Four (4) day working week in Kaduna state: The dangerous implications — By Emmanuel Gandu

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INTRODUCTION

Kaduna state government will commence a transition to a four – day working week from 1st December 2021.

This was contained in a circular on 29/11/2021, and singed by Muyiwa Adekeye, special adviser to Governor Nasir El Rufai on media & communication.

With this in place, Friday will be a free working day for Kaduna state government workers.

IMPLICATIONS

(1) Prelude to down sizing of workers:
The 4 day working week is preparatory, a justification, and Prelude to down sizing of the state government work force.

This will also lead to a drastic reduction in new employment of the teaming graduates into the state civil service.

(2) Rise in religious conflict:
Religious claims and counter claims by Muslims and Christians will become the order of the day.

By this action, El Rufai is likely sowing the seeds that may divide the country into a Muslim and Christian Nigeria.

The battles and the battlefield that will ensue can be likened to the unending Arab – Israeli conflicts especially the case of the ownership of the city of Jerusalem.

Since Kaduna state has been the brewing and boiling pot of religious conflict in Nigeria, the situation may escalate to an uncontrollable ugly scenario.

(3) Exposing workers irrelevance:
El Rufai is in the process of de-marketing the role of workers in national economic building.
He intends to make a case of their irrelevance to the public.

Unfortunately, if this 4 day working week is allowed to stay, the place of the worker in the labour – productivity – output chain will be broken, doomed, and irrelevant.

A situation where the economy of man hours and productivity is sacrificed at the alter of mediocrity of religious equality at these times of economic downturn is regrettable.

(4) Differences in Islamic and Christian doctrines/mode of worship:
Muslims pray 5 times a day hence mosques are built within government offices, government official residences, business premises, markets, and motor parks, etc in order to facilitate ease of worship. This obviously makes it convenient for Muslims to get back to their jobs and businesses after prayers including the Jumaat prayers of Friday.

On the other hand, Christian doctrines demand the observance of Sunday as a day of rest in order to keep the day holy and solemn.
Therefore, and going by El Rufai’s religious equity policy, will Christians not be forced to demand for the building of Churches in every government establishment and residential houses, markets, and motor parks for the sake of that equity?

If this happens, will the erection of places of worship for both Muslims and Christians not litter the whole environment?

(5) Revamp /Resuscitate industries and not shutdown workers:

El Rufai should rather Resuscitate the dead manufacturing companies instead of shutting down production and hours of positive economic output.

The APC led Kaduna state government should revive the numerous collapsed textile factories, build new industries, etc in order to engage the increasing and explosive youthful population thereby reducing the rising level of unemployment with it’s attendant consequences of gun running, banditry, kidnapping, drug abuse, fanaticism, teenage pregnancy, school dropouts, street begging, and such societal problems.

(6) Religion as ”Opium of the people” :
The various religious adherents from both Christianity and Islam who engage in acts of extremism and violent terrorism, destruction of life and property, all in the name of God are only waiting for signals like this to engage in their blind followership and fanaticism to wreck havoc in the land.

Little wonder the great German Sociologist and economic theorist Karl Marx describe (s) religion as the “Opium of the people” (1843).
It is common knowledge that countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Somalia, and others including Nigeria have been paying the price of religious fanaticism.

Do we need to get worst than we already have?

(7) Maximally use Kaduna state population – the 3rd highest in Nigeria:

A call to El Rufai to optimally use Kaduna state population to better the economic fortunes of the state is at best better late than never.
According to the 2006 National Census, Kaduna state is the 3rd highest in population after Lagos and Kano.(Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette Extraordinary No. 2 vol.96 Abuja 2nd February, 2009)

El Rufai should therefore channel this huge population of human capital into full positive man hours in order to maximize productivity, increase on investment, ensure economic ventures, and guarantee growth rather than this unproductive holidays all in the name of religious equity.

(8) Dividing Nigeria on Religious lines?:
If this Friday free 4 day working week policy is not well managed, Nigeria as a country may be heading towards division according to religious fault lines – some parts for Muslims and some others for Christians.

Before long, we may witness agitations for:
(a) A Gregorian calendar for Christians and a Lunar calendar for Muslims.
(b) An Islamic Armed Forces and A Christian Armed Forces.
(d) A Christian Supreme Court and a Muslim Supreme Court.

You may recall El Rufai’s dis – invitation to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) August 2020 AGM.

In this incident, the NBA withdrew El Rufai’s invitation earlier extended to him as speaker at the 2020 lawyers annual conference. This action sparked a problem where aggrieved ‘Northern lawyers’ threatened to exit the NBA to form a parallel Northern NBA.

As a follow-up, the Kaduna branch of the Muslim Lawyers Association threatened to withdraw/boycott that year’s (2020) NBA conference.

The reasons for this imbroglio was the NBA’s accusations of El Rufai’s poor human rights records, and his poor handling of the killings in Southern Kaduna as reasons for his dis – invitation as one of the speakers.
You could not have missed this story as it was, and still in the public domain.

CONCLUSION

The calls for the oneness of Nigeria is sacrosanct now more than ever before.
We need to emphasize those things that would encourage “one nation, one people, and one destiny.”

Therefore, to unnecessarily look for those issues that would divide the plurality of our people at these times by those saddled with the responsibility of galvanizing, uniting, and governance of the fragility of Nigeria leaves much to be desired.

Nigerians should desist from putting a knife on the things that held us together for over 61 years so that we do not fall apart.

May God save Nigeria.

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