Friday, 12 October 2012



We condemn the spate of celebration and the deception of the entire ruling ruling class given the parlous state of the economy, excruciating poverty and infrastructural decay .We hold that the fifty-second anniversary of Nigeria’s independence has met the mass of the Nigerian working people in a grievous and appalling state wherein through the innumerous neo-liberal attacks, living conditions continue to degenerate to the barest minimum.

We hold that all the ruling parties of the capitalist elite ,including the PDP at the national level and the ACN,  CPC,ANPP,APGA, LP  etc,  have made life unbearable for the Nigerian masses through their combined   neo-liberal attacks such as fuel price hike, privatization, commercialization and liberalization which all they jointly foist on the already pauperized masses .  

We contend that the working masses must not for once relent in their mass opposition against these neo-liberal attacks as exemplified by the magnificent January general strike and mass protests against the callous fuel price hike. We strongly reject fresh plans on the part of the Jonathan regime on total fuel subsidy removal and call on the mass of the working people to remain vigilant and be ready to resume mass actions and occupations against this anti-people policy. 

We are equally opposed to the sale of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria and the entire privatization of the power sector. We call on the generality of the working masses and the electricity workers to be prepared to stage mass protest actions against the handover of the power sector, under any guise including transfer of its assets to bourgeois sharks and fraudsters like Otedola, Tony Elumelu (who have corruption cases around their neck), IBB and Co.  Already, the initial moves along this direction have resulted in obnoxious increase in electricity tariff and the privatization exercise would only result in job losses and the collapse of the economy.

We are equally appalled by the national flood disaster and holds the failure of the all the ruling capitalist parties, both at national and state levels to meet the challenge of basic and critical infrastructure as being responsible for the disaster. We call on working masses in the affected communities to take up the control of distribution of essential services and relief materials through democratically –elected committees, in order to arrest the worsening and neglected situation.    

We also view with displeasure the current moves of the Aregbesola-led Action Congress of Nigeria to demolish existing structures in state public schools, both dilapidated and non-dilapidated ones and replace them with “fantastical” structures. We hold that construction of any new structure should go on simultaneously with the upgrading of the current non-dilapidated structures. More also, we hold that the organization and implementation programme of the reconstruction of the schools should be placed under the control of democratically-elected committees of representatives of teachers’ unions, principal associations and the  community groups . 

 We are also opposed to the moves on the part of the Aregbesola regime to transfer medical students of the Osun State University to Ukraine for the completion of their academic programme on the basis of the non-accreditation of their Medical School in the state university. We count this as completely absurd action and great show of characteristic unwillingness on the part of the pro-rich and anti-poor Aregbesola regime and the Action Congress of Nigeria to tackle the fundamental crisis of society, which is in this case the proper upgrading of the Medical College of the state university.  
We hold that these elitist and anti-poor policies of the Aregbesola regime alongside the failure to implement the N18, 000 minimum wage and the fresh plans to railroad Osun State workers into a fraudulent contributory pensions scheme shows clearly the pro-rich character of the Action Congress of Nigeria which is not fundamentally different from the ruling People’s Democratic Party at the national level.
This confirms the perspective of the socialists that the working masses need their own independent and genuine political platform that can meet their genuine aspirations. Hence, we call on workers, farmers, market women, youth, students and the poor to join the Socialist Party of Nigeria which is striving to put  in power a revolutionary democratic socialist government in Osun State and nationally.

We call  on the national leadership  of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress with pro-labour organizations including the Joint Action Front to mobilize the mass of the working people for fresh national mass rallies and two-day general strike against total fuel subsidy removal, sale of PHCN, non-implementation of N18,000 minimum wage, etc .

We call for the nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy under the control of democratically –elected representatives of workers, youth and the poor in order to galvanize the enormous wealth, currently being controlled by the few clique in power at all levels to meet the genuine aspirations of the working masses for free and functional education at all levels, standard and accessible healthcare, jobs for the millions, better living conditions and complete transformation of the economy . We hold that this is the only democratic socialist panacea to the current capitalist nightmare that the generality of the working masses are presently trapped.    

      Alfred Adegoke
      Protem State Chairman
       SPN, Osun State Chapter

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

We Reject Aregbesola Government’s “Army of Occupation”

Press Statement:

Our attention has been drawn to various horrible conducts of Swift Anti-Robbery Squad (SAS) recently launched by the Rauf Aregbesola-led Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) government of Osun state. This so-called special anti-robbery response force, comprising police and military men have been reported to be committing grievous crimes and assaults on citizens of the state, especially ladies under the guise of imposing virtue and moral conduct on youths and working people. These acts are totally absurd, crude as well as undemocratic.

In some instances, ladies who were perceived to be wearing what they term “provocative” dresses have been stripped naked and assaulted while young men having different hair-cuts were seriously assaulted. Young men who ride cars are also assaulted and put under terrible traumatic experience. In some cases, night parties are being disrupted by this “Army of Occupation”. These horrible acts have been reported in major cities like Osogbo, Ile-Ife, among others. All of these under the guise of effecting so-called moral virtues in people. 

We totally reject these crude and barbaric acts, and demand immediate end to them. We also demand immediate probe into these cases, and anyone found guilty among the members of the armed forces should be prosecuted. The Nigerian constitution guarantees freedom of expression and movement, including the right of citizens to express their fashion instinct. Therefore, all the actions of this so-called special force are totally illegal and infringement on the fundamental rights of Nigerians. If these acts are not immediately checked, they will soon become a serious cankerworm for the society.

These actions are reminiscent of the medieval ages where some rulers with questionable credentials took it upon themselves to determine and enforce so-called moral rules of the society. We are not in a medieval society, neither are we in a theocratic state. The police are expected to protect lives and properties and not to serve as army of occupation, implementing so-called illegal and unconstitutional moral codes. According to capitalist rule, the army is expected to defend the capitalist territory, and in peaceful periods help in civil activities like road construction, health missions, etc. This is what the Army Regiment is meant for. Therefore, the state government should stop putting the state under the siege of armed men. It reminds one of the militarization of the state by the Oyinlola government, when the impostor government was rejected by the people.

We ask: who determines the moral codes, and what are the yardsticks for measuring morality? While political class’ plundering of public wealth and their failure to provide basic needs of the people including functional education, healthcare and gainful employment, are not viewed as immoral, ordinary citizens expressing their democratic right are being victimized and brutalized under the guise of enforcing dressing codes. It is ridiculous that the Aregbesola government that has not being able to provide gainful employment for teeming unemployed youth is out to criminalize these youth in the name of enforcing an undemocratic moral code or fighting corruption. We see this as an attempt of the government to divert attention of the citizens away from the failure of the government. 

Furthermore, we are opposed to this idea of a “Squad” fighting crimes and corruption as this create a siege environment and confer undemocratic repressive power on police and army officers, who are notorious for trampling on the rights of the citizens at the slightest opportunity. We maintain that this so-called “anti-robbery squad” is unwarranted in the first instance. Already, there is plethora of security agencies in the country, whose effectiveness in crime control is enough to curtail any rise in security challenges, without creating a siege mentality in the society. Moreover, how will handful of gun-wielding police and army officers be able to move round the state to fight robbery? The reality is that when these men are idle and unable to fight any crime, they keep themselves busy by harassing the citizens, under any guise. This is what is happening in the state now. 

We believe that the most effective means of securing society is by giving power to communities to organize themselves democratically and form security committees that will link up at local, zonal and state levels. These committees if run on democratic basis can serve as the main means of securing communities, with support from security agencies. Indeed, these democratic security committees can serve as check against excesses and abuses by security personnel.
It is however important to emphasize that the source of insecurity stems ab initio from the failure of the capitalist political class to develop the economy and provide social infrastructures that are supposed to ensure better living conditions for the people. Despite the huge resources at the disposal of the state, majority of the people are still living in penury with social services like functional education, quality healthcare, potable water, cheap and affordable mass housing, etc unavailable to the majority of the citizens. 

Moreover, more youths are being thrown into the unemployment markets as a result of the backward neo-liberal policies of the governments at all levels. For instance in Osun State, despite the claim of being progressive, the Aregbesola government has failed to provide gainful employments for teeming youths. The so-called OYES scheme has become another source of sheer exploitation and casualization for most of the youths; meanwhile the state has placed embargo on direct, relative decent employment. This means that tens of thousands of youths will be roaming the streets without any sustainable means of livelihood. Also, the collapse of public education and its commercialization (e.g. hike in fees paid in state-owned tertiary institutions, schools of science and unity schools) have made live more miserable for majority of families while health sector has not made any fundamental improvement since the inglorious regimes of Oyinlola/PDP and its predecessor, Bisi Akande/AD. Morevover, the state government has refused to implement the national minimum wage law across the board for workers; using arm-twisting method to keep workers’ income down.

These are the real sources of insecurity for majority of the citizens of the state. Armed robbery is only one of the negative outcomes of these horrible conditions. The government should therefore focus on the provide basic needs of the people vis-à-vis mass employment drive through mass public work programmes; provision of free, properly funded and quality education at all levels; provision of free and functional healthcare at the point of use (and not one-off health-missions); provision of potable water across the state; immediate implementation of the minimum wage across the board; among others. The government should focus on these realities and stop using the state resources to criminalize and brutalize the citizens under the guise of fighting robbery or enforcing a phoney morality.   


  Adegoke Alfred                                                                   Kola Ibrahim
Protem State Chair                                                            Protem State Secretary

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Labour Must Fight for Implementation of Minimum Wage with General Strike and Mass Action

No to Abrogation of National Minimum Wage Law

The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemns the move by the state governors and the National Assembly to remove the minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list. This will mean the abrogation of the national minimum wage law and the leverage for the state governors to pay their respective workers poverty wages. It is not accidental that all the political parties in government are united in this attack on the wellbeing of workers as they all subscribe to the same anti-poor capitalist policies. 

We consider it hypocritical and cruel for the governors to readily invoke "true federalism" whenever the issue and welfare of workers are at stake. But there is no talk of "true federalism" when the governors and other political office holders in the states received the same jumbo salaries and allowances as prescribed by a federal government agency, the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

The Ekiti state governor, Kayode Fayemi of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) for instance said, "As long as Nigeria is called a federation, states should be allowed to fix the wages of their workers bearing in mind their objective realities. …Ekiti, for instance, is second from the rear in revenue allocation of an average of N2bn monthly and yet it is put under the same yoke of minimum wage with Akwa Ibom State that earns an average of N10bn allocation monthly. This is not only unjust, but oppressive to Ekiti." (Punch August 4, 2012). 

Governor Kayode Fayemi wants to pay workers in Ekiti a lower wage than what the workers in Akwa Ibom earn, contrary to the national minimum wage act, but does not mind receiving the same jumbo salaries and allowances as his counterpart in Akwa Ibom as prescribed by RMAFC despite the difference in the revenue profile of the two states.

Presently in Ondo state, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) is engaging in a bitter battle with the Labour Party for the political control of the state ahead of October 2012 governorship election. But on minimum wage issue, like other anti-poor policies, both parties are in firm agreement. This explains why Governor Segun Mimiko of Labour Party shares the position of Kayode Fayemi of ACN on the issue. Mimko through the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, was reported to have said, "The indices of revenue accruable to each state should be adopted in fixing workers' salaries and allowances. It should not be the responsibility of the FG." (Punch August 4, 2012).

The leadership of both Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have threatened to resist this attempt by the state governors to deny workers the right to national minimum wage. This is welcome but not enough. The reaction of Labour to the issue of minimum wage since it became a law has always been mere hot air or lamentation. Well over a year ago the national minimum wage has become operational, but virtually all the state governments have not fully implemented the new wage. 

The national leadership of Labour has left workers in each state to fight it out on their own with their respective state governors. In most cases, the state leaderships of Labour compromised with the governors and got rotten deals for workers. Yet, Labour has not called and mobilized for national action to compel the state governors to obey the law and thereby defend the interest of workers. The plan of the labour leadership, as credited to the TUC president Peter Esele, is to take the governors to court. Apparently after this they would go back to bed and await the technicality of the law to do battle. This plan of Labour is just to while away time and create impression that something is being done. There is no guarantee that the governors who do not obey a law which is unambiguous would readily respect a court order which could even be challenged up to the Supreme Court and thereby making the litigation to last many years. What is required to force the hand of the governments is struggle. The new minimum wage was won by struggle and it has to been enforced by struggle. The labour leaders do not lack the most appropriate of arguments as well as undisputable facts to puncture the fallacious claims of the state government on federalism and revenues. The problem is the lack of resolve to fight the governments, with whom they enjoin strategic partnership, with the might of workers.

We of the SPN call on the Labour leadership to take struggle of the minimum wage much more serious. For instance at the last National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the NLC held on August 8, 2012 in Benin there was no plan of action to fight for the full implementation of the new wage. It was all lamentation about the plan of the government to remove the minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list. We agree that this has to be fought but the implementation of the minimum wage which is already a law requires immediate action from the Labour. We call on the Labour leadership to immediate come up with a plan of actions that should include 48-hour warning general strike and mass mobilization of workers and other sections of the working people for national action. We call on Labour activists and ordinary workers to begin to agitate right from workplaces for serious action by Labour leadership on the minimum wage along the lines we have proposed. 

We strongly hold that the state governments have the means to pay the new wage, the problem is the anti-working people character of the all the big parties who are only in government for self-serving interest. The payment of the minimum wage means that there will be reduction in the resources set aside for looting which they are not ready to sacrifice. Besides, we hold that drastic reduction in jumbo salaries and allowances of top government functionaries as well as the elimination of wastages like outrageous foreign trips and bloated number of aids to top political office holders would free up more resources to pay minimum wage and finance social program. The capitalist parties in government cannot carry out these measures. This is one of the reasons the working people have to chase these anti-poor parties out of power. If the SPN is in power all political office holders will be placed on the salary structure of civil servants while their democratically audited incidental expenses are borne by the government. We will also enshrine the democratic control by the working people of all the facets of economy and governance. This for instance means that public works on road construction will be subjected to the democratic control of the workers and communities. We call on workers, youths and the poor to join the SPN today and contribute to the building of a party that is for millions and not a few multi-millionaires looters!

Segun Sango
Protem National Chairman