Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of Peoples Democatic Party, PDP, is prepared to cough up N3.3 billion minimum wage on a monthly basis to his 100,000 domestic servants.
In a report by the Sahara Reporters on Thursday, November 8, Mohammed El-Yakub, the Managing Director of Gotel Communications owned by Atiku, said the new minimum wage will take effect from November 2018.
Though there is no disparity between graduates, non-graduates and management staffers of Atiku’s conglomerate, political pundits believed that this might have been done to shame the All Progessives Congress, APC led Fedeal Government’s indecision to pay N30,000 new minimum wage to workers.
The Federal Government said on Wednesday, November 7, 2018, the N30,000 minimum wage proposal contained in the report of the tripartite committee set up by the Federal Government was still a recommendation and had not been approved.
Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, who spoke to newsmen after the weekly federal executive council meeting, said President Buhari would still study the report presented to him on Tuesday by the Chairman of the committee, Amal Pepple, before taking a decision on it.
When asked to clarify the position of government, Mohammed said the president will study the recommendation and get back to the Tripartite Committee.
“I think it was a recommendation. Mr. President will consider it and will make his views known in due course.”
When pressed further he replied: “I said a recommendation was submitted. Mr. President will get back to the committee after he has studied the recommendation.”
On whether the revenue sharing formula might be reviewed if the new minimum wage is approved to enable states to pay, he said:
“Once again, like I said, a recommendation has been made and in responding to the recommendation, all these views will be taken into consideration.”
This is even as Senator Shehu Sani (@ShehuSani) tweeted “In view of the conflicting signals coming from the FG over its commitment to NLC’s demand for new minimum wage,its important & urgent that the union demand for written and unambiguous position,so that the union is not left in the Disneyland of phantom hopes,or ‘fall mugu.’
Reacting to the comment of Mohammed’s comment, Musa Lawal, General Secretary of Trade Union Congress (TUC), said the Organised Labour decided to shelve its planned strike because the government had expressed the willingness to accept the report of the tripartite committee.
Lawal said, “They can say anything they want to say. Why were they panicky before? Why did they agree to the N30,000? They can call it a mere recommendation or whatever they want to call it but the important thing is that at the end of the day, if we do not get the N30,000, they know what we will do.”
But on Thursday, Femi Adesina, spokesman to President Buhari, stoked another fire, saying that his principal didn’t endorse any figure as the new minimum wage.
Adesina said the president, while acknowledging the concerns raised over the proposed increase, made himself clear on how things should follow due process.
“Throughout the report-submission ceremony, the President never mentioned any figure. What he committed himself to was a new minimum wage, and only after the report of the committee has been reviewed by the executive and legislative processes of government and an appropriate bill presented to him for assent,” he said.
“Until the proposed minimum wage has gone through the whole gamut of law-making, President Buhari, who is a stickler for due process, will not be caught in this unnecessary web of controversy, which amounts to putting the cart before the horse and hair-splitting.”
“As for those who have latched onto the concocted controversy to play cheap politics, we appeal to them to remember that elections are not won through loquaciousness, and trying to demean the President at every drop of a hat. But then, it is not surprising, as they have nothing else to sell to Nigerians, if they don’t ride on the name of the President. Stiff judgment awaits them at the polls,” he said.