Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM


We of the Youth Rights Campaign (YRC) received the news that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had denied reports of the plan to increase his salary and that of political office holders by a whopping 114% with a pinch of salt.

In our opinion, this denial does not address the glaring fact that President Tinubu and all political office holders already receive humongous salaries and allowances, aside other stupendous privileges they enjoy, at a trying period in the life of the nation when workers and poor Nigerians have been told to tighten their belt and sacrifice purportedly for the good of the country by tolerating severe attacks on their living conditions through fuel subsidy removal, currency devaluation, planned increase in electricity tariff and introduction of tuition fees in public higher institutions.

As of today, all the living costs of the President Tinubu and the ‘First family’ are borne by the country. President Tinubu does not even use his own money to buy fuel for the tens of luxury vehicles in the presidential pool even though he has imposed a steep rise in fuel cost on Nigerians! Also, he has simply taken over from his predecessor the huge presidential fleet, which consists of at least 10 airplanes whose funding and maintenance stands at a whopping N81 billion as of last year! The immediate-past President Buhari failed to reduce this fleet despite promising to do so during campaigns in 2015. President Tinubu has not even bothered to make any promises with regards to this monumental wastage of Nigeria’s resources! In addition, the full cost of President Tinubu’s medical care overseas is borne by Nigeria, same with the full cost of feeding and entertainment of the first family and their guests in Aso Rock. So exactly what does President Tinubu spends his salary and allowances on?

He who comes to equity must come with clean hands. President Tinubu cannot ask all Nigerians to tighten their belt and sacrifice while he continues to live the life of opulence associated with the office of the Presidency. If as the proponents of the increase in the salaries of political office holder have argued, President Tinubu is also affected by the difficult economic situation that has affected the livelihood of poor Nigerians then it is only logical that he does not earn more than the people he leads.

Certainly Tinubu and his family appear to have vast wealth which means that they can live very comfortably and have money to spare. In May the US based news agency Bloomberg reported how a company largely owned by his son, Oluwaseyi, in 2017 bought a mansion in a rich area of London for $10.8 million. On June 1 the Financial Times in London repeated the old story that “in 1993 Tinubu forfeited $460,000 to the US government after a Chicago court determined that he had benefited from drug trafficking”. Therefore it is unacceptable that, while President Tinubu and the first family is fed and clothed by the nation’s resources, the people he leads spend at least 85% of their monthly income on food consumption hardly leaving anything for clothing, shelter, relaxation and other necessities.

It is for this reason that we of the Youth Rights Campaign (YRC) demand that President Tinubu and all political office holders at all levels should be placed on the National Minimum Wage. We also demand an inflation-proof increase in the minimum wage up to N200, 000 per month without retrenchment and an unemployment allowance for young people without a job.

Given the rapidly worsening economic situation, we urge the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to demand that negotiation over a review of the minimum wage should start immediately. Workers who have been reduced to paupers and have been walking to work since subsidy removal three weeks again cannot wait till February next year before receiving a pay rise. With planned introduction of tuition and increase in electricity tariff, workers living cost is bound to crash further. A pay rise for workers is a matter of life and death now! In addition to rejection of the planned hike in school fees and electricity tariff, Labour must demand that government agrees to increase minimum wage to N200, 000 right now and adequately fund public education at all levels. However, it is important they must be prepared to call for actions like mass rallies, protests and strikes to push for these demands and ensure that such a new minimum wage regime is implemented not only by the federal government but also the state governments and private sector bosses.

Adaramoye Michael Lenin

National Coordinator

Francis Nwapa

National Secretary

Email: [email protected]