Kogi, Bayelsa polls: NGF cautions against violence
AHEAD of Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa and the supplementary election in Kogi State, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has appealed to the people of the affected to shun any form of violence and come out to elect the person of their choices.
It is in doing so the Forum believes the country could convince the outside world Nigerians have clearly embraced democracy.
Speaking to State House correspondents yestyerday after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chairman of the NGF, and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari also re-echoed the governors’ position on the controversial N18,000 minimum wage
My advise to the general public is that we can now start calling ourselves advanced country when it comes to democracy in Africa.
As big, as large as Nigeria, we can demonstrate the voter rights to choose what you want and public now are the ones that will install the leadership by themselves as I as well as the President.
Therefore, people should turn out en masse and vote to do their own constitutional or legitimate rights to choose their leadership.
As the President keeps saying that he wants to bequeath the legacy of a good election because he was one of the beneficiaries of a good election. So, it is no longer going to be business as usual where the security will be the people to do the election but rather to safeguard the interest of the public.
Therefore, the people of Bayelsa and Kogi states should turn out en masse and choose their leadership because that is what we are benefitting from who are here.”
On minimum wage, he made it clear that the forum was not an enemy of organized labour, but had been partnering with them in furtherance of the workers’ interests
According to him, “Let me make it very clear to Nigerians, Governor’s Forum is not the enemy of labour in any way. Rather, we have been working together.
Though he denied reports linking the governors as planning to stop the N18,000 minimum wage, he still insisted that the current economic situation does not merit sticking to the arrangement.
His words, “Although in the decision we never said that we are going to stop the payment of N18,000 minimum wage but we are looking at the situation in the country and in the global economy.
“What we said is that when the National Assembly enacted the law of paying N18,000 minimum wage, oil was sold for about $118 per barrel and today where we are oil is $41 per barrel.
“So, if it continues like that definitely we will find it difficult to continue. We have to sit down with the labour and see how we can review, either continue to pay or downsize or whatever we are going to take.
“We want to find a solution because we have to be realistic that we have so many things to touch. There I infrastructure deficit, there is need for security, there are other things like social lives of our people and nation as a state.”
He added, “The receipt from federation account, some people received N400 million, N500 million. Some others received N55 million, two digits. And there are other issues, not even the salary their pension is over a billion. So how can we continue borrowing and servicing the service aspect of our expenditure, or overhead.
“We are telling the public that we are planning to sit down with the President and his team and the state governors as a team and the experts to come out with the way forward and how we are going to handle the poor state of the economy in the country.
But what we have on ground now will not be realistic if it continues the way it is without having other sources from the economy and still relying on oil that is being sold for $118 dollar per barrel and now down to $41 and think that we can continue behaving or misbehaving the way we are doing, if there is anything like that.
“Therefore we are saying that we should tighten our belts. Something definitely, we should sit down and come out of it to find a way we are going to do it realistically or otherwise.”