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June 13, 2024

Minimum Wage: We’ll pay what we can afford – Tinubu


President Tinubu

—- Promises to send Executive Bill to N’Assembly

—Says fall at Eagle Square, a’dobale’ to democracy

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu on Wednesday night said that he will approve what is affordable as new minimum wage, alerting the National Assembly to expect his memorandum on the final settlement.

President Tinubu, who was speaking during the 25th Democracy Day Anniversary Dinner, at the Old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja, said that the amount to be forwarded to the National Assembly will be such that Nigerians can afford.

Recall that at the end of negotiations on Minimum Wage last week Friday, the Federal Government team alongside the Organized Private Sector, OPS had slightly increased the offer to N62, 000 from the initial N60,000, while the Organized Labour also reduced its demand from N494,000 to N250,000.

The government and the OPS had at the beginning of the negotiations offered N48,000, while the Organized Labour also started with the demand of N615,000.

However, the last offer of N62,000 made by the government and the private sector and the demand of N250,000 by the organized labour is now before the President to perhaps harmonise and make the final approval and thereafter send a bill to the National Assembly for enactment of law.

But speaking on the matter, President Tinubu told the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio alongside his other colleagues at the dinner that the government would do what is expected, but would also pay what it can afford.

He said, “Senate President, Deputy Senate President, you’ll get a notice from me if I’ve changed my mind on minimum wage about minimum wage, we’re going to do it; what Nigeria can afford, what you can afford, what I can afford. They ask you to cut your coat according to your size, if you have size at all.”

President Tinubu also clarified the circumstances surrounding an incident earlier in the day at the Eagle Square, where he tripped while making his way into the parade inspection vehicle.

Responding to the social media reaction after he missed his step and fell while climbing into a vehicle for a parade, the President described the incident as a move of obeisance to democracy, saying it was a day worth falling for.

He explained that as a traditional Yoruba ‘boy’ he was doing dobale (Yoruba word for prostrating to greet elders) at the Eagles Square, saying democracy was worth falling for.

According to him, “June 12 represent the heart and soul of our democratic struggle in the country.

“Early this morning (Wednesday), I had a swagger and it’s on the social media. They are confused whether I was doing buga or doing babaringa but it is a day to celebrate democracy while doing ‘dobalee’ for today.

“I am additionally Yoruba boy, I did my dobale. Democracy is a day that is worthy of falling for”, he said.

The dinner was attended by five pro-democracy icons, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Chief Segun Osoba, Senator Shehu Sani, George Mbah and the Minister of Solid Minerals, Mr Dele Alake, who all took to the stage to recall President Tinubu’s role in the struggle that eventually crystallized into what is being celebrated.

President of the senate, Godswill Akpabio; Deputy President of the Senate, Jibrin Barau; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas; Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu; Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola; and the SGF, Senator George Akume, were all present.

Also on ground were the NSA, Nuhu Ribadu; Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila; and the Wife of the Vice President, Nana Shettima.

Babagana Kingibe, Chief Pius Akinyelure; Chief Bisi Akande, Senator Abu Ibrahim, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere of House of Representatives among others.

Some of the governors in attendance were Hope Uzodinma (Imo); Umo Eno (Akwa Ibom); Lucky Aiyedatiwa (Ondo); Usman Ododo (Kogi); Sheriff Oborevwori (Delta); Uba Sani (Kaduna); Caleb Mutfwang (Plateau); and Siminalayi Fubara (Rivers)

Ministers included those of Justice/Attorney-General, Lateef Fagbemi; Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun; Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris; Power, Bayo Adelabu; Budget and National Planning Atiku Bagudu; Agriculture and Rural Development, Abubakar Kyari.

Others were Senator Shehu Sani; George Mba; Olisa Agbakoba; Tony Elumelu; traditional rulers and members of the diplomatic corps.