The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has expressed solidarity with workers over the insufficiency of the N30,000 national minimum wage.
Atiku, in a statement Monday to felicitate Nigerian workers on the occasion of the International Workers Day, asked them not to despair but be hopeful.
He advised workers to see the 2023 Worker’s Day as a moment for “sober reflection and stock-taking given the myriad of socio-economic tribulations facing them in the last eight years”.
According to the former vice-president, the lives and welfare of workers and their families have been reduced to the “abyss of mere existence due to the litany of policy errors by the ruling APC government which created insecurity in all facets of workers’ lives — food, shelter, health, wealth and education.”
He argued that the economic conditions are such that workers in Nigeria today, with the minimum wage of N30,000, cannot buy a full bag of rice, let alone clothes, nor pay for their “many” utility bills.
“Hyperinflation in all sectors of our nation has constituted serious socio-economic strangulation to the average Nigerian worker, who’s now poorer than in 2015 when APC came to power,” Atiku said.
“It is unimaginable how a government could be so heartless to treat its bonafide citizens like medieval slaves in colonial plantations. Where are the so-called ‘dividends of democracy’?
“Labourers do deserve commensurate wages that meet pervading economic conditions of the time. Alas, Nigerian workers now receive wages that can no longer take them home or bring them back to the office.”
The ex-Vice President urged the workers, despite the “precarious situation”, not to despair or be cowed, but keep their heads above water and stay afloat, be resilient and hopeful for the sake of the younger generation and the country’s future.