Restructuring of Nigeria cannot be a substitute for good governance and respect for the rule of law, Mr Ayuba Wabba, President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has said.
Wabba made the statement on Monday in Abuja at a symposium with the theme: “Making Nigeria Work for the people organised by the NLC to mark Nigeria’s 57th Independence Day.
He said that one of the problems facing Nigeria was the absence of good governance.
“This crisis of good governance is exemplified by the massive corruption in our body politics.
“This in turn is responsible for the huge unemployment crisis, poor service delivery and continuous absence of dividends of democracy for majority of our people.
“The latest manifestation of this is the refusal by a number of states government to fulfill their elementary obligations to their workers by not paying salaries and pensions as at when due.
“So, for us in the congress, we look at restructuring as that which cannot be a substitute for good governance and respect for the rule of law,’’ he said.
Wabba explained that as long as the political and bureaucratic elites continue to misappropriate and divert resources meant for development, the nation would not overcome its developmental challenges.
The labour leader called on the Federal Government to reconstitute the National Minimum Wage Negotiating Council to negotiate a new minimum wage for workers.
He warned that workers were running out of patience over the delay to reconstitute the Minimum Wage Negotiating Council.
“The 2011 collective agreement entered into with the government at the last negotiations, provided for five years cycle for reopening negotiations, which is overdue.
“Secondly, all economic indexes such as inflationary rate, cost of living, exchange rate, high cost of goods and services, among others, have shown that the current minimum wage of N18, 000 is obsolete.
“There is an urgent need for the government to give the go ahead for these negotiations to start as workers are running out of patience,’’ he said.
Wabba urged the Federal Government to refocus its developmental programmes and planning to address the pressing needs of the vast majority of Nigerians.
He also stressed the need for the government to address the issue of provision of employment for the teeming unemployed youths.
In his contribution, Mr Jaiye Gaskiya, the convener, `Say No Campaign,’ stressed the need for the federal government to properly manage the issue of restructuring, “or else it might end up “creating food for the boys’’.
“We need to be careful or else it will breed more crises in the country, ‘’he warned.
On Nigeria at 57, Gaskiya said the business of having a better Nigeria does not rest on the shoulders of the leaders alone.
“The citizens also have a role to play in nation building.
“The citizens must not stand aloof and behave as if they have no business in nation building,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Mr Victor Ekpo, NLC National Youth Committee Chairperson, called for a better Nigeria where all the citizens are given equal rights irrespective of their state, religion or economic class.
He expressed dismay that about 70 per cent of Nigeria’s youth population of not less than 64 million youths are unemployed.
He stressed the need for governments at all levels to institute good governance structure that would create decent jobs, security, that would discourage migration of the youths.
Ekpo also harped on the need for stability in the political system where youths are carried along.
“Our politicians should stop embezzling our future, ‘’he said. (NAN)