Wike Blasts Labour’s Indifference To Fuel Hike, Insecurity
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has lampooned the labour movement in Nigeria for their indifference to the incessant increment in the pump price of petroleum products, electricity tariffs and the escalating insecurity in the country.
He said labour movement in the country was dead because it has lost its force of engagement with government, adding that the present leadership of organised labour can hardly achieve anything good for the generality of the workforce and Nigerians.
Wike made the assertion at the inauguration of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Secretariat Building, performed by the National President of TUC, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, last Friday in Ozuoba Town, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The Rivers State governor observed that the leadership of labour has left substance to pursue shadows, and can hardly speak in a manner that can change or achieve reversal of the many anti-people policies being implemented by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
Wike stated that under former President Goodluck Jonathan, the leadership of labour mobilised Nigerian workers against some of his policies because he was from a minority ethnic group, but has lost its voice under a president from a majority tribe.
“It is unfortunate that labour has abandoned their role in this country. You are chasing things that are personal to you. All over the world, when government is not going the right way, it is labour that comes out to say we cannot allow it. Majority of our people are civil servants and have others to cater for. But since the inception of this government, labour has died.
“Under former President Goodluck Jonathan, labour was alive. They said the country must come down because he is from a minority area. But look at what is happening. There’s increase in fuel pump price, insecurity, and incessant increase of electricity tariffs. Where is labour? Where is TUC? Where is NLC? The only thing I hear is minimum wage”.
He further said, “Let the world hear it, labour has died. Nigerians cannot get anything substantive from you. Labour is like an opposition party. Labour does not work for any ruling government, no. But now, you people are working for the ruling government. Under Jonathan, you mobilised workers to occupy Nigeria. And that is why we say there is so much injustice in this country. Because I come from a place, a minority area, you can treat me anyhow, but when you come from the other side, nobody can touch you. That is not how this country should move forward. Be firm and take decisions and know that what is wrong is wrong. Let Nigerians have confidence in you.”
Speaking on the TUC Building, Wike said his administration has provided the secretariat to strengthen the independence of organised labour so that it can perform its duties effectively.
“Mr President, what we have done here is our own little contribution to make your people independent, and work for the interest of the country, not for the interest of only minimum wage. This minimum wage will come when it will come. No governor is anti-workers. I have brothers and sisters who are civil servants, so, how will I be against them. But we must do things in ways that things are supposed to be done.”
He urged labour to always engage his administration concerning the larger issues that border on workers’ productivity and welfare beyond the demands for check-off dues.
The governor, while reacting to labour’s opposition against National Assembly plan to remove the issue of minimum wage from the Exclusive List to Concurrent List, insisted that workers must realise that the financial capacity of the federating states differ.
“Let us face reality, if we are to operate true federalism, you cannot say that the man who is in Sokoto should earn the same thing with the man who is in Lagos, it is not possible. The house rent in Lagos is more expensive than house rent in Sokoto. You cannot say that the man in Lagos should earn the same thing with the man who is in Rivers. So, people should be very realistic.
“In America, somebody who works in California cannot earn the same with the person working in Chicago. No. You people say Federal Government should fix salary. How can Federal Government fix salary for me? The President did not employ you. I employed you. I sit down with you, we negotiate, and then, you say Federal Government should fix what everybody will earn”.
The governor also agreed to support the Rivers State Chapter of the Trade Union Congress with a take take-off grant of N50million and a vehicle.
Inaugurating the TUC Secretariat, the National President of TUC, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, applauded Wike for completing the project and not abandoning it after the groundbreaking ceremony.
According to Olaleye, the governor’s achievements have made him controversial.
He explained that he was one of those who also castigated Wike for his contributions to the Judiciary but acknowledged that he understands it better now.
Providing a description of the secretariat, the Special Adviser to Governor Wike on Special Projects, Dax George-Kelly, said the two-storey building started two years ago.
“Today, the dream is real. This project is seating on 1,450-square meter of land. The secretariat has 16 offices; it has a 500-capacity auditorium, inclusive of the gallery.
“It has a conference room. It has 14 toilets cut across all the floors. There’s 100KVA generating set, 200KVA transformer already hooked up to the national grid. All offices, conference rooms and auditorium are fully and tastefully furnished”, he added.
Wike Mocks Amaechi, Abe, Debunks Allegations Of INEC Chairman Working Under Him …Urges Security Agencies To Invite Amaechi For Questioning
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has refuted allegation by former Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, once worked under him as a minister.
The governor noted that Amaechi’s spurious claim that Yakubu was nominated by someone in the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s camp of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was tantamount to public incitement and a threat to national security.
Wike, in a state broadcast on the outcome of the March 18th, 2023, governorship/National Assembly elections in the State, yesterday, said Amaechi’s outburst that the just conducted general elections by INEC was the worst in Nigeria’s history, is ludicrous.
He said, “The truth was that Mahmood Yakubu never worked under me. Both of us worked in the Federal Ministry of Education. He was the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, supervised by the Minister of Education, while I was the Minister of State for Education.
“At any rate, was Mahmood Yakubu INEC’s chairman in the 2015 general elections in Rivers State when we defeated him and his political party as a sitting Governor and Director-General of Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidential Campaign?
“Was it not the same Mahmood Yakubu that conducted the 2019 general election, which the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari won? Was he working for Atiku Abubakar of the PDP when, as a sitting super Minister of Transportation, he could not win 25% for President Buhari in Rivers State in the 2019 general election?”
Wike wondered why it took this long for Amaechi , who served as a minister for over seven years under President Buhari to speak out about his opposition to Mahmood Yakubu’s reappointment.
He observed that in his frustration, Amaechi had publicly denounced and claimed to know so much bad things about the Federal Government that he served for seven year, but, regrettably, lacked the courage to tell Nigerians what he claimed to know about Buhari’s government, which he alleged had totally failed.
“In saner climes, law enforcement agencies should have invited such a devious and malignant character for hate speech, public incitement and threat to national security, public safety and order. By his mischievous statements, Rotimi Amaechi attempted to attribute, locate and blame his infamous political failures and frustrations in Rivers State on the INEC’s chairman.
“In the 2015 general elections, we defeated him as a sitting Governor and Director-General of the Buhari campaign in Rivers State. In the 2019 general elections, we beat him as President Buhari’s super Minister and Director-General of the APC Presidential Campaign.
“He could not even influence 25% of the votes for his party, even after using the Army to cause mayhem and attempt to rig the election. In 2023, we defeated him as an ordinary person. This shows that Rotimi Amaechi cannot win any electoral contest with us in Rivers State”, the governor said.
Wike stressed that the outcome of the 2023 general elections in Rivers State has again exposed Amaechi, the APC governorship candidate, Tonye Cole and his Social Democratic Party counterpart, Senator Magnus Abe, as political paperweights and rejects.
“The APC gubernatorial candidate, Tonye Cole, lost in his Ward and Local Government Area. He lost in almost all electoral units, wards and Local Government Areas of the State. Tonye Cole never ran any effective political campaigns. His party was fractured beyond redemption. He was literarily waiting for his godfather and business partner, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi to magically make him governor.
“Rotimi Amaechi also lost to the PDP in his community, Ubima, his Ward and the Local Government Area. Both forgot that Rivers people knew them as an evil partnership that diverted the State’s $50,000,000.00 and declined overwhelmingly to vote for them”, Wike alleged.
The governor further said that the electoral fate of the SDP candidate, Senator Abe, who lost woefully in 15 out of 17 wards in his native Gokana Local Government Area, was also not better.
“Magnus’s vaunting ambition was to have a chance to be named on the ballot as a gubernatorial candidate of any party, having twice been denied the APC by his former friend, political leader and associate, Rotimi Amaechi. He achieved this limited and useless ambition when he hurriedly decamped from the APC to the SDP.”
Wike challenged Abe to explain to the world his relationship with the INEC Director of Security, Lebara Nduh, who allegedly availed him and his supporters with fake INEC security tags.
The governor thanked Rivers people for voting Fubara as the next governor, adding that the results already announced by the INEC show that the PDP won 31 of the 32 State House of Assembly constituencies.
He, however, extended olive branch to the opposition to join in moving the State forward.
According to him, he has received assurance from the governor-elect of his willingness to work with the opposition to advance the interests of the State.
The governor also appreciated the security agencies’ professionalism throughout the elections and promised that the State Government would defray the medical expenses of any security personnel injured during the elections.
Wike congratulated all PDP governors-elects nationwide for their electoral victories.
He said now that the elections are over, PDP members desperately need to close ranks and work together to reclaim, rebuild, and reposition the party based on equity, fairness and justice to serve and advance the country’s unity, security and progress.
Petrol Price Increased By 54.76% Per Litre, NBS Confirms
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has said that the average retail price of a litre of Petrol increased from N170.42 in February 2022 to N263.76 in February 2023.
It made the declaration in its Petrol Price Watch for February 2023 released in Abuja, yesterday.
It stated that the February 2023 price of N263.76 represented a 54.76 per cent increase over the price of N170.42 recorded in February 2022.
“Comparing the average price value with the previous month of January 2023, the average retail price increased by 24.58 per cent from N257.12.
“On states profiles analysis, Jigawa paid the highest average retail price of N329.17 per litre, followed by Rivers and Ebonyi at N323.33 and N317.14, respectively.
“Conversely, Niger paid the lowest average retail prices of N198.50 per litre, followed by Plateau at N198.71 and Abuja at N200,’’ it stated.
Analysis by zone showed that the South-East recorded the highest average retail price in February 2023 at N306.86 per litre, while the North Central recorded the lowest at N215.01 per litre.
The NBS also stated in its Diesel Price Watch Report for February 2023 that the average retail price was N836.91 per litre.
It explained that the February 2023 price of N836.91 per litre amounted to a 168.26 per cent increase over the N311.98 per litre paid in February 2022.
“On a month-on-month basis, the price increased by 0.98 per cent from the N828.82 per litre recorded in January 2023,’’ it added.
On states profiles analysis, the report said the highest average price of diesel in February 2023 was recorded in Bauchi at N904.33 per litre, followed by Abuja at N885 per litre and Adamawa at N873.33 per litre.
On the other hand, the lowest price was recorded in Bayelsa at N767.14 per litre, followed by Katsina State at N778.75 per litre and Edo at N789.43 per litre.
In addition, the analysis by zone showed that the North Central had the highest price at N850.65 per litre, while the South-South recorded the lowest price at N814.63 per litre.
Buhari Rejects NASS Bill On Power To Summon President, Govs
President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to assent to the Constitution Amendment Bill on power to summon the President and state governors.
The Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, who dropped the hint during yesterday’s plenary, lamented the refusal of the President to assent to the constitution alteration bill and 18 others.
Buhari had, last Friday, assented to 16 out of the 35 constitution alteration bills transmitted to him for assent by the National Assembly.
Informing the Senate in plenary on the presidential action, Lawan said out of the 35 constitution alteration bills forwarded to the President in January, only 16 were assented to.
According to the Senate President, the most striking of the assented 16 bills was the Fifth Alteration Bill Number 6 which makes provisions for financial independence of State Houses of Assembly and Judiciary.
Lawan listed others to include those that dwell on power devolutions in the areas of moving railway services, correctional centres and power generation and distribution, from the exclusive list to concurrent list.
He, however, vowed that the 19 bills that were not assented to by the President would still be pursued vigorously by both chambers of the National Assembly for that purpose.
The first of such 19 bills not assented to by the President was the Fifth Alteration Bill Number 24 , which sought for an Act to Alter the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Empower the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly to Summon the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Governors of States to Answer Questions on issues on which the National and State Houses of Assembly have the Powers to make.
Also. Fifth Alteration Bill Number 7 which sought for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to compel persons to obey or comply with Legislative Summons, was refused assent by the President.
Others important ones are: Fifth Alteration Bill Number 29 which sought for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to provide for a State of the Nation and State of the State Address by the President and Governor.
Fifth Alteration Bill Number 22 which sought for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Specify the period within which the President or the Governor of State shall present the Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly or House of Assembly.
Fifth Alteration Bill Number 30 which sought for “an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Include Former Heads of the National Assembly in the Council of State.
Fifth Alteration Bill Number 14 which sought for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to move Fingerprints, Identification and Criminal Records from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List.
Fifth Alteration Bill Number 18 which sought for “an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Empower the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission to Enforce Compliance with Remittance of Accruals into and Disbursement of Revenue from the Federation Account and Streamline the Procedure for Reviewing the Revenue Allocation Formula.
Fifth Alteration Bill Number 66 which sought for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Reflect the Establishment and Core Functions of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps etc.
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