The presidential candidates of African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, and Young Progressives Party (YPP), Kingsley Moghalu, on Friday morning attacked each other over plans for the national minimum wage for Nigerian workers.
Currently, Nigeria’s minimum wage is N18,000. The government and organised labour are discussing the possibility of increasing it. Already, the government has proposed N24, 000 as the new base salary.
The unresolved dialogue had led to 72 hours warning strike across 36 states of the country, including the federal capital, Abuja.
However, AAC’s presidential candidate, Sowore had earlier stated that workers would be paid N100,000 if elected president after next year’s general elections.
Moghalu was yet to announce his planned minimum wage for civil servant if he emerges Nigeria’s president in 2019.
With their ambitions of becoming Nigeria’s number one citizen after the presidential election, they both appeared on a breakfast programme of Television Continental (TVC) with focus on the unresolved issue of minimum wage.
When asked about what the minimum wage should be, Moghalu who is former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria berated the worker’s current take-home pay and described it as nonsense.
“The minimum wage is not something to take a populist approach to; we should improve the minimum wage. A minimum wage of N18,000 is absolute nonsense. The Nigerian workers are getting ripped off.” Moghalu said.
“As to whether we will pay them N100,000, I will subject that to proper study so that my decision is informed and sustainable. I will not give a figure yet because we need to research,” Mogbalu said.
However, Sowore, publisher of online news platform, Sahara Reporters, criticised Moghalu’s inability to have predetermined minimum in mind.
“If he hasn’t researched by now what the minimum wage should be, it shows that Kingsley is not prepared to rule Nigeria. We have done our research; it is out there on the internet.”
“I like Kingsley, but I’m surprised that Kingsley at this time does not understand what he needs to pay workers,” Sowore said.
Moghalu, in a swift response, said, “I understand economics and how to fight poverty without creating problems of inflation. We should not make a populist approach to it. And whether to pay them N100,000? I will refer that to research so that we can make an informed decision.”
“That’ll be my approach and not just to make promises that are not backed up with proper research and that is what creates the problem in the economy.”
Sowore responded to Moghalu, saying he was unfit for the office, “the same way president Buhari was not prepared before becoming president.”