Wednesday, 3 October 2018

2019 ELECTIONS: SPN ELECTS COMRADE HASSAN TAIWO SOWETO AS ITS CANDIDATE FOR OGUN STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY REPRESENTING IFO 2 CONSTITUENCY


The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), has elected comrade Hassan Taiwo Soweto as its candidate to represent Ifo 2 constituency in the Ogun State House of Assembly. This took place at the party’s primary election on Saturday 29 September 2018 which held at TOF Hotel, Ikare Bus stop, Oke-Aro, Ifo LGA, Ogun State. 

The primary elections was attended by enthusiastic party members from different wards of the constituency as well as party leaders from Ogun State, Lagos State and the national headquarters. This includes the party’s national secretary, Comrade Chinedu Bosah, Comrade Adeola Soetan (NEC member, Ogun state), Comrade Eko John Nicholas (Chairperson, SPN Ogun state), Comrade Afolayan Sunday (Treasurer, SPN Ogun state), Comrade Rufus Olusesan (Chairperson, SPN Lagos State), Mrs. Ronke Adebayo (Treasurer, SPN Lagos State) and Comrade Shoyombo (Publicity Secretary, SPN Lagos state).


Comrade Soweto is a Socialist and also a labour and youth activist. He is the national coordinator of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC). Through the ERC, comrade Soweto has led major campaigns across the length and breadth of the country to defend the rights to better funded, well-equipped and democratically-managed public education system. He has also been a consistent advocate and a vocal voice for the recognition of the rights of workers, women, youth and the downtrodden.

Ifo 2 constituency comprises some of the least-developed communities in Ogun State including Alagbole, Agbado, Ope-Ilu, Adiyan, Giwa/Oke-Aro, Matogbun, Maidan, Legun, Olambe and Akute just to mention a few.

While presenting the party’s flag to the candidate, Comrade Adeola Soetan, SPN NEC member representing Ogun State described the terrible condition of roads in the constituency as something below the standard of public infrastructures in war-thorn countries. “Even in Afghanistan or Somalia, roads there are not this terrible. It makes me want to ask whether you have any government in Ogun state. I think the state of your roads is the more reason why you need to vote in someone who can represent you effectively at the Assembly to draw in development”.


In his acceptance speech, Comrade Soweto blamed the lack of development in the constituency on decades of neglect by successive anti-poor governments in Ogun State and the ineffective and self-serving representation by Honourable Ganiyu Oyediji of the All Progressive Congress (APC) who currently represents the constituency in the Assembly.

“The terrible state of our roads, the poor state of public education and healthcare and the absolute lack of jobs and economic opportunities in the constituency is a direct result of the conspiracy of the Ogun State government with the active connivance of the Honourable member representing Ifo 2 to keep our people in misery. The raining season is here and you can see how our people wallow in mud to go about their daily activities. When dry season comes, people and children fall sick regularly because of the enormous dust that envelopes you when you walk or drive over the untarred roads. Unfortunately neither the governor nor honourable Ganiyu Oyediji cares. Just look around to see how many uncompleted projects litter the community. In addition, the terrible state of roads and public infrastructure has constituted a danger to our people and particularly the children. Just few weeks ago, exactly on Sunday 16 September 2018, a 14 year old girl, Damilola Adegboye was swept into an open canal from which she has not been found up till now”.

Going further, he said “My campaign is about the issues of lack of development, jobs and economic opportunities for our communities. It is about getting justice for Damilola Adegboye and preventing another child from suffering the same fate. As an activist and advocate, I intend to use the enormous powers and influence I shall possess as an honorable member to fight vigorously for the rights of our communities to even and harmonious development. We shall not take no for an answer because we know the resources to tar our roads, build public schools, pay teachers and build public health care centres are there. They are only being stolen by the state government in connivance with contractors and crooks of various shades. While effectively utilizing all the enormous value of legislation to advance the interest of our people, I shall not stick to legislative routine. Where debate fails on the floor of the Assembly with respect to the rights of my people, I shall not give in but march on the streets with my constituents until their rights to live as human beings are respected”.

Soweto who said he believed that political office ought to be about service and not self-enrichment pledged that as an honorable member, he would live a frugal life not different from that of the majority of his constituency. “I shall declare my assets annually and I shall be accountable to my party and constituency. I will continue to live in my rented one-bedroom apartment in the community, I shall not accept more than the average wage of a civil servant. The excess of my salary will be donated to the party to utilize in assisting the struggles of workers, youth, the poor and our communities”.



Soweto also assured that his service will not just be to Ifo 2 but all the workers, students, youth and downtrodden in Ogun State.

“I regard the entirety of the long-suffering workers, students, youth and the downtrodden in Ogun state as my natural constituency. The workers in this state have suffered so many indignities and anti-worker attacks for far too long. The public education sector in the state are in comatose while policies of the state with respect to public higher institutions are anti-poor, disruptive and ill-thought. Ogun State public higher institutions charge some of the highest school fees in the country. All these would be resisted once I emerge next year. The workers, students and downtrodden in Ogun State can be rest assured that with me in that Assembly, not a single anti-poor policy will go through without a stout resistance from me. I shall work with all unions to defend the interests of their members by both using legislation as well as building massive campaigns to fight for free education, reversal of hiked fees, reversal of all politically-motivated sack and expulsion of workers and students leaders, payment of owed salaries and allowances to workers, payment of minimum wage and respect of labour laws by employers and the democratic rights of our people etc. I shall also stand for the interests of Small and Medium scale Enterprises, shop-owners, traders, transporters, informal clusters and farmers against exploitative taxation and other policies that impedes their businesses. I shall fight vigorously for a progressive taxation that puts the heavier burden on rich corporations while giving breathing space for small traders, enterprises and farmers to thrive in addition to regular government support and assistance. I shall equally be a voice for women, youth, minorities and the environment”.



Ayo Ajakaye
Head, Media Relations
Soweto Campaign Organization (SoCo)
Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN)
08064876421

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2019 Elections: SPN Oyo elects Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye as its Governorship Candidate


Four other members as candidates for the state assembly election.


Abiodun Bamigboye (File Photo)

The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Oyo State Chapter held its State Congress/Governorship primary on the Saturday, 29th September, 2018 to elect its candidates in the forthcoming 2019 general elections in the state. This event which was organized at the event centre owned by the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, Oyo State Chapter was presided over by a three-man electoral committee comprising Barrister Alfred Adegoke, Comrade Kola Ibrahim and Comrade Kolapo Oladapo. Comrade Alfred Adegoke is the National Legal Adviser of the SPN and party’s gubernatorial candidate in the just concluded election in Osun State while Comrade Kola Ibrahim and Comrade Kolapo Oladapo are the State Secretary of SPN in Osun and SPN Chairperson in Oyo State respectively.


 
Party Delegates
At the end of the primary which lasted for over three hours, Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye was unanimously voted by party members as the Governorship candidate of the party in the state. Abiodun Bamigboye is a longtime activist and socialist who is a prominent figure in the struggle of Oyo State workers and retirees against poor working conditions, unpaid salaries and pensions. Abiodun Bamigboye is an Exercise Physiologist by profession and currently the acting National Chairperson of the SPN and the state Coordinator of Democratic Socialist Movement, DSM.

Other members of the party were also elected as the party candidates for the state house of assembly election. These are comrade Adigun Ayodeji for Ibadan South-West constituency 2; Comrade Omokunle Omodele for the Ibadan North Constituency 2, Comrade Richard Matthew for Ona-Ara Constituency 2 and Comrade Qudus Folorunsho for the Oluyole constituency 1.

None of these individuals who emerge as candidates of SPN paid nomination fees or any other kind of charges. They were elected because of their long-term commitment to the socialist programmes of the party which among other things is the collective ownership of the state resources under the control and management of the committee of workers, youths and poor masses and the judicious use of same for the needs of the people to uplift their standard of living. This is against the prevailing situation in the state where the state resources is often used to advance the profit interest of the few billionaires who are either in government or masquerades as contractors.

Abiodun Bamigboye in solidarity song with members of  Electoral Committeee: Alfred Adegoke (SPN National Legal Adviser) and Kola Ibrahim (Osun State Secretary)

The 38 years old Abiodun Bamigboye, revealed during his acceptance speech that an SPN-led government will be committed to three cardinal programme. These are free and quality education, free and quality basic health care and publicly driven infrastructure and agricultural programme with capacity to guarantee massive and gainful employment opportunity and begin to alleviate poverty and insecurity in the state. To guarantee these, SPN will place its elected political office holders on the salary and allowance earned by civil servants. An elected Governor under SPN will not receive security vote and any other jumbo allowance. Instead, all resources and allocations including on security will be publicly declared and subjected to a democratic control and management of committee of workers, artisans, traders, community people and relevant professionals
 

The regime of Contract system will be abolished under an SPN-led government. All public works including construction, renovation and repair of roads, hospitals, schools will be done through a public work programme by the ministry of works. All past regimes, contractors and the debt incurred in the name of the state will be probed by the committee of Civil servants, students, professionals (lawyers, doctors, lecturers), Artisans, clergy men/women. All big business owners and billionaires in the state will be appropriately taxed to finance public utilities while all forms of obnoxious taxes like security tax imposed on the poor people by the Ajimobi-led government will be reversed and cancelled.

All the elected candidates of the party later signed an oath that they will always defend the socialist programme of the party. Barrister Alfred Adegoke in the closing remark revealed that all the elected Candidates will later be led to court to swear to an affidavit in order to give the oath a legal backing.
 
Comrade Kolapo Oladapo                                                         Comrade Ayodeji Adigun
 (08032282084)                                                                                      08034817064   
State Chairperson                                                                              State Secretary

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

SPN SUPPORTS NATIONWIDE WARNING STRIKE DECLARED BY THE NLC, TUC AND ULC OVER NEW NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE


URGENT STEPS NEEDED TO MAKE THE STRIKE SUCCEED

Press Statement
 
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) throws its weight behind the decision of the three labour federations – the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC) – to commence a nationwide warning strike by the midnight of Wednesday 26 September 2018 following the expiration of the 14 days ultimatum the labour centres issued to the federal government to demand the reconvening of the tripartite committee on the new national minimum wage to conclude its work on setting the new national minimum wage. 

 The Tripartite Committee, which comprises representatives of labour, federal and state governments and private employers of labour, is a body the government has created to work out the figures of a new national minimum wage. This committee has been asked by the Minister of Labour to adjourn indefinitely in a move which is suspected to be an attempt by the Buhari/Osinbajo fundamentally anti-worker government to frustrate the possibility of a new national minimum wage coming into being this year. In fact this committee has been used as a ploy to divert labour from actually struggling to win a higher minimum. At the same time the government has been lying to working people, back in February Labour Minister Ngige told the NLC’s 40th anniversary celebration that the new minimum wage would start sometime between July and September, but nothing happened.
 
Support the Strike!

To be clear, this is a strike that must be supported by the entirety of workers, youth and oppressed. Not only is a new national minimum wage legally due since two years ago, the increase in pump price of petroleum products, inflation, naira devaluation, increase in electricity tariff amongst others have increased the cost of living for Nigerian workers and their dependants. Today the N18, 000 minimum wage is not worth more than $50 – a poverty wage that is not adequate for any category of worker. 

But true to type, the Buhari/Osinbajo government like all previous capitalist governments has shown clear insincerity about the minimum wage. Rather it is only using the promise to pay minimum wage as a ploy to ingratiate itself with workers with a view to getting their votes in the coming 2019 general elections. The snail-pace of negotiations at the tripartite committee whose work has now been suspended by the Minister of Labour as well as the lack of any provision for a new national minimum wage in the 2018 budget strongly confirms this. 

We therefore commend the three labour centres for uniting to jointly prosecute this struggle. This form of unity in struggle has been a demand of the SPN for some time now in order to overcome the divisions that currently exist. It would be important for the labour movement to build on this and extend this spirit of solidarity into the rank and file of each of the federations.

On the Question of Tactics

The obvious question now is: how to make this strike successful and win a living minimum wage? We don’t want to see a repeat of the failure of the poor prepared strike called in May 2016.

Labour needs to be clear on what is the character of the nationwide warning strike. How many number of days would it last? Sadly nothing in labour’s statements to the media indicate concretely the character of the strike apart from the fact that it is a warning strike to be implemented nationwide. But a press statement signed by NLC General Secretary, Peter Ozo-Eson, the NLC declared that “The nationwide warning strike will remain in force until further directives are conveyed,” (Premium Times 25/9/2018). By this it seems apparent that, even though the words are not used, what has been declared in effect is an indefinite general strike. 

That labour’s declaration is shorn of all concreteness about the character, nature and tenure of the strike is itself alarming because in reality a warning strike and an indefinite general strike are not the same in terms of preparation, prosecution and aims. This is why even as the labour prepare to commence strike nationwide stating from tomorrow, discussion about tactics are also very crucial. 

On our part in the SPN, we fully support this strike. But, unfortunately, we have to also say that we consider the decision to launch a warning “indefinite” general strike as soon as the ultimatum expired as tactically-wrong and a possible preparation for another fiasco on the scale of the 2016 general strike. A better approach would have been to declare, as a first step, a 24-hr, 48-hr or 72-hr general strike for next week in order to allow for preparations and wider mobilization while using the October 1st independence day celebration as a launch-pad to hold mass rallies across the federation in order to build momentum for a total shutdown from the day after. 

Tragically, it seems the leadership of the labour movement has not learnt much lessons from the extremely limited success of the 2016 general strike whose failure was not simply a function of divisions amongst unions but, in our view, also due to inadequate preparations and failure of critical affiliates of the NLC and TUC to mobilize their members to implement the strike. In order words, it is impossible to successfully prosecute an indefinite general strike without adequate mobilization of the working masses and preparations and without a leadership prepared to seriously fight for a political alternative.

General Strike

Additionally, the leadership of the labour movement needs to understand that a general strike is not a scare-tactic or a weapon to threaten or intimidate government. Yes, a capitalist government can, in order to avoid a general strike, grant some concessions but always with the intention to take back all it has granted as soon as it feels safe enough. But consciously, a general strike is historically a weapon of the working class to galvanize all the oppressed and impoverished sections of the population to begin to fight against anti-poor policies and ultimately aim for political power. By virtue of how it sweeps the entirety of the working class and oppressed together in a torrent of mass activities and by virtue of how every nerve centre of the operation of the capitalist system ceases to function, a general strike always implicitly raises the question of political power i.e. who really is the master of society – the capitalist vampires or the workers. 

Therefore intrinsically linked with the question of a general strike is also the question of a mass workers’ political alternative that can place itself at the head of the mass struggle to end capitalism and enthrone a government of workers and oppressed people armed with socialist programmes. Without ending capitalism, there is no way workers can permanently receive a living wage. Only the reorganization of labour and production in a socialist direction can ensure that workers receive a fair share of their contribution to production as well as an economy that meets the needs of the mass majority instead of the greed of a few.

What to do now

Notwithstanding the above, the SPN supports every effort to make the strike succeed. We suggest the immediate setting up of joint strike committees at national, state and community levels comprising labour leaders, rank and file activists in the trade unions and pro-labour organisations to begin immediate implementation of the strike once the ultimatum lapses. This means from 5am on Thursday and in every city across the country, this committee must deplore to all government secretariats, factories, banks, airports, sea ports and motor parks to begin implementation of the strike. 

Immediate mobilizational materials like leaflets which really explain the issues and seeks to appeal for the support of other members of the oppressed class must be produced in hundreds of thousands. Labour must understand that the mass majority of Nigerians are fed up with the status quo but would not necessarily join a strike if they are not mobilized and their issues articulated. Today the anger is far deeper than at the time of the January 2012 general strike, the largest in the country’s history, which really began as a revolt from below. Therefore beyond minimum wage, such materials must equally demand payment of all owed arrears of salaries and pensions across the federation, decent jobs for the unemployed, reduction in the outrageous salaries and allowances of political office holders, an end to education commercialization, reversal of all anti-poor policies, end to crazy billing and for the renationalization of the electricity sector etc. 

The SPN equally suggests that the general strike should not be a sit-at-home action. Rather public rallies and mass protests should be planned for Friday and particularly on Independence Day on Monday October 1st 2018. This would go a long way in drawing into the strike the army of the unorganized workers and the mass of the oppressed who are angry but lack leadership for their burning anger. For the success of the strike, it is important that real initiative is not left in the hands of the present labour leadership, many of whom have been involved in rotten compromises in the past. The strike committees which must be democratic and mass-based ought to be the real leaders of the strike in terms of deciding what to do on a day to day basis, how to implement the strike and ultimately when to suspend the action. Regular mass meetings to consider every tactical steps must be held from time to time during the course of the strike. We must avoid past errors wherein labour leaders abruptly suspend strike actions from the comfort of boardrooms without adequate discussions with the rank and file at the barricade. Such errors have severely damaged labour’s reputation in the past. Repeating such now would only further convince many that labour cannot be trusted. 

In the final analysis, only a socialist revolution can guarantee a living wage for workers. That despite Nigeria’s immense wealth, workers and retirees in many states across the federation are being owed backlog of salaries and pensions is a clear indication that the capitalist system cannot guarantee a better life for workers and the oppressed. Now the economy is once again faltering which means more job losses and non-payment of salaries and pensions are in the offing. While fighting for the day to day interest of workers, the labour movement must also chart a way out for the working class out of the contradictions and crisis of capitalism. 

This is why we once again call on the NLC, TUC and ULC to form a new mass workers political party or support building of the SPN as a mass party which can be utilized to take political power and run Nigeria in the interest of the mass majority. Unfortunately the Labour Party (LP) is not playing this role, rather the party is in alliance with the very capitalist parties that are responsible for workers’ misery. No doubt, a new mass workers party is urgently needed. Already the opportunity to begin to build one in time for the coming general elections has been lost. But such a force is still needed, not just for elections but for the struggles which will develop after the elections. As a step towards this, we suggest a national conference of trade unions, Socialists, SPN and other change-seeking political parties and civil society organizations to begin discussion about how such a political alternative can come into being.

Abiodun Bamigboye                                                  Chinedu Bosah
Acting National Chairperson                                            National Secretary