Christmas: Not So Rosy For Nigerian Workers

By Oladipupo Moses –

Christmas is traditionally about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s hard to imagine now, but at the beginning of the 19th century Christmas was hardly celebrated.

Many businesses did not even consider it a holiday. However by the end of the century it had become the biggest annual celebration and took on the form that we recognize and celebrate across the world today.

Just as the entire world get set to celebrate yet another Christmas in the outgoing year 2018, Nigerians are not left out in the preparation for the Christmas holiday.

However, many workers in Nigeria, especially those below the middle-class level are not so keen the season would be grand due to the hullabaloo about the implementation of the minimum wage by the Federal Government. Of course, that has not happened before Christmas and not likely to be achieved before the New Year bell rings.

There have been widespread concerns that government wants to use the minimum wage for propaganda; to get sympathy votes during the general elections in 2019.

Notably, the take home of millions of workers is nothing to write home about while prices of commodities continue to rise in the markets.

According to Adam Oshimole: “I do not think it is about the (APC) party here, it is about Nigeria. Do not try to ask a partisan question. I think you should ask a question that has to do with governance in Nigeria, because this is an issue in which it appears all governors on the party platform are not united, that is the truth. So, it is incorrect to ask that question from a partisan point of view.

“When I was a member of the governors’ forum, I did publicly advise my colleagues that when it comes to the issue of minimum wage, I am not with them, not only secretly, but publicly, that I am going to dissociate myself. I believe we need a national minimum wage, I believe Nigeria is capable of paying minimum wage. I believe the primary purpose of government is the welfare of the people and payment of wages is a function of prosperity”.

Lukmon Musa, a respondent in Lagos also states that; “cost of living in Lagos is very high hence an average Lagosian needs the N56,000 minimum wage badly”.

Musa, a trader further said that: “a minimum wage increase at this time could be the most important factor in powering our economy out of recession”.

He further said: “Prices of goods in the market are unbearable, workers could not take three square meals to talk less of going to the market to buy things for Christmas.

“The higher the wages of an employee, the more income he or she has to purchase goods and services for his or her family, which is indeed ‘the best medicine’ for our economy.”

However, Tolu Akinola, one of the respondents told our Correspondent that many Nigerians who have no other source to generate money aside from their monthly salary may have challenges to pay their rents, children’s school fees, buy drugs and take care of their families. People do not have money for Christmas and governors’ lukewarm attitude towards implementation of minimum wages for workers shows this year’s Christmas may be dull.

Going down memory lane, Christmas feast has its roots before the Middle Ages, but it’s during the Victorian period that the dinner we now associate with Christmas began to take shape.

During the 19th century there was a revolution in the composition of this festive dish; mixes without meat began to gain popularity within some of the higher echelons of the society and became the mince pies we know today.

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