Following the recent report on different platforms that the federal government is set to increase the salaries of the President, the vice president, the judicial workers and others by 114%, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the just concluded presidential election, Mr. Peter Obi, has reprimanded the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission for the recently proposed 114 per cent salary increase for elected officials and public office holders in the country.
He also slammed politicians, including President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his Vice for allowing this to take place. Peter Obi in a series of tweets on Thursday, expressed disappointment over what he called an insensitive salary increase for political officeholders. He described the salary increment at this moment as a deed in bad taste, considering the current economic situation and hardships faced by the citizens.
He cautioned that leaders should be focused on reducing the cost of governance and alleviating the suffering of the citizens. According to his words; ‘‘I learnt with great reservation, the approval of a 114% increase in the salaries of elected politicians, including the President, Vice President, Governors, Lawmakers as well as judicial and public office holders by the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission.
‘‘This is not the appropriate time for such a salary increment if it is at all necessary. We are living in a time when an average Nigerian is struggling with harsh economic realities and with over 130 million Nigerians now living in poverty.
This is a moment when recent reform measures by the government have increased living costs astronomically. One would expect the leaders and public officeholders to focus on cutting the cost of governance, alleviating the sufferings of Nigerians. This moment calls for creative ways of pulling the majority out of poverty.
”The leaders, therefore, should prioritize what affects the masses and those on the lower strata of society over themselves. On the immortal words of Shakespeare’s Julius Ceaser, “What touches us ourselves shall be last served.” The leaders, therefore, should prioritize what affects the masses and those on the lower strata of society over themselves.’’ It Is idiotic, irrational, antithetical to common sense,” he stated.
Also reacting to the salary increase, Lead Director of the Centre for Social Justice, Ezeh Onyekpere described the proposed increase as irrational, illogical and antithetical to common sense.
According to his words; ‘‘The proposed increase is irrational, illogical, antithetical to reason and common sense, considering that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been asking Nigerians to sacrifice and offer something in the national interest, the expectation was that such sacrifices by the popular masses of Nigerians, the poorest of the poor would have been matched with a greater sacrifice which should have been announced by the leadership class, who told us to tithen our belts.
‘‘The fact that people have lost their jobs and livelihood, and their wages and salaries can no longer take them home in view of the increase in the price of petrol, following the withdrawal of subsidy and of course the liberalization of the Foreign Exchange regime which has increased prices.
‘‘So, the expectation was that the leadership should have offered something in return, or even cut down and not to think of an increase, so that the sacrifice of the masses will come a little close, not that it will be the same as the sacrifices of the Nigerian people.
‘‘It is a big shame, is a replication of what Bola Ahmed Tinubu did in Lagos, he increased taxes, generated more money and of course, the political class in Lagos shared it. Nothing improved in Lagos, that is why during the political era, people were lying Tinubu built Lagos, what did Tinubu built?, 3rd Mainland bridge, Cather bridge, National theatre, airports in Lagos, army barracks, NTA? No, what exactly did he built? He wants to make Nigerians pay more money, so that the political class will sit down and share the money.
‘‘It is provocative, and I expect the Nigerian Labour Congress to simply demand proper living wage for Nigerians and they should insist on that. If Tinubu and Co insist on this, let them ground Nigeria until they get back to their sense because this is idiotic and stupid. I have no apology, if they think now is the time for them to increase their wages. And moreover, when you think of the National assembly, what is written on paper is not what they collect. What else do they really want? Shehu Sani told us what they collect. I am sorry, is a bunch of villains. The devil is at work and it needs to go back to the pit of hail.’’
Commenting on this matter, social and economic rights advocate, Frank Tietie stated that the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu should have announced long time ago that he would not be collecting salary. According to Frank Tietie, who spoke during an interview said; ‘‘by the time the president take this position of not collecting salary including the governors, the national spirit will be revived and this could help in rebuilding the system.’’
Frank Tietie also recalled that just recently the first Lady stated that the family is rich and has enough, there would not be any need for her to have such an increase in salaries. He expressed his disappointment over the report that salaries of public servants will be increased by 114%.
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