FREEPRESS – A coalition of 400 civil rights organisations under the aegis of Transition Monitoring Group has expressed concern over the irregular payment of salaries by state governments, describing it as “a recipe to vote-buying and threat to free and fair elections in 2019.”
While advising Nigerian workers to use the N30,000 national minimum wage as a bargaining tool for the 2019 general elections, it said any public servant who could not pay workers should have no business in governance.
The chairman of TMG, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, stated this in an interview with our correspondent, on Friday in Abuja, during the opening ceremony of a two-day dialogue session on citizens’ charter of demands.
According to her, independent findings by TMG across the 36 states have revealed that the welfare of Nigerian workers, poor health and education were common denominators affecting the average worker.
The programme was also aimed at setting agenda for political parties and candidates standing for election in 2019.
She said, “The dialogue is part of the meeting we are having from zone to zone to get the views of Nigerians on what they expect from people who are contesting the 2019 general elections. We are developing the citizens’ charter for the 36 states in Nigeria and we are having the seven states in the North West together in Abuja.
“One of the issues we realised among the states visited by TMG is that in all of the states, they are a critical mass and any candidate who wants a free and fair election should contend with the workers. So, we feel that any public servant who cannot pay workers should have no business in governance.
“That is the truth of the matter because the reason why general hospitals are dying and education is collapsing is that workers are not being adequately supported by the government. What is N18,000 minimum wage? How can workers be collecting less than $50 for one month and most of these people have average of four children. It will be irresponsible for any government not to prioritise the welfare of workers.”