President Muhammadu Buhari’s overwhelming victory in the February 23 Presidential election and his enduring rapport with the labour movements are consequences of his people-friendly policies. 

The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) believes that this is why the labour movements opted to use May day to celebrate the President rather than a day for protests and workers agitation which is the hallmark for labour day world-wide.

In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO said that this relationship is a fitting testament to the manner President Buhari had been operating in the last four years.

“That the President is a friend of the average Nigerian is incontestable. No one would forget in a hurry how Buhari looked state governors in the eyes and wondered how they could afford to sleep at night knowing well that they were owing workers several months’ salary arrears!

“This was what led to the disbursement of approximately N1.75tn as extra-statutory bail-out funds to the states since the advent of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, to enable them pay a backlog of salaries.

“That singular act saved the jobs of millions of civil servants across the country whose could have been retrenched as a result of the inability of states to pay salaries.

“There is also the $5.4bn Paris Club refund paid in three tranches and which was meant to re-inflate the economy in states that were too broke to carry out several of their official responsibilities.

“We make bold to say that President Buhari’s focus was solely on the people when he approved the disbursement of bail-out funds and Paris Club refund, and invariably stopped what could have been mass retrenchment of workers especially in the aftermath of the 2015 recession”.

The pro-Buhari group said it is worthy of note that President Muhammadu Buhari directed that all sorts of outstanding arrears must be paid to the workers, including those stretching as far back as the Obasanjo’s years. 

There is also the payment of pension to former Biafra policemen who were pardoned by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2000 who commuted their dismissal to retirement.

“Their years of waiting for respite ended in 2017 with President Buhari directive to the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) to commence payment of pension benefits to the retired personnel and their next of kin.

“Another set of beneficiaries were the retrenched Nigerian Airways workers, numbering over 5000, who were practically abandoned by successive administrations, until President Buhari said enough was enough and subsequently ensured the settlement of their outstanding benefits.

“Then there was the arrears owed to more than 100,000 pensioners from the civil service and 76,310 others from about 186 agencies who have also been paid in the last 4 years. So it is no surprise that the President got a resounding endorsement for a second term in office.”

The added that the President’s affinity with the masses has been further boosted with recent international affirmation of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) as the largest of its kind in Africa.

“There is no way any assessment of President Buhari’s first term in office would be conducted without a mention of schemes like Trader Moni and Market Moni which have provided several billions of naira to over 2 million petty traders across the States of the Federation.

“The Homegrown school feeding programme is providing new opportunities for over 100,000 cooks while ensuring that 9.5 million children get one meal a day in 30 States.

“All these alongside the new national minimum wage approved by the federal government show that the President is indeed people-friendly and would always put the average Nigerian first in policy formulation.”