Ebonyi State APC guber candidate for 2019 election, Senator Sonni Ogbuoji has said that the N30,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers as agreed to in the labour unions and governments discussions is vacceptable to him.
He also promised that when he comes into power next year, he won’t hesitate to pay the minimum wage for two major reasons.
Ogbuoji said this when he granted the Radio Nigeria, Unity FM, Abakaliki an interview during the week.
“The number one reason why I will pay that minimum wage is because I know Ebonyi’s resources are enough to give the workers a fairer deal. Whereas we all know that Ebonyi is not one of the major earners of the monthly allocation, I also know that what determines how the allocation of revenue of a state is utilized for good cause is the resolve to be prudent. With prudence that would be my watch word, I am sure that Ebonyi workers will get more and the state would still have resources to run.
“I am not new to governance and I know that what makes states, the federal government or the LGAs find it difficult to pick their bills is leakages. If only the leakages are plugged, then we have a different story to tell. I want Ebonyians to know that I have headed an executive arm of the government as local government chairman of Afikpo and later Afikpo South. With the resources that have never been enough at any time, I still paid undergraduates of Afikpo South (Edda) bursary award, built the council head office, floated the Edda Mass Transit and did so many other things. So it is about prudence and I will make that possible.”
Further in his explanations, he said even the states that earn mega allocations still don’t have enough to pick all their bills and that boils down to the prudence factor. ‘If other states would pay, Ebonyi won’t renege, Ebonyi won’t be the laughing stock as poorest among the states.
‘I totally disagree with the position of Governor Dave Umahi that paying the workers better would escalate inflation. That is negative economics because in Ebonyi where workers almost starve, the inflation curve hasn’t dropped. There is no economic logic that supports that inflation takes a positive turn when people have no money in their pockets to pick their bills.
‘I am persuaded that the economy of Ebonyi is powered to a large extent by public service earning. That is why Umahi’s counter measures of shrinking the resources of the workers has made hardship a culture in the state since he came to power and we have to change that odd culture of impoverishment, that is like a deliberate policy to manacle, weaken and choke life out of our people and become so weak and pliable by Umahi. No, that’s bad and should be changed.’
Ogbuoji also recalled that before Umahi came to power, the governor had incited workers and promised them more pay than Governor Martin Elechi, but he did not only refuse to keep that promise, rather further slashed down what Elechi paid and our people went into suffering.
My government will pay workers adequate wage and enable them to have means of paying their children’s school fees and ensure the future of the state.’