After series of rigmarole between the Federal Government and the labour movement comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other allied labour unions, the Federal Government in April 2019 approved the minimum wage.
However, while many states governments and agencies complied by reflecting the new minimum wage in the salaries of their worker, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is yet to implement the minimum wage.
Up till now,feelers from the federal agency revealed that there was no communication or explanation to staff on why it has not been implemented.
Sources hinted that even the representation made to INEC’s Chairman was without meaningful outcome.
For now, the arrears of minimum wage has been piling up every month at INEC and settlement of the money has also become a monthly burden.
While the problem persists,nthe tenure of the commission gradually coming to an end, it will end October 2020 and as a matter of fact, the new commission might also resist effecting the payment, which if it will pay might drag for a long time and this has become very worrisome to the entire staff.
For records purpose, INEC chairman and his commission has intimidated and prevented the workers Union from fighting for their rights and when Senior civil Servants’ Union met with the commission to persuade it to allow unionism, the INEC management declined.
The Union executives who tried to mount pressure to ensure the payment of the minimum wage were met with frustration and harassment.
Many were posted out of their offices to destabilise them.
It was learnt that there strong silent agitations on going in INEC on how to compromise elections in future because of low income of its workers.
Obviously, INEC is more concerned about holding elections at the expense of staff welfare in Edo and Ondo states.
The major concern of the electoral commission now is what they will get out of the two elections in Edo and Ondo states before the present tenure is terminated.
It is so disheartening that INEC that should be the custodian of democracy is now frustrating and silencing people/staff in denial of their rights at the commission.
There is need for all the appropriate authorities to wade into the controversy before it becomes an issue of national problem.