed nerves of the highly traumatized and aggrieved workers sprawling for a judicious fight to secure their full rights to ameliorate their lots in the scheme of things, for a just and equitable distribution of the national cake from which they have felt to be at the receiving end.

Since the initial success that trailed the 1919 October Bolshevik Socialist revolution in Russia, well packaged with unique and formidable unity of purpose extant amongst the allied forces working concertedly and spiritedly to overthrow the oppressive and tyrannically stagnated regime of the decadent ruling czars, the struggle for better conditions of service and living wage for the working class, the world over, and the liberation from the  exploitation of  the nouveau riches ruling elite, has assumed the fiercest and wildest proportions.

We are told Lenin’s party popularly tagged as “workers” party made considerable efforts to rally the vast mass of the peasantry behind the work force which, in the final analysis resulted into stupendous victory for the proletariat.

The historic milestone recorded in the fierce and epic struggle of the workers to have a place in the sun should be the guiding and underlying principle to work out an invincible coalition force that will entrench purposeful and ideological oriented government favourably disposed to the welfare of the entire work force in Nigeria.

Against this scenario, whilst commending the president Buhari led APC regime for  the passion, milk of kindness, the duty of care and responsibility for the lots of workers in the last four years. The nation is however taken aback and overwhelmed at the plight of workers.

Certain categories of workers are obviously and grossly underpaid and shortchanged inspite of long hours of work alongside the hazards; lack of remuneration and fringe benefits commensurate with exactions and job schedules.

Indeed, the whole work force across the country is largely depleted as the economy is static, stagnated at its lowest ebb and at the mercy of the baneful and rapacious economic activities of indolent government.  Government that is not committed into rescuing our army o f able bodied and qualified graduates roaming the streets in search of white collar job.

What is worse, the nation is assailed with violent mental indolence and ideological sterility of leadership of various political parties which glaringly expose, at a glance, how wide  off the mark the ideologues have distanced themselves from what  they preach even on the rooftops. The leadership of the parties that loudly profess a new social order have practically not done their homework well but are only mere ardent utopians who lack spiritual and moral depth to decode the encoded modus operandi that can facilitate good governance.

The Nigerian workers have for long been persistently oppressed, marginalized, hoodwinked and shamelessly deceived and given the humble pie by every government of the day.

One prominent inference that could be drawn from the foregoing is this. If the political parties so formed at the eve of the elections  must justify  their mandate and the huge financial investment of government to fund these political parties as organs of democracy, they should sink petty difference, be less hysterical and unite as formidable national coalition forces to fully emancipate the country nay the nation’s work force from the iron grip of neo-colonialism, fascism and the compradors scheming with all vengeance to rule Nigeria once again through the onslaught of a derelict  and failed octopus, the People’s Democratic party (PDP).

The People Democratic Party (PDP) for upward of almost two decades of absolute misrule and gangsterism has virtually decapitated the country and reduced her to a banana republic.

Thanks the providence again. There is a ray of hope as light from the dark tunnel, after darkness comes a glorious dawn. It is common place.

With the  re-election of President Buhari whose integrity and anti corruption record both in private and  public service strike terror into the warped minds of corrupt rulers, a reference point to catapult the  nation to the level of ethical revolution when the glory of Nigeria will rise again as in pre-independence era.

Let us briefly revisit the happening in the neighbouring Ghana and probably Kenya in contemporary politics which redounded in positive turn around in the economies and relative political development and relative stability as evident in the  small African countries.

Kenya, a long suffering nation eventually wriggled herself from the throes of seemingly unending misrule of KANU party. Kenya finally  breathed the air of  freedom from the libertine rule of KANU ruling party through the formation of coalition parties that won the presidential elections which installed Mr Kiabaki Kibaki, an old staunch member of KANU was utilized considerably to lead the coalition forces that finally wrestled political power for the freedom loving people of Kenya.

Ghana, the black star of Africa, a foremost African country, the bright star which relentlessly championed the cause of freedom in the African continent and the entire black race fell into total eclipse in the wake of military coup-de-tat that swept the progressive and revolutionary regime of Dr Kwame Nkrumah from power in February 24, 1966.

Ghana, like Nigeria an agonizing and miserable victim of long military dictatorship interspersed with phony civil rule was invariably sacked by the soldiers of fortune hankering after political power.

It is now delightful to remark that unlike Nigeria, Ghana has  now regained her lost glory and bounced back with a bans and with re-animated  vigour to take her rightful place in the comity of modern nations. This has come into being through national sacrifice, commitment dedication to national service, uncommon discipline to jettison brazen corruption, electoral violence, upholding the sanctity and inviolability of the ballot box, justice, transparency fairplay and the zest to uphold tenets of democracy, the rule of law and to sustain the polity.

Whilst shedding assumed political inclinations which may cast aspersion on the integrity and dent the image of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) into the odium and  disrepute in the eye of the public. It is strongly advised that the NLC, as the recognized voice of Nigeria workers must scrupulously eschew all vestiges of partisan politics to enable it serve as the true vanguard of workers right in a fast growing democracy.

As the work force is already depleted in quality and numbers as a fallout to the naked self-serving, greed and unelightened politicies of government over the years,  the NLC should fight for youth employment in the public service, to fill the existing vacancies.

The NLC must work in harmony with government to provide job opportunities, training and re-training of staff and to create an enabling environment for private sector to thrive.

This paper canvasses for unity of purpose between the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and other affiliates like Trade Union Congress (TUC) by urging government to listen to the shriveled voices of retired public servants whom government still owes pensions and gratuities. The Buhari-led APC administration deserve eulogies and encomiums to have specifically released some huge grants as bailout, a novelty in the annals of history to assist the insolvent state governments which must be fully and judiciously utilized for the purpose meant to serve.

The Hope Owena Press
The Hope Owena Presshttp://www.thehopenewspaper.com
Owena Press Limited (Publisher of The Hope Newspaper), Akure

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