I T is alright for President Muhammadu Buhari to restate his commitment to his anti-corruption campaign with clinical determination, but I would argue he should focus on state governments that fail to pay workers’ salaries. Failure to pay workers’ salaries is sufficient evidence that money meant for that purpose has been diverted by corrupt officials.
President Buhari must look state governors in the eyes and ask them a simple question: What do you do with the money you receive from the Federal Government?
The president has said that the failure of 27 of the 36 states in the country to pay workers’ salaries regularly should be condemned. I don’t believe condemnation alone would solve the problem. Our president must go beyond mere condemnation to find ways to compel state governors to pay workers.
It is a moral obligation the nation owes all workers. Of course, I am fully aware that in our society, moral principles have been tossed to the refuse bin because our political leaders are insensitive and uncaring to our plight. They are also selfish because their own interests come first before anyone else’s.
Rather than serve the people who elected them, state governors expect the people to serve them. Once state governors have taken care of their own welfare and the wellbeing of their immediate relatives, the rest of the citizens can burn to hell because workers are seen as simpletons, who don’t count and do not matter.
In our political leaders’ twisted manner of thinking, there are more important things that should engage the attention of governors. Workers’ salaries, welfare and happiness are not on the priority list.
It is this careless mindset that has been extended to the payment of retirees’ pension. People who worked for many years for their fatherland are denied their well-deserved pension, while other officials, the leeches in official government robes, feed off retired workers’ benefits. This is injustice of the worst kind.
We often assume incorrectly that people who hold high offices are emblems of responsibility and transparency in our society. Nothing can be farther from the truth. If state governors could take home their salaries regularly and on time, so too should workers receive their salaries. What is good for governors is also good for ordinary workers, who are struggling to put food on their tables. Ironically, some of these workers put in more efforts at work than what many of the state governors do.
I am particularly outraged that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has not seen reason to fight endlessly and vigorously to get state governors to honour the rights of workers to be paid their salaries at the end of every month.
It is not the responsibility of workers to worry about how state governors would find money to pay the minimum wage. All that workers want is prompt payment of their salaries, and I must state it again that workers deserve their wages.
Regardless of the arguments being made for the failure to pay workers’ salaries, state governors are obliged to pay workers their monthly salaries. There must be an end to this ongoing political absurdity over workers’ salaries.
- Balogun E. Funsho,
Kabba, Kogi State.