Backed by the Nigerian Petroleum and Gas Senior Association (PENGASSAN), workers in the oil and gas industry are calling on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the international community to spare no effort in a free, fair and credible election.
They also asked them to ensure that the Bimodal Voter Authentication System (BVAS) and other electronic devices slated for use in the 2023 election cannot be tampered with in any way.
PENGASSAN continues to link Nigeria’s growing multidimensional poverty to poor governance and policies, so holding credible elections in 2023 and ensuring the election of leaders with the necessary capacity to meet the challenges facing the country is sacrosanct.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies and other key players in the electoral process should use this window to reassure Nigerians that the 2023 general election will be credible, free and fair.
“Specifically, if we really want elections to stand the test of time, then the use of electronic devices, such as the Bimodal Voter Authentication System (BVAS) machines, should not be played around with,” the union said.
Comrade Festus Osifo, National Chairman of PENGASSAN, speaking at the opening of the union’s National Executive Committee meeting in Abuja, said, “We issue a warning to the four Permanent Election Commissioners who were recently sworn in, despite their opposition to CSO expansion through the party screening process. Nigerians will focus on them and the role they will play in the upcoming elections.”
Unions express outrage over the link between elections, political office holders, good governance and the country’s worsening poverty as those elected to bring democratic dividends to Nigerians create more hardship for citizens and poverty.
“Despite abundant human and natural resources, we are concerned about the growing poverty of Nigerians. A survey by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the National Statistics Office on the 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to be released in November 2022 The resulting report shows that poverty has become worse across all dimensions.
“This survey is a collaborative effort between the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the National Social Safety Net Coordination Office (NASSCO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and others, and will be conducted between November 2021 and February 2022, and will Provides multidimensional poverty estimates at the Senate district level,” the coalition said.
PENGASSAN also reiterated its stance on pensions for political officials and wage increases for workers. The union insists that workers and poor Nigerians deserve higher wages and social security benefits, not politicians.
“Under this government, Nigeria has experienced two recessions in five years, with workers and the poor bearing the brunt, and the economy is still in dire shape on all fronts. Based on the above conclusions, we believe that the revenue mobilization distribution and the Finance Committee’s recent request to increase The calls for salaries and allowances for senior public officials are very insensitive and an insult to the struggling masses and the working class.
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“The only group entitled to a raise is the downtrodden Nigerian worker and at best Nigerian judges. The president, his deputies, governors, legislators and other political appointees don’t need a raise.” The London Economist has put Nigeria’s legislation Listed as the highest paid MP in the world.
“It is therefore provocative to consider increasing their compensation packages without acceptable justification. We also feel bad about continuing to pay pensions to former governors and their deputies even in states on the verge of bankruptcy.
“Adding to the pain, many states are not paying the N30,000 national minimum wage, which was introduced in 2019. Pensioners in some states have not been paid for 75 months or more, creating a backlog of unpaid wages. Wages paid, while other states withhold workers’ pension contributions to pension fund administrators and fail to remit them, which is legally a criminal offense.
“In the face of these citizen poverty and deprivation challenges, ex-governors and their deputies in some states receive huge pensions for life, excluding the regular provision of cars and homes for officers with a maximum of 8 years of service. It doesn’t make sense. More importantly Yes, some ex-governors who receive such huge pensions from poor states are current senators in the National Assembly who also earn their salaries and huge allowances from the federal purse.
“Therefore, PENGSSAN demands that pensions be stopped for all political office holders and that any idea of further increases in their wages be stifled until they justify such increases by first putting the economy in proper shape and lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty is reasonable,” the union added.