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Minimum wage increase won’t guarantee better life, Oshiomhole tells NLC
Adams Oshiomhole, former Governor of Edo State, says minimum wage increase alone cannot guarantee better life to Nigerian workers if several other sectors of the economy remain in a bad state.
This was contained in his message to the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) as it marks its 40th anniversary.
Oshiomhole advised that the union must do more than carry placards in protest of government policies, which they term unfavourable to the masses. He urged them to take active part and run for elective positions.
“A system can only continue to flourish only to the extent that those who are negatively affected by that system chose to console it,” Oshimohole stated.
“Your wages will not transform to a decent life if the health sector is hopeless, lecturers spend more time on strike than in the classroom, and education is privatized and the ladder for upward mobility is destroyed.
“What really determines the overall quality of life of citizens is about all the other facilities available beyond the world of works.
“So, government and governance is a basic act that decides who earns what and gets what. Placards can moderate and force them to go back and re-strategise, but placards will not change their value system, rather they will go back and strategies on how best to continue to dominate and use the instrument of state to enrich the rich.”
Oshiomhole further state that “politicians simply lack the capacity to engage the people”, adding that “the position they take or the policy choices they make are … conscious decisions taken in order to ensure that a particular class gets more.”
The solution, according to Oshiomhole, is for Nigerian workers to be convinced enough to get involved in the process.
“The day men and women rise in unison to challenge an oppressive order that will be the beginning of the end of that order,” he stated.
“I also know that there will be no day when (all) men and women who are oppressed will agree to fight against oppression. If it is one man that believes that there should be a fight, let him stand up and be counted because as he moves on, somebody else might join and over time, a movement is formed.
“I say to people that if a factory worker who had worked in the most subordinated position could be a governor, those of you who have better background could be president of this country.”