Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has described as insensitive, the proposal by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to increase the salaries of Judges and political office holders by 114 per cent when many states in the country could not pay N30, 0000 minimum wage.
Obi who criticised the proposal in a tweet he posted Thursday, argued that hiking the salaries of Judges and political office holders should not be a priority.
“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 Mobilisation, Allocation 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 many 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 office holders 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. In the immortal words of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, ‘What touches us ourself shall be last served.’
“The leaders, therefore, should prioritise what affects the masses and those on the lower strata of society over themselves. The sacrifice, at this time in our nation, should be borne by the leaders. The increment should be reversed immediately, and the savings should be devoted to fixing education, healthcare and poverty alleviation especially in the remote rural areas.”
Ikengaonline had reported that the Chairman of RMAFC, Muhammadu Shehu, who was represented by RMAFC Commissioner from Kebbi State, Mrs Rakiya Tanko-Ayuba, announced the proposed upward review of salaries on Tuesday in Birnin Kebbi, while presenting the reviewed remuneration package of political and judicial office holders to the State Governor, Dr Nasir Idris.
Nationwide condemnation has trailed the proposal by RMAFC to double the wages of politicians.