Over the years, with what I have read and what I have witnessed in the annals of human struggle, I have discovered that whereas much energy is dissipated on the clamour for fat pay packet; and because governments are often overwhelmed by the tenacity of organised labour unions to have it their own ways almost all the time, wage increases have often resulted. No sane president of a nation or governor of a state will fold his arms and see much degeneration resulting from prolonged sphere of industrial action; be it work to rule, lock out, or the mother of them all, which is general strike. Government authority often bends to accede to labour’s demands and workers seem to have the last laugh always; at least, by their own estimate with whatever marginal increase it is that have been added to their total emoluments.
Most of the struggles involved in the clamour for wage increase have often failed to address one salient issue, which has overbearing influence on the real value of human existence. The moment any clamour for wage increase begins, the petty traders immediately begin to think about their own aspect of the derivatives. The consciousness of individuals is then directed towards simultaneous increase in the prices of goods and services. Transporters begin to think about what increase to bring to bear on the burden of commuters as a result of increase in transport fare that is contemplated. Before the wish of the organised labour is fully realized, the spiral and multiplier effect of the struggle and agitation for wage increase often erodes the real benefits derivable from the struggle in totality. I am then tempted to conclude that the whole thing boils down to an effort in futility like a man that struggles assiduously to rid the menace of ringworm when indeed, the stigma of leprosy is left unattended to; like a spider and its web that will forever remain in-consequential, because no spider’s effort on its web ever results in a fabric that brings warmth to the body.
I then take myself to the realm of imagination as to why man has chosen, not to be wiser than ordinary spider. If we behold the spider’s web, we will discover that it is suggestive of a hypocrite’s picture, because it is meant to catch its prey. The spider fattens itself on flies, who are foolish enough not to pay particular attention to the tiny product of craftiness. The labour leaders first think of personal ego and clout that are underlying factors of the struggle.
Most labour leaders have it at the back of their minds that at the end of the struggle, they would be ultimate gainers, because the workers will see them as having fought a good fight that will see them out of economic stagnation and government at the same time will see them with the image of a captain in the struggle. The narcissism of the leaders is then eclipsed in the struggle, knowing full well that foolish persons are easily entrapped by the loud professions of pretenders, which even the judicious cannot always escape. Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who is now the governor of Edo State, will tell us more about this.
Labour leaders often becloud workers’ reasoning by their rhetorical opulence, just as a spider’s web is a marvel of skill. Anybody who looks at a spider’s web will admire the cunning hunter’s wiles. The labour leaders equally make so barefaced a lie appear to be a truth. I wonder what explanation one will give for a gain that is made, but disappears quickly like morning dew in the sunrise. Inflationary trends often make nonsense of any gain made during any clamour for wage increase, and this is well known to the labour leaders. Hypocrites as they are, find their trust and hope within themselves; their anchor was forged on their own anvil, and their cable twisted by their own hands. In most struggles, what we see is that most leaders, by their own foundations, hew out the pillars of their own houses, disdaining to be debtors to the common course of workers’ agitation. That is why most agitations, like a spider’s web that is very frail, are tenaciously wrought, but not enduringly beneficial as spider’s artifacts are not enduringly manufactured.
Governor Aregbesola is between and betwixt. Like the proverbial king’s errand, which is being hampered by River Oba that has overflown its banks; it is inevitable that the king’s message must be delivered, when indeed the attempt to cross River Oba is a voyage to the great beyond. Definitely, the Creator will judge the foolishness of man that has prompted him to commit suicide such that the man will be condemned eternally. The wise thing to do in this instance is to dare the earthly king by stepping down the errand. The river will eventually recede and there will always be another day to run an errand.
Osun State is one of the poorest states in Nigeria today. It will be pretty difficult for any government to want to achieve a great deal without introducing some measures that will cause some crossing. The masses must be crossed, as well as the government workers. If everybody is expecting good road network, uninterrupted water supply, rural and urban electricity, employment generation, as well as rapid industrialization, there must be sacrifice on the part of all segments of the society. If some states of the federation are ready to pay N18,000.00 minimum wage, no state can afford the wrath of the workers by not paying the same thing. As far as Osun State is concerned, there is an urgent need for concrete dialoging that will bring to the full glare of the workers, what revenue is available to the state. What the financial implication of the proposed minimum wage will exert on Osun State must be well spelt out, so that all parties may reason together and fashion out the best possible ways through which the labour-government face-off can be settled permanently.
Introduction of new tax regime is highly inevitable. Fines and charges must be intensified upon so that the revenue base of government can be widened and well fortified. Inflationary rate is a macro-phenomenon that must be controlled through sectoral aggregation of all indices of economic process. As far as Osun State is concerned, the agric revolution being envisaged, as well as concrete transformation of the real sector of the economy will in no small measure bring about much relief from the burden of insufficiency, which has crippled the state over the years.
Workers in Osun State must join hands with government for the full realization of the set objectives of transforming the state. Productivity must be geared up for the revenue profile to soar. Real value for the money being earned must be enhanced, so that the clamour for any increase in workers’ emoluments may translate to real value in the living standard of individuals in the constituent called Osun State. There must be less pressure in the ongoing process of lifting the state to a higher pedestal, so that all may have a sense of fulfilment when the history of the state is being rewritten.
There is no reason to doubt the statement made by the governor that all workers will benefit from the new wage regime as the revenue profile of the state improves. He knows what he can do to achieve the uncommon feat without rocking the boat, but he needs the efforts of all stakeholders to make headway. If there is systematic dislocation as being epitomized in the strike action that is ongoing, the process of reengineering and reconstruction is bound to be punctuated. If the pellucidity of the governor is not in doubt, vis-à-vis his promise before he became the governor and the mode of programme implementation so far, all must endeavour to be supportive and work towards making the pay packet worth the while. If the prices of foodstuff are brought low as a result of mass production as being envisaged by Governor Aregbesola, enough money will be available for other things that will bring a sense of fulfilment to all workers.
We all know that the spider’s web often results in a cobweb, which makes a mess of the beauty of any structure. Cobweb defaces, as fat pay packet, with low purchasing power demeans. A virile economy will make for a pay with substance, which propensity for high value will bring more that will be delightful to the heart. Fat pay with low value overhead is like hypocritical cobwebs, which shall soon come down when the besom of destruction begins its purifying work, in the same way the purchasing power of a fat pay in a weak economy is destroyed. There is no reason for any face-off yet, because the man at the helm of affairs is still getting his bearing right. This period calls for sacrifice, and no sacrifice should be too much for an enduring legacy. We shall surely rise to the dignity of our true position before long. Just a little patience and we shall be there!