The Nigerian Workers under the umbrella of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have warned that issues of salary, pension as well as credibility of candidates will determine which candidates they and their families will vote for in 2019 elections.
The NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, who spoke on the position of the NLC ahead of the 2019 election, decried the inability of some state governors to pay workers their salaries.
He also noted that issue of gratuity was assuming a scary dimension, with many states owing gratuity running into billions of naira. He said, “What will guide workers is the credibility of candidates.
We know that, for sure, good people will make the difference. We call on all the political parties to show us their credentials of what they have for the working people and pensioners.
“Workers have interest, and our interest must be protected. When our political elite will make statements that they are not elected to pay salaries, I wonder then what they are elected to do. Salary is not bonus.
Pension is not bonus. Workers and pensioners have earned their wages and, therefore, when someone elected says he can’t pay salary, we will demand that our members vote him out. “The issue of workers and pensioners participating in politics is something that we have encouraged because workers can no longer stay aloof thinking that things will change “Our perspective is that, looking at all the party structures, it is only individuals that can make the difference.
If you see the way people are defecting from one party to another, it means that our political parties have not imbibed the culture of having strong ideological clarity on certain issues. Therefore, we can say that all parties are the same” Adding his voice to the debate, Adetokunbo Mumuni, Executive Director, Social-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), said it is irresponsible for any government to owe salaries for up to five months and above.
He said, “It is not about being unable to pay salaries but to be able to live up to the obligation and agreement with your employees. This can best be described as misplacement of priority when government embarks on white elephant projects but can’t pay salary to its employees. “When government fails to live up to its responsibility by paying salaries to workers, they would be tempted to sell their votes.
Circumstances like this encourage votes buying and that can’t be ruled out in 2019.” Also speaking, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), executive director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) & head of Transparency International (Nigeria) Chairman, said that 2019 offers Nigerians the best opportunity to decide on who to lead them.
He said, “The 2019 election is an avenue for Nigerians to come out to vote out bad leaders. I don’t think there would be voter apathy; rather there would be mass turn-out of aggrieved electorate to vote out politicians who have failed to deliver on their promises. “Nigerians will come out to prevent those seeking re-election, there is no doubt about it. The 2019 election will provide them with another opportunity to elect better representatives and vote out those who have failed them.”