• ‘Look beyond Labour in addressing citizens’ welfare’

    look beyond labour in addressing citizens welfare - nigeria newspapers online
    • 3Minutes – Read
    • 549Words (Approximately)

    Presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the 2023 General Elections, Adewole Adebayo, has advised the Federal Government to focus on the social investment elements of the 1999 Constitution and make life better for the citizenry. 
    Speaking with journalists in Lagos, Adebayo noted that the country had organised its politics and government around sharing money, hence the endless agitation for the betterment of workers’ welfare without necessarily looking at how to fix the economy for the benefit of all Nigerians.
    According to him, the N615,000 being demanded by Labour as the national minimum wage would not sound the same way it sounds today in the next four years and, therefore, would not take the country anywhere.  
    “Whether you pay salary, pay allowance, pay grants, like we did during the Udoji Award, give loans and all that, what is that loan chasing? Remember during the Udoji Award, everybody ran to UTC to buy bicycles once they got it, the price of bicycles skyrocketed.

    “Meanwhile, in China, if you join the civil service, they will not give you any Udoji Award; they will give you a bicycle because the bicycle comes with the job. If you were in the colonial government and you were an assistant district officer, school officer, health officer or forest ranger, all these things are tools. When you are getting the job, they will direct you to the staff quarters and the school your child should go to,” he added. 
    Noting that the country should organise its politics around this philosophy, Adebayo noted that if the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration wants to place the welfare of Nigerians on a sustainable path, it must first stop worrying about who is a worker or who is not. 
    He added: “They have to first look at Chapter 2 of the Constitution and say if by virtue of this Constitution I have been given a mandate to come and govern Nigeria, what are the promises inside the Constitution? What is the minimum that Nigeria should do? Do we have the resources to put them there? By that, you now know that you need new hospital beds and new roads. 

    “During the Second Republic, all the governors understood these social investment elements and that is why all the state governments had their own school boards, scholarship boards and water boards such that water got to houses even in rural areas. What we are doing now is monetary government, where we share money.
    “The way our Constitution is crafted, it is not related to your job. It is related to your being a citizen. While I was growing up, I schooled in Lagos and Ondo states during the Jakande and Ajasin era. I was too young to be employed by anybody. I was about five years old in primary school, and as such, I was not employable, but the government was interested in knowing whether I had eaten or not before we started class.

    “When we got to school, the first thing they would give us was bread, beans and milk. When they were chasing you around in primary school to give you that inoculation, it wasn’t that you were going to be employed by them, it was required that the government made sure you were not blind or crippled,” he said.

    See More Stories Like This