Distortions In The Minimum Wage Debate
By Salihu Moh. Lukman
The campaign for the retention of the minimum wage in the exclusive legislative list under the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended, is being handled by the leadership of organised labour, especially Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) based on deliberate distortions of facts. One of the claims is that moving the minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list in the 1999 Nigerian constitution will contravene the provision of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention, to which Nigeria is a signatory.
While it is true that the ILO Convention No. 30 of 1928 Minimum Wage-Fixing Machinery Recommendation provides the guiding principles for the determination of minimum wages in all countries, no where was it stipulated that the process should be the exclusive preserve of federal authorities. Anyone interested can confirm the details https://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO::P12100_ILO_CODE:R030.
If anything, the convention allows for the flexibility for each country to apply the guiding principles to its circumstances through consultative processes that take into consideration all the interests in the country’s labour market. The guiding principle is ‘to ensure that each member ratifying the convention is in possession of the information necessary for a decision upon the application of minimum wage-fixing machinery, the wages actually paid and the arrangements, if any, for the regulation of wages should be ascertained in respect of any trade or part of trade to which employers or workers therein request the application of the machinery and furnish information which shows prima facie that no arrangements exist for the effective regulation of wages and that wages are exceptionally low.’
Nowhere in the convention is it provided that minimum wage-fixing is the exclusive responsibility of federal authorities. There is the requirement for a structure to manage the responsibility of fixing minimum wages. This is to ensure that ‘minimum wage-fixing machinery, whatever form it may take (for instance, trade boards for individual trades, general boards for groups of trades, compulsory arbitration tribunals), should operate by way of investigation into the relevant conditions in the trade or part of trade concerned and consultation with the interests primarily and principally affected, that is to say, the employers and workers in the trade or part of trade, whose views on all matters relating to the fixing of the minimum rates of wages should in any case be solicited and be given full and equal consideration.’
The structure should have representation from government, labour and employers. Note that governments are expected to participate both as employers as well as sovereign authorities having the responsibility to promulgate laws, which should be respected, based on agreements reached. In fact, the role of governments as sovereign authorities, which also cover the obligation of enforcing the laws are more critical. It is expected that government’s role as employer of labour should be secondary and in the event that role of government is influenced more by its responsibility as employer of labour will weaken the process of minimum wage fixing as provided in ILO Convention No. 30 of 1928.
Globally, in compliance with the provisions of the ILO Convention No. 30, two approaches are adopted by ILO member countries in fixing minimum wages. There is the committee method and there is the notification method. The committee method involves government setting up a committee to undertake enquiries and make recommendations for fixing minimum wage. The notification method is based on government publishing proposals in official gazettes to inform affected persons. Before publishing the proposal, the government is expected to make consultations. The difference between the two is largely theoretical. Often, the scope and orientation of collective bargaining structures in ILO member countries dictate the approach adopted.
Perhaps, it is also very important to highlight that all the experiences of ILO member countries across the world in handling challenges of minimum wage-fixing emphasises the presence of some preliminary technical functions to arrive at consensus. Part of the technical work is largely around the process of estimating or computing specific economic variables of productivity, cost of living and affordability. Once those variables are established and agreed by all the different interests, it is then easy to fix the minimum threshold for wages, which then become the minimum wage.
Experiences of all ILO member countries will further confirm that fixing minimum wages is never the exclusive preserve of federal authorities. Since our model of democracy is that of the United States of America, it should perhaps be the first reference. In the US, the minimum wage is set by the US Labour Law and a range of state and local laws. As at January 2020, there were 29 states and D.C. with a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum. Almost 90% of US minimum wage workers are earning more than $7.25 per hour, which is the minimum wage at the federal level in the US.
The federal, states and counties make laws for the minimum wage. The minimum wage for each level is negotiated. Different states are able to set their own minimum wages independent of the federal government. When the state and federal minimum wages differ the higher wage prevails. As at January 2018, there were 29 states with a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage. Washington, D.C, and New York City have the highest minimum wage at $15.00 per hour. By January 1, 2021, California has the highest state minimum wage at $14.00 per hour, which will be raised to $15 per hour starting January 1, 2022. The minimum wage in New Jersey is $12.00 an hour as of January 1, 2021, but will be raised by a dollar a year until 2024 when it will be $15. Massachusetts minimum wage is $13.50 per hour. A number of states have also in recent years enacted state preemption laws, which exclude local governments from setting their own minimum wage. As at 2017, state preemption laws for local minimum wages have been passed in 25 states.
Legislation has been passed recently in multiple states that significantly raises the minimum wage. California, Illinois, and Massachusetts are all set to raise their minimum wages to $15.00 per hour by January 1, 2023, for California and Massachusetts and by 2025 for Illinois. Colorado raised its minimum wage from $9.30 per hour to $12 per hour by January 1, 2020. New York has also passed legislation to increase its minimum wage to $15.00 per hour over time, with certain counties and larger companies set on faster schedules than others. Some smaller government entities, such as counties and cities, observe minimum wages that are higher than the state as a whole.
The National Minimum Wage in the United Kingdom is set depending on your age, and whether or not you are an apprentice. It has been in place since 2005, and several changes to the way it operates have been made over time. At present, the minimum wage applies to any worker aged 16 or over. However, there are some exceptions, such as people who are working in their employers home, or who are undertaking voluntary work. In these cases, the National Minimum Wage might not apply. For eligible workers aged 25 and over, the minimum wage is known as a National Living Wage. It is expressed as an hourly gross payment, and reviewed every April. For the period April 2017 to March 2018, the National Living Wage paid to employees aged 25 or over, was £7.50 per hour. The National Minimum Wage is set by the UK government. It is reviewed every year, and usually, most categories get an annual increase.
However, as the system is quite complicated and based on a number of different age bands, there have been years when employees of certain ages don’t get their minimum pay increased.
Some other countries negotiate with trade unions and employers, and agree on what should be the minimum wages. This means that there could be different minimum wages depending on the sector. Belgium, Norway and Sweden work in this way. Other countries have a different way of managing minimum wages. Singapore has minimum wages set by the government, but only across some low income sectors. These minimum wages are applicable to Singapore nationals and permanent residents only – although employers are encouraged to extend them to other workers as a minimum, too. And yet other countries don’t have any minimum wage at all, preferring to leave employers and employees to negotiate on an individual basis.
Coming closer home, in South Africa and Ghana, the minimum wage is determined through negotiations between unions, employers and government. The National Minimum Wage (NMW) in South Africa was increased to R21.69 per hour from March 1, 2021. The 93c increment was announced by Employment and Labour Minister, which is in line with the NMW legislation of January 1, 2019. It is illegal and an unfair labour practice for an employer to unilaterally alter hours of work or other conditions of employment in implementing the NMW. In Ghana, government-mandated minimum wage provides that no worker in Ghana should be paid less then the mandatory minimum rate. Employers in Ghana who fail to pay the minimum wage may be subject to punishment by the government of Ghana. Weekly rates per month are calculated 4.33 times the standard hours per week.
What all these means is that the process of minimum wage-fixing across the world varies in almost every ILO member country. As much as every federal authority plays an important role in facilitating the process of fixing the minimum wage, it is never their exclusive legislative jurisdiction. How, as a nation, Nigeria arrived at the constitutional provision of assigning minimum wage under the exclusive legislative list is completely not based on the guiding principles provided under ILO Convention 30 of 1928.
It is however necessary to recognise that there are legitimate fears expressed by organised labour in Nigeria on the potential that the process can be abused if our states are allowed to fix minimum wages through moving the minimum wage to the concurrent legislative list. What is required to address such a problem is to revive the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC), which normally has representation from labour, employers and government. It used to serve as the tripartite body in Nigeria for the resolution of major labour challenges. As things are, NLAC is hardly existing.
If we have NLAC, why can’t we have members agree to all the variables determining minimum wage in the country – productivity, conditions of living and affordability, based on which the national minimum is reviewed on an annual basis being the proposed benchmark for the country? The National Bureau of. Statistics (NBS), National Salaries, Wages and Income Commission and National Productivity Centre (NPC) can handle the task of providing information about the variables of productivity, cost of living and affordability. With objectively computed information, the process of achieving consensus that highlights the minimum threshold for wages can be handled very effectively. An agreement under the NLAC can serve as the federal minimum wage. Once an agreement is reached at the level of NLAC, a prototype minimum wage bill can be developed and sent to the National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by the vice president of the Federal Republic with governors of the 36 states as members. Following consideration and adoption by NEC, states can then domesticate provisions of the agreement as contained in the prototype bill based on their peculiar circumstance.
This model was used around 2005 for instance to resolve the challenge of amending our pension law. When the contributory pension law was passed by the National Assembly and assented to by President Olusegun Obasanjo, both unions, employers and state governments were opposed to the new pension law. But through consultations at the level of NLAC, both labour and employers agreed to a prototype pension bill, modelled on the provisions of the new Pension Act, which was presented to the NEC. Eventually, NEC adopted the prototype pension bill, which was transmitted to all the 36 states. The rest is now history as all states have domesticated the pension act based on their peculiarities.
Part of what needs to be resolved is the issue of whether states are allowed to adopt minimum wages below the agreed federal minimum wage established by NLAC as adopted or approved by NEC. Or what minimum wage should apply to workers employed by private organisations whose operation covers many states? First, no state should be allowed to have a minimum wage lower than the benchmark as provided in prototype bills adopted by NEC. Secondly, in the case of private employers operating in more than one state, the highest minimum wage should apply.
The current debate about whether states can make minimum wage laws is basically about correcting the distortion in terms of applying the principles of minimum wage fixing as provided in ILO Convention 30 of 1928. It is important we appeal to leadership of organised labour, especially NLC, to stop promoting false information.
The fourth distortion that needs to be corrected is that the proposal to transfer the minimum wage to the concurrent legislative list is to stop the payment of N30,000 minimum. Although, many state governments and private employers are having difficulty implementing the N30,000 minimum wage, we should separate the problems associated with implementing agreements from the bigger challenge of correcting wrong procedure used in fixing the minimum wage in the country. Problems of implementing agreements can be addressed with reference to invoking the provisions of Nigerian arbitration laws, which is what ILO Convention 30 of 1928 recommends. As a nation, we have an arbitration law. Why is the leadership of organised labour not taking advantage of provisions of our laws to enforce the implementation of the minimum wage law?
For emphasis, the challenge before us as a nation is about developing the capacity of our democracy to resolve national problems. It will amount to undermining our democracy to seek to block consideration of proposals before the National Assembly demanding the transfer of minimum wage to the concurrent legislative list of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended. It is quite disappointing that labour leaders are organising protests and threatening to declare a national strike because the National Assembly is considering a democratic proposal. Organised labour and NLC leadership in particular need to be reminded that before the bill can become law, it will have to pass democratic stages that can accommodate labour’s demands.
Specifically, the House of Representatives Committee on Labour will have to organise a public hearing which will invite the submission of organised labour. Even if the bill is passed by the House of Representatives after public hearing, it will require the concurrence of the Senate, with another public hearing necessary. Assuming it is passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, being a matter requiring Constitutional Amendment, it will have to go to State Assemblies and will need endorsement by at least 24 States House of Assemblies. Assuming the bill passed through all these stages, it will have to be assented to by the President of the Federal Republic.
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There is a wide scope of opening for engagement with the different layers of our democratic structures in the country to win the support of elected representatives to prevent the bill from coming into law. Instead of exploring how to engage democratic structures and prevent the bill from coming into law, the NLC leadership went to the over- drive mode of protest and threats of strike. Unfortunately, in all of these, it is doubtful if the NLC, its affiliates and all our organised labour bodies in the country are implementing the minimum wage of N30,000 for their employees. Ideally, he who comes to equity should come with clean hands. This is hardly the case. The boundary of accountability should cover organised labour.
Another related issue is that respect begets respect. Leaders of organised labour need to moderate how they easily and cheaply allege that anyone who is critical or opposed to their position is doing the bidding of others. It appears that the only language they speak in campaigning for their demands is to slander people who disagree with them. We should relate to debate based on the capacity to explain our positions and win support without resort to blackmails. Blackmail and name-calling will not resolve our challenges as a nation.
NLC leadership and organised labour can allege whatever fancies their imagination, it will not resolve the challenge around issues bordering on the implementation of the minimum wage in Nigeria unless we are able to have the courage to do the needful, which is about recognising the rights of all employers and the constituent units of our federation to negotiate and determine laws that affect them.
Finally, there are claims in the media that the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended provides for a review of the minimum wage in the country every five years. Nowhere in the 1999 Nigerian Constitution is such a provision made. What came close to that was by the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila in 2017, then as Majority Leader, when he proposed the amendment of the Minimum Wage Act to insert the clause that “The Minimum Wage shall be subject to periodic review every five years.” This proposal was never passed by the 8th National Assembly.
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It is important that all these distortions are corrected. Our democracy must be insulated from distortions and falsehood. The struggles of Nigerian workers for a just and better Nigeria should not be oriented based on falsehood and distortions. The earlier the NLC leadership retrace their steps and return to the path of truth and democratic engagement to win the support of Nigerians, including elected representatives, the better. Political bullying is antithetical to democracy and is counter-productive to the struggles for decent wage!
Dr. Lukman is the Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum. But this position does not represent the view of any APC governor or the Progressive Governors’ Forum.
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By Toyin Falola
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” – Galileo Galilei
Religion remains a much-debated issue, especially in Africa. It is one of the determining factors of our identity. It determines who we are, our beliefs, actions and reactions, and even our thought processes. Africans had their own culture and traditional religion until the advent of western civilization, which brought with it the ‘gift’ of Abrahamic religions—,Christianity and Islam—and judged African traditional religious practices as evil, pagan practice and witchcraft. The missionaries did a thorough job of making people believe that their religion was superior and righteous. Africans accepted these imported religions, and their traditional beliefs began to fade. Christianity and Islam are now the new order, and people are extremely devoted to these newly found Gods.
The Toyin Falola Interviews recently played host to music composer and songwriter, Beautiful Nubia. The question of Beautiful Nubia’s stance on religion pops up during the interview. He is known to promote African spirituality but has also defended foreign religions as advantageous. In response, he talks about his ancestral line: his paternal family were Olu Orogbo devotees (the Yoruba god of letters), and his maternal family were Ifa priests and Esu devotees. He said, “religion has always fascinated me like it gets people’s minds.” He opines that spirituality ties into what gets people so much into religion. Although he no longer practices religion, he affirms that these religions have positively influenced people to do good and show kindness to their fellow human beings.
He states, “Any organized religion has a set of dogma or doctrines they use to guide you to put you in there. You are there; it is like a strait jacket to keep you on the straight and narrow. Why I said religion is a good thing is because the purpose of this is to ensure that you stay on the straight and narrow, that you do good things.” We can agree that religion has contributed to the rise of morals to a certain extent, as the fear of God keeps many people from doing evil. It has curbed wickedness and negative traits inherent in humans and made many people see the world in a new light. Religion has spread the message of doing good and becoming a better human being.
The issue, however, is not the practice of these religions but the ability of leaders to sway people easily. Although imported religions have helped to stop the extremities of African religious practices, it has only accentuated people’s gullibility. Beautiful Nubia further states, “What is wrong with religion is that it gives certain people the power to use their followers. It is not the religion itself; it is the human beings who run these religious organizations who use their power to extract money from them and push them in the wrong direction.” Owning a church is one of the easiest and quickest ways to get rich, particularly in Nigeria. All that is needed to succeed in this business is to be a good actor, have nice clothes (suits, particularly), can win people over with words and give yourself an extraordinary title such as Rabbi.
It is common knowledge that the major reason why people attend church and Jumat services religiously are that they seek solutions to their problems. As much bad governance is enough to seek God’s intervention for various human issues ranging from terminal illnesses, protection, promotion, unhappiness, barrenness, unemployment, and marital problems, to poverty, which is an average African’s motivation to seek God’s face, also cause people to become staunch believers. To get swift, miraculous answers to these problems, many people fall prey to the traps of “men of God”, who only look to fill their pockets and bellies. This explains why a “pastor” would shut down his church after winning a 100 million Naira bet.
Pastors and Muslim clerics are considered mini gods who can do no wrong. The Bible verse, “touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm,” is an ever-ready response by Christians in defense of their highly revered pastors who would not think twice before taking advantage of their desperation to get their problems solved. They forget that a “man of God” is first a man. Religion has rendered humans gullible to the extent that they excuse things their religious leaders do that are not even in tune with what is written in the Holy books. How do you explain a pastor who sleeps with a woman looking for the fruit of the womb and says his sperm is the anointing that will cause her to have her child? What do we say to a pastor who instructs his congregation to bring a greater percentage of their salaries to him so that God can answer their prayers? Should the man who claims to be an alfa but has exploited so many people in the name of being a ‘wonder healer’ be left alone? Churches and mosques nowadays see the desperation of people and feed off it. Many people come to church for prosperity and get ripped off the little they have, all in the name of miracles, signs and wonders. You could be in a church service and then suddenly hear the pastor say, “I see seven stars. I need seven people who will give the Lord Seven Hundred Thousand to come out now at the count of seven. One, Two…Seven!” You will be amazed at the number of people who will run to the altar to give the ‘Lord’ that amount of money in this present economy. Unsurprisingly, some borrow money to give to their pastors to receive blessings, then struggle to pay back the borrowed money. Monkey dey work, Baboon dey chop.
These men of God add false doctrines to their fraudulent, shady activities. Beautiful Nubia quotes his mother, a Christian singer, as saying, ” any church where they are a lot of people there, you know there are telling them lies there.” He made an example of a Muslim cleric who tells his followers that every other person is evil, an infidel and a pastor who tells his congregation that their Jesus is not a Jesus of poverty, that He died for them to be wealthy. It is now rare to find churches that preach about the kingdom of God and how to live a life that pleases God. Churches today entice and then mislead people.
Sometimes, people realize all these things are wrong but lack the courage to question these atrocities. According to Beautiful Nubia, “…as a child, you are fully indoctrinated, and as an adult, you are scared to question these beliefs.” Asking a pastor why he preaches only prosperity and how to get rich as a Christian would be considered as seeking the wrath of God because the pastor can call down fire to consume his ‘enemy’. Questioning an Imam on why he sleeps with young girls will only attract curses from the Quran on such a person, followed by “who are you to question God’s prophet? The ways and dealings of God are mysterious”. Really, who dares question these men of God? The fear that has been unconsciously programmed into your mind from a very young age holds your voice and makes you look away from the evils of these religious leaders.
This is not to say that there are no genuine men of God, but there is a plague of greedy religious leaders who, because of their power over their members, influence them to bend to their will while satisfying their greed and lust. “We should not focus too much on religion being our enemy. We need to focus more on ourselves, fix ourselves, and we can use traditional wisdom to do that”, says Nubia. The way we question and demand accountability from the government should be the same way we question our religious leaders. Not every “God says” is true. The Bible in 1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved , believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Many religious leaders are gods of their bellies and are only out to exploit people to put food in their fat stomachs and live expensive lifestyles with their poor congregation’s money. Child of God, shine ya eye!
This is Part 1 of the report on the interview with Beautiful on March 19, 2023. The extensive interview, which has received millions of views across different platforms, talks about the role of music in society. For the transcripts, see:
Death At Dawn, Rebirth At Dusk
By Toyin Falola
Twilight-zone, Afterlife, What-Mays, and Whatnots;
Questions that transcend mortal thoughts.
Uncertainties plucked by the hands of certainty
pondering life beyond the galaxy.
Philosophies, religions, and sciences;
Ancient lenses to dissect and ponder.
Beliefs, opinions, and standpoints in their multiplicities;
Scalpels that open the heart of certain death
Blazing free the skins of uncertainty.
Science, a nobility I revere,
But it stammers answering to the afterlife.
For science is knowledge and knowledge from experience
But the dead neither speak, nor take records.
Their journeys, ordeals, triumphs or woes?
No one bears witness.
But as dead, we must all be witnesses;
witnesses that testify not.
So, for now, we survive the knowledge of death.
On my Agbàlàgbà head lies my Ọ́kpụ́ Ágwụ́
With eagle feathers, rare and honorable
Adorning it for three scores, a decade, and some more days.
I had flipped my Kente given by the Gaa
And danced to crescendos from Gàngàn drums
I have been celebrated and celebrating
For the miracles, I have worked with pen, paper, keyboard, and brain
I have taken the tales we tell in my village square beyond the Atlantic
Changed the songs that disdain us into appraisals
I have called my brothers not to point to our fathers’ house with their left hands
I have honed Africa and beyond
To answer the calls of the people’s need
I have reached the thinkable and done the unthinkable
So, I danced and keep dancing.
Suddenly, I felt a touch on my host?
Electrifying my hand, leg, brain, and my whole
Telling me that my jur from the Dinka people awaits me.
That my hourglass tells of crossing the bar.
I thought I knew what it was like,
But my grasping convictions of approaching jur were perceptions
Just surviving the death of the knowledge of death
So, arms wide open ready to abound
What was there to fear?
No catacomb of secrets
No palm oil-drenched white garments
I have taken many to my gourmet
To feast and to see.
What was there not to fear?
With medicine men and women,
Syringes, lights, water, ECG, Oximeters, voices, and touches
Hovering around me like a sacred etutu
Making conversations with me and beyond
I was thrown into a pool of reminiscence
one leg and a part of me were already in the boat
It beckoned but I heard another.
A loud voice like my mother’s.
Who takes a journey without locking his home?
Who takes the jur with unpatched palm fronds on his hut?
While the thunder rages up the sky?
The walls are broken and Balogun journeys?
So, I left the sea to clear the cobwebs and light up the night lamb.
The past few weeks have opened new lights of understanding to me. I now see the world from different hills and have helped to reach new resolutions. I know I have written about “transitioning to nothingness,” but my emphasis was on the “nothingness” with lesser attention on “transitioning.” I think we need to continue to ask questions. Philosophies, religion, sociology, psychology, science, and other ramifications are mere perceptions and we are uncertain. The transitioning occurs when death becomes an angel to hug not a beast to fear. We do not know what it entails but one must always endeavor to go with clean hands.
My recovery from an illness may have offered me a fresh opportunity to shout some more, point to societal needs, and settle unfinished businesses. No, not those caused by my personal undoing, but rather those of the people who would be left unguided, and for matters untold about life, society, and individuals. I can say I have passed through the lessons of tantra transfiguration, to use an elegant phrase that I recently came across, to move from secular to sacred activism. No one survives death because of its finality, but when it seems that you did, it is a renewed quest, offering a new purpose.
Professors On INEC’s Will (3)
By Tony Afejuku
The debate has progressed well so far. Our professors, whose strokes have centred on their fellow professor’s manned INEC have tried as best as they could not to confine their impressions solely to the prism of subjectivity. Even when their impressions seem to be subjective, they still make allowance for contrary views, for opposing views. This obviously gives clarity, objectivity and logic to the subject at hand. Is the will of INEC of a professor minder and mincer of words’ control the will of the people or of the masses? On whose side are the Professors who are as concerned as almost everybody is with what is going – or with what has gone on – primarily about our Presidential 2023 elections? Our Professors who are debating the subject constitute the courageous and prophetic Nigerian voices of our day. Their authentic and responsible thoughts are not restricted to the local or regional. They are also not confined to electoral duties and responsibilities expected of the umpire and the will that belongs elsewhere. The truth about the quality of leadership about our country and elsewhere is also told in the debate of the literati.
Professor (Mrs.) Razinatu Mohamed in her submission, in her salvo-cum-explosion actually, drew attention to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s explosive explosion in the presidency. If Professor Osinbajo had provided the right vice-presidential leadership there would not have been the need for him to explode as he did as per a viral video Professor Razinatu Mohamed referred her fellow debaters to. “What has he been doing in the eight years of their administration? Irritated my foot; he is complicit.” Not done, Professor Razinatu drew attention to the kind of leaders that Nigeria and Africa need: “Leaders that understand the rudiments of modern socio-economic development and systems; Leaders that understand the crux of requirements for economic growth. Leaders that could demonstrate to the rest of the world that just as the world needs Africa, African countries need the world in a symbiotic relationship and partnership context where assistance becomes a dual role…..”
Razinata’s concern is clear. Nothing in Nigeria will climb out of its hollow hole. In fact, the will of the people will remain hollow so long as a hollow mincer and minder is in charge of its electoral affairs.
Professor Da Sylva perhaps responds better to Professor Razinatu Mohamed’s algebraic stroke. “Unfortunately, Nigeria’s democracy is trapped in its primordial self-made ethnic and religious sentiments and so, standards, merit, competence and pedigrees are measured by their curious divides of religion and ethnic inclinations. Until we all come to realize that heavens help those who help themselves, Nigeria ain’t going no-where – meeen!”
But below is Professor Da Sylva’s sledge hammer response to Professor Razinatu Mohamed’s Osinbajo hammer blow:
“Prof Osinbajo’s office demands he does what he did. Besides, it shows maturity and spirit of sportsmanship on his part. Every loser in a game “healthily” contested, is naturally expected to do the same. The only difference which again shows Osinbajo’s magnanimity is that in this context, the contest under reference was neither healthy nor just. The umpire seemed compromised and merely worked to a prepared answer. Yet the gentleman did the needful. I guess, brothers and sisters, that we should put all that behind us, and work for our common good, and the wellbeing of the country, provided the mythical Aso cabal will let the President-elect be, and let the masses be, and as such, they should not create any cause for us to think otherwise, lest they provoke our sense of patriotism to take appropriate action! I guess that those were the reading or feelings of the dirty-minded Aso Villa cabal. People that kill with sword never wish that any folk should pass a sword over their heads, a wise saying goes in Yoruba. The human principalities simply suspected that should they allow PMB to give the VP the intended latitude, they might not be able to control him. I remember on his return from London, he commended the efforts of his VP while he was away. He said he would still continue acting while he would still have some more rest at home. The following day everything changed, PMB decided to take charge as the President. I suspected some back door politics was playing out. My co-debaters, quite naturally, you’ll agree with me that, it is not over-ambition or sheer opportunism as you might insinuate for any deputy in an office to aspire to the next higher office, in a legitimate manner, there is nothing really unusual about it, and it would amount to killing a mosquito with a sledge hammer, should Oshinbajo be crucified for that, if at all. And as for his wishing Buhari’s non-recovery, I think that, again, like my Sister R, is a little unkind and not fair to the gentleman who I know to be a servant of God. He knows as much as I do, by our true Christian orientation and Biblical injunctions that, should he ever wish Buhari’s death or wish him any form of misfortune in those trying periods of the President, God Almighty who we serve would deal mercilessly and ruthlessly with him. That is what Psalm 41:1-13 is all about. So rule that out, because it is not, and could never be in his character. I can vouch for him. Rather, I saw him in those times that he acted for his principal, as someone zealous and appreciative of the trust his principal invested in him, and as such he tried to do his very best to merit the trust and the opportunity! I know and I am also sure that this is what an IBK, or a Razinat, would have done too had they found themselves in a similar situation! It does not amount to wishing one’s principal any evil, not at all. Not everyone can be like Chief Obafemi Awolowo who resigned his position under Gowon when the regime became financially reckless shortly after the civil war. Awolowo also gave very profound argumentation to justify convincingly his actions. He also turned down some other appointments including the “49 Wise Men of the Constitution Drafting Committee.” Oshinbajo couldn’t have resigned, normally, and naturally his principal, PMB should have supported him as a capable successor, but again, the President’s ethnic and religious bigotry took the better part of the President. Besides, PMB’s mind was long poisoned against his VP, a clean job by the Aso Villa cabal. IBK, Lady R, until the faceless cabal is permanently silenced the wheel of Nigeria might continue to go round in a circle, and to nowhere in particular”.
And Professor IBK takes the floor: “Prof. DAO, yours is a powerfully convincing submission, at least in a large measure. Now I am willing to hold a slightly different opinion about Osinbajo. Yet, I cannot fathom why he chose to run against Tinubu, days or weeks after the latter had begun his campaign in the party primaries. There’s much we don’t know about why OSBJ decided to run against BAT. Nothing is wrong with that politically but a little problematic from an Ethical or, at least Moral, point of view. Osinbajo did a poor job of it and came out a distant 4th in the primaries. I think he didn’t read the situation correctly and was probably misled by some cabal of sorts. Either way Osinbajo made a politically fatal error in this regard. Perhaps he must have sensed, or was told, that BAT was not the anointed candidate, or that BAT would be crippled by some ill-health or a medical condition. I remember the party’s screening committee publicly recommending that only younger contestants would be recommended to the NWC or such. Clearly there was an attempt to sideline BAT. Whatever the explanation, Osinbajo make the error in his campaign of promising to be more Buhari than Buhari. A man despised by whole sections of the northern population, a man whose reputation for laziness and incompetence was on the ascendant. Anyway, all is now history and Osinbajo has not given a good account of himself in this particular case. Prof DAO, I think your concept of the Trickster should account for Osinbajo’s situation here. FULL DISCLOSURE: a very close family member of mine was drafted to head Osinbajo’s campaign effort in Kano. We discussed extensively about Osinbajo’s pledge to carry on with Buhari’s policies. There was bewilderment and shock within the members. A week later half of the membership resigned on account of Osinbajo’s increasing identification with Buhari’s policies. Many mistakenly thought that Osinbajo was Buhari’s anointed one! I could go on…”
Interestingly interesting and intriguingly intriguing, dear, dearly dear readers: this debate.
To be terminated by the columnist-terminator and terminator-columnist next week after Professor Olu Obafemi’s summation of the debate he presided over.
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.
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