" ITREALMS: FG & NLC Struggles: Dalung, APC chieftain, others join Legit.ng discourse - ITREALMS

Friday, July 05, 2024

FG & NLC Struggles: Dalung, APC chieftain, others join Legit.ng discourse - ITREALMS

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The approach by the Federal Government on the ongoing struggles by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) was top on the agenda at the discourse hosted virtually by the Legit.ng, Nigeria's leading digital media and news platform, reports 
FG & NLC Struggles: Dalung, APC chieftain, others join Legit.ng discourse - ITREALMS
The discourse, entitled "FG & Labour Struggles: Catalyst for Other Governance Demands" took place on Legit.ng's X Space, penultimate Saturday, with focus on the federal government and the labor congress struggles, and the consequences of this on other potential demands from the citizens.

The discussants, 
ITREALMS gathered, included the former Minister of Youth and Sports, and Anti-Injustice Crusader, Mr Solomon Dalung; APC Chieftain and Director-General of the Conference of APC Support Groups, Hon. Obidike Chukwuebuka; activist and National Coordinator, Education Rights Campaign (ERC), Hassan Taiwo Soweto; Copy Editor, Legit.ng, James Ojo Adakole and moderated by the Editor, Human Interest and Diaspora desk, Legit.ng, Mr. Victor Duru.

While setting the stage for the conversation, former Minister Dalung remarked that the issue has dominated the history of struggles in Nigeria.

“The Labour struggle is not new and isn’t rare. The issue of minimum wage is supported by the Minimum Wage Act which also provides for periodic review to bring it to conformity with the economic situation; thus the Labour Congress is well within its right to demand an upward review of its wages. The management of the issue of the minimum wage has continued to be a persistent and recurring decimal.”

Mr Dalung who thinks the current struggles were triggered and aggravated by other underlying issues and policies also said that the government is guilty of its inability to live by its body language, “The government is asking Nigerians to sacrifice for a promising future but live a lavish lifestyle. They spend ridiculously which shows that their current body language doesn’t reflect their request for a sacrifice. This is why the ongoing struggle is fueled by the lifestyle of the government and their comedic approach to solving actual governance matters, case in point, the re-introduction of the old national anthem at such a sensitive period.”

Picking up from where the ex. Minister completed his statement, APC Chieftain and Director-General of the Conference of APC Support Groups; Hon. Obidike Chukwuebuka, made a case on striking a balance between workers' demand and fiscal responsibility.

“As an APC Chieftain, I acknowledge the ongoing debate surrounding the minimum wage; but the most important thing is that our party recognizes the need for a fair and reasonable minimum wage that aligns with the country’s economic realities. This is why we also support a reasonable increase in the minimum wage considering the current economic challenges.”

He, however, added that there must be a system in place for a sustainable and realistic approach that ensures that the government can afford to pay the new minimum wage without compromising economic development through job creation.

“My advice is for the President to engage in a dialogue with the Governors and other stakeholders to find common ground, review the economic realities and explore revenue-boosting measures that can support this new request. They should also consider phased implementation and alternative solutions like tax relief and social government programmes, including the prioritization of workers welfare, as they work towards economic stability.”

The APC Chieftain also asked Nigerians to consider the consequences of an increase in the private sector. Giving an example of schools that will end up paying an increased wage and by doing so, increase tuition fees which would become almost impossible to pay by low means parents.

He completed his statement by imploring the NLC to work together with the government to decide on a fair and sustainable minimum wage that aligns with the economic realities.

Speaking on behalf of the media, with an answer to the Moderator’s question on the role of the media in holding the government accountable for addressing Labour grievances, James Ojo-Adakole, Copy Editor, of Legit.ng said:

“The media has always been at the forefront of major government struggles. When you look at major historical events like the struggle for independence, the military regime, and more, we have always seen the media’s role in holding responsible parties available. This isn’t different in the current struggles.”

James said that the media can do better by continuously spotlighting the excesses of the government while the struggles go on. He highlighted examples of the government's ridiculous spending in the past months and how this doesn’t align with their claims for not being able to pay the minimum wage. He also said that the media needs to be more critical in their coverage, going beyond press releases, to practicing more investigative journalism that helps the public make better decisions on whom they support - the government or the NLC.

Rahaman Abiola, Legit.ng's Editor-in-Chief who joined the conversation, emphasized the importance of the Labour congress and the role of the media in ensuring that the public understands the agitation and the government’s efforts to address such critical issues. He said:

“Dialogues like these are crucial for holding the government accountable and ensuring stability for the nation. At Legit.ng, we are committed to leading the way in news by raising awareness about issues that plague the people and the nation.”

He thanked the speakers for joining the conversation and implored the audience to embrace public dialogues for a better Nigeria.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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