Friday, 29 March 2013

Allegations of Corrupt Practices at IAR & T

Do Not Cover Up Reports of Investigations 

Press Statement

The Oyo State Chapter of Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) supports the ongoing struggle of workers of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T) Ibadan, against the attempt by Prof. Tale Omole, the Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) to sweep under the carpet the reports/recommendations of the two separate panels set up by the Agricultural Research council of Nigeria (ARCN) and the administration of OAU Ile-Ife to investigate and establish various facts related to allegations of corrupt practices leveled against the Director, Prof. B. A. Ogunmodede and Chief Accountant, Mr Z. K. Tejumola of the institute.

As a Party of workers, youths, and the entire poor strata of the society, we of SPN also lend our voice and support to the call for an immediate and unconditional implementation of this report and immediate payment of the salary of the striking workers which had been withheld since December, 2012 till date by the Prof. Ogunmodede-led administration of the institute.

Since June 11, 2012, there have been lingering agitations among workers in IAR&T, Ibadan over allegations of misappropriation of a huge sum of N177, 371, 609.50, the money meant for the hazard allowance to the staff of the IAR&T and the false claim by the director of spending the sum of 15million on harvesting as against the N800, 000.00 that was actually spent on crop production activities by the institutes during the year 2010.

Through the sustained and uncompromised agitations of these workers who were centrally organized under the auspices of Joint Action Committee (JAC), the Executive Director of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Prof. B.Y Abubakar and the Vice Chancellor Obafemi Awolowo Uniiversity (OAU) Ile-Ife, Prof. Tale Omole, separately set up two independent panels to investigate and establish facts that are related to the raised allegations.

Subsequently, the separate reports of these two panels by the ARCN and OAU as the financial and Administrative supervisory agencies of the institute respectively indicted the Director, Prof. B.A Ogunmodede, the Chief Accountant(Mr Z.K Tejumola and Accountant 1 ( Mr O.O Adenose) of fraud, financial impropriety and misappropriation of the IAR&T`s fund particularly, the sum of 177,57160.50 fraudulently posted into the institute`s cash book as payment of Hazard Allowance, but, was actually transferred to the IAR&T staff Club Account(Non-statutory account) as staff deduction and never paid to staff, and sum of N15million allegedly spent on crop harvesting.

The panels recommended among other things that these staff should be made to appear before the disciplinary panel for their roles in the acts of impropriety and misappropriation of the institute`s fund; they should be ordered to proceed on leave pending the decision of the disciplinary panel; and that the disciplinary panel should ensure that the entire institute`s fund misappropriated are refunded.

Unfortunately, since the submission of this report as well as its recommendation to Prof. Tale Omole, the OAU Vice- Chancellor who is empowered as the Chairman of the institute`s Governing board to appoint, discipline and/or remove the Director, he is yet to take any serious effort towards implementing the recommendation of these panels. Instead, he constituted a monitoring committee for the institute which will still function under the same indicted Director. To us in SPN, the continued refusal of Prof. Tale Omole to implement the report of the panels is not in any way accidental.

Few months ago, the entire activities both (Academic and non-academic) on OAU Ile-Ife campus was paralyzed for weeks by industrial actions embarked upon by both the Academic and Non-Academic staff over the allegation of impropriety and misappropriation of the university `s fund by Prof. Tale Omole. While a temporary peace has now been restored on the campus, the root cause of this face-off is yet to be resolved. This clearly explains the reason Prof. Tale Omole cannot but continue to refuse the implementation of the aforestated recommendation of these panels, especially when he is also a culprit of similar offence.

Having given this background, we commend the courage and doggedness of IAR&T workers who have resolved that only by their mass and organized actions would the implementation of these panels’ recommendations be forced. At the same, we call on the leadership of JAC to immediately consider the urgent need to give this struggle more publicity through mass rallies beyond the confine of the institute; massive production of materials like leaflets that will explain the struggle and demands to the public and media

However it is important to state that the attempt by Prof. Tale Omole to cover-up the report of the probe panel is not limited to the IAR&T. Take for instance, between 2009 and 2012 over 12trillions of Naira meant for one infrastructural development or the other (Electricity, refineries, Road etc) have been stolen by prominent Nigerian capitalist ruling elites either in politics or business, as revealed through various probe panels. While, millions of Nigeria working masses continue to bear the brunt of these looted fund via infrastructural decadence, individual members of the thieving capitalist class that were indicted through some of these probes are today freely enjoying their loot in the society.

A significant lesson that should be drawn from all this is that it is high time the Nigerian working people began to realize that corruption is synonymous to the capitalist system as well as its neoliberal policies like privatization, deregulation, liberalization etc. In light of this we of SPN hereby call on the IAR&T workers and other working people in Oyo state to join us in building SPN as a true revolutionary and working people's political party that will always be committed to the needs and aspirations of the working masses if elected into power. As parts of measure to accomplish this, all elected political office holders under the platform of SPN will receive not more than the average salary of civil servant while campaigning for the Socialist transformation of the society which entails the nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy and its control and management is put under the elected representatives of the working people who will always be liable to recall.

Abiodun Bamgboye (Abbey Trotsky)
Protem State Secretary

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Lecturers’ Strike in Osun State Tertiary Institutions:

Government Must Accede to Lecturers’ Demands

·        “Opon Imon” Project is mere grandstanding


The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Osun State Chapter hereby calls on the Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola/ACN-led Osun State government to immediately accede to the demands of the striking lecturers of the state-owned tertiary institutions. We condemn the nonchalant attitude of the state government that has made the strike to degenerate to this level, which may lead to disruption of calendar of the four state-owned tertiary institutions. We call on all well-meaning people to prevail on the Aregbesola government to avert worsening the crisis in the education sector in the state.

The striking lecturers embarked on total strike on Monday, 18th March, 2013 after initial warning strikes had failed to make the government yield. The lecturers are demanding, among other things, reversal of the obnoxious tax the government is implementing, immediate commitment of the state government to the contributory pension it started, and for the implementation of the sixty-five years retirement age for lecturers of polytechnics in Nigeria. To us, these demands are genuine enough that should not have warranted a strike had the state government, despite so much propaganda on education reform, shown some level of responsibility.

We in SPN, while we believe that there may be need to tax the rich as one of the means of raising revenue to implement pro-poor policies, we believe that government should not turn itself into a rent-seeker, waiting to just tax the poor and working people to implement its programmes that are at best bogus. This is more so that government’s policies have not ensured fundamental improvement in the living standards and income of the majority of the population.

The state government has not implemented the nationally legislated N18, 000 minimum wage, while pensioners are still lamenting over unpaid pension arrears. Moreover, fees in the state tertiary institutions have not fundamentally changed from the obnoxious level they were raised to by the inglorious era of Oyinlola/PDP.  Public primary and secondary schools are still in their poor conditions as the so-called “massive” school renovations only apply to about ten schools, out of over two thousand public primary and secondary schools in the state. Potable pipe-borne water supply in the state can simply be termed non-existent; more than two years after the government came to power. Road rehabilitation has not applied to more than 80 percent of the local roads that are plied by most of the citizens. Yet, the state government claimed to have saved N35 billion. How can such a government then come to ask for more tax from people it has done little for?

On pension, we in the SPN has always been opposed to the contributory pension scheme, which to us is an attempt at duping workers of their salaries, and relieving government of its social obligation of ensuring living pension for those who have committed their active years to serving the public. We believe that government has a fundamental obligation in giving a living pension, based on cost of living and inflation, to retired public workers, and not deduct from meager workers’ salaries. The reality is that what workers will collect from the contributory pension will be fractions of what they would have collected under previous pension scheme, while handing over workers’ fate to profiteers organized in banks, insurance companies and pension fund administrators. Against corruption and mismanagement that have dogged the normal pension scheme, we call for a democratic committee of pensioners and workers to manage pension funds that government will be paying workers’ pension into. It is unfortunate that our assertion that the contributory pension will never resolve the problem of unpaid pension is being manifested with the failure of the Osun State government to remit its own share of pension contributions of workers. This is callousness, which must be condemned.

The current strike has again knocked hole in the propaganda of the government on education reform. While government claim to be introducing “Opon Imon” – computer tablets – for some students in the state secondary schools, the tertiary institutions lack basic computer facilities and access to modern information technology, necessary for twenty-first century learning. Even, secondary schools where the so-called “Opon Imon” project is being implemented lack basic facilities like laboratories, libraries, sport facilities, adequate classrooms, adequate staff, etc. Even, virtually all the secondary school lack access/connection to electricity. While the government wants the public to believe that the project is a world class that will take education out of the woods, only a fraction of the secondary school students will have access to the computer tablets, if the project is not another grand showoff. This means that more than 80 percent of pupils and students will have no access to basic facilities, yet the government will want everyone to believe that public education is already at global standards! This is mere grandstanding. Government’s failure in the public education sector is already leading to mushrooming of private coaching centres. While we are not against deploying information technology and modern technology in improving public education, the reality is that what the state government is doing is haphazard that has no direct bearing on the fundamentals.

We call on the striking lecturers to reach out to other sections in the state especially the students and their parents, explain the through situations to them and mobilize their support, before government start rolling out its propaganda machine. The lecturers should organize mass activities like symposia, rallies, distribution of leaflets, etc Already, the state Deputy Governor, who also doubles as the Commissioner for Education is blackmailing students, who are demanding immediate concession to lecturers’ demands as being sponsored, while a protest by students of Osun State College of Education (OSCOED), Ilesha, on Tuesday, 19th March, 2013 was heavily attacked by government-sponsored police, who used live ammunition and arrest to attack the students. We condemn this kind of strong arm approach of a government that claimed to have come to power on popular support.


 Alfred Adegoke                         Kola Ibrahim

State Protem Chairman        State Protem Secretary

Friday, 22 March 2013


A Dangerous Attempt to Monetise the Electoral Process

The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemns in strong terms a new decision taken by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after a meeting with registered political parties to increase administrative fees payable by groups wishing to register as a political party from N100, 000 to N1 million.

This is an affront on democracy and the rights of Nigerians to participate in the electoral process as well as on the right to freedom of association. More importantly it is an attempt to shut out the working and poor masses of Nigeria from the electoral process by making politics, including the right to form political parties and contest elections, the exclusive preserve of the rich few most especially the thieving members of the ruling elites.

INEC's alleged the reason for this flagrant and undemocratic decision is to "ensure that only serious groups are registered as political parties". To us in the SPN, this excuse is not only laughable, it is also ridiculous.

It is not part of the mandate of INEC to determine by fiat, or through astronomical increases in administrative fees, the seriousness or otherwise of any group wishing to register as a political party. The 1999 Constitution already spells out the terms and conditions that must be met by groups wishing to register as political parties. Any group that is able to meet these conditions is supposed to be automatically deemed eligible for registration. It is the responsibility of the electorate to thereafter determine the seriousness or otherwise of every registered political party. INEC's latest decision is therefore noting but an attempt to erect an artificial barricade in the path of popular democracy.

Against this background, the decision of INEC to increase administrative fees for party registration is not only illegal and undemocratic, it is equally an attempt to arrogate to itself dictatorial functions not provided for nor authorised by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We need to draw the attention of the Nigerian public to the fact that in South Africa, only about 500 Rand (about N8, 500) is required as administrative fees for registration of political parties.

However contrary to this face-saving excuse, the real agenda of INEC and Nigeria's ruling elite is clear: it is to prevent the emergence of pro-working people political parties that can pose a significant threat to the interest of the corrupt capitalist ruling elite who have been, and wish to continue for as long as possible, sitting on Nigeria's commonwealth, in the process stealing and milking the country dry while vast majority are condemned to poverty, homelessness and joblessness.

Rather than an independent electoral umpire which INEC claims to be, the latest actions and pronouncements of the Commission, including its recent flagrant deregistration of political parties, are meant to reduce the democratic space such that there would only be two political parties, both representing the interests of the rich, available for Nigerians to elect during elections. This, if achieved, would make Nigeria's electoral field a two-party system wherein the impoverished workers, the poor masses, the struggling market men and women, the ruined farmers and traders, the oppressed students and unemployed youths would have no political party representing them.

This is why it does not come as a surprise that this undemocratic decision was taken at a meeting between INEC and registered political parties without any report of disagreement or protest voiced by any of them including the self-acclaimed opposition political parties.

We call on the Nigerian working and poor masses, the labour movement and civil society organisations to stoutly resist this brutal attack on democratic rights with strikes and mass protests if necessary. We warn that this decision, if allowed to be implemented, would usher in civilian dictatorship and further restrict democratic space especially now that the poor working masses of Nigeria, more than ever, urgently desire a political party that fully represents their interest and can lead them to take over political power from the corrupt capitalist ruling elites who have, for over 52 years since independence, proved incapable of utilizing the immense human and natural resources of Nigeria to better the lot of all Nigerians.

Segun Sango
Protem National Chairman
Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN)