The Imo Governor Owelle Rocharlas Okorocha speaking with State House Press Corp after meeting with the President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE/State House
  • Wants president to improve relations with S’East
  • Presidency okays membership of minimum wage c’ttee

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha Thursday said even though President Muhammadu Buhari is eminently qualified to stand for reelection in 2019, he must go through the laid down democratic process in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to secure the ticket of the party.

Answering questions from State House correspondents after visiting Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Okorocha who said though the constitution allows the president to seek reelection, the APC does not allow imposition of candidates and believes in the adherence to democratic processes.

Okorocha said he was at the State House to hold discussions with the president on political issues affecting the South-east as well as the welfare and politics of APC in the region, with a view to convincing the people of the region to embrace the ruling party.

According to him, it is very paramount for the president to improve his relations with the South-east by physically visiting the region, disclosing that the president was happy with the suggestion and said he will visit Anambra State very soon.

He also said the APC was well placed in the political sphere of the South-east with more people defecting to the party from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the region.

He also said the meeting was meant to make the president appreciate the growing popularity of the party in the region, adding that politicians hardly defect to the PDP from APC in the South-east but vice-versa.

Okorocha said he also discussed the deplorable state of roads infrastructure in the region with the president, stating that the South-east was in dire need of good roads but expressed hope that the situation would improve in view of the assurance by the federal government to tackle the challenge.

Also Thursday, the president approved the membership of the proposed National Minimum Wage Committee, which will be inaugurated in no distant time.

Making this disclosure after visiting the president in the State House, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Nigige, who recalled the federal government’s promise to address minimum wage issue, said the date for the inauguration of the committee would be determined as soon as members of organised labour return from the meeting of the Labour Governing Board in Geneva, Switzerland.

“When we came to power in 2015, there was a pledge to address the minimum wage, and by May 2016, we had an increase in the price of petroleum products and we started discussions with organised labour.

“One of the agreements was that the issue (minimum wage) would be addressed. The last review expired last year August and we are now in the process of empaneling a new national minimum wage committee.

“I have cleared the appointments with the president today and as soon as the labour leaders come back from the Labour Governing Board meeting in Geneva, we will take a date with the governors because it is a tripartite committee involving the federal and states governments and the private sector comprising the Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). These are the arms that will be involved.

“The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and their affiliates have done their nominations, so what we are now trying to fine tune is the date for inauguration,” Ngige said.

Ngige, who said discussions with the affected parties would decide whether the N56,000 minimum wage being demanded by the workers is achievable, noted that various jobs had been created by the agricultural policy of this government.

He disclosed that between five to seven million jobs had been created so far.