BUILD NATIONWIDE MASS MOVEMENT OF THE UNEMPLOYED!
For a massive public works programme and infrastructure development to create decent jobs
By Ayo Ademiluyi
Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) Bayelsa State
Security operatives attached to the Bayelsa State Government funded "Operation Doo-Akpo" broke up a peaceful demonstration of unemployed graduates on Wednesday, 26th March, 2013 at Yenezue-Gene in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital. The unemployed graduates, organized under the Unemployed Graduates' Forum, were demanding absorption into the state civil service as promised by the Seriake Dickson-led state government.
The unprovoked attack on the peaceful protesters by the Dickson regime in the state has to be condemned by trade unions and civil society organisations as a vicious attack on democratic rights. The protesters were beaten up, arraigned at a Magistrate Court sitting in Yenagoa and remanded in prison! This in a country where the High Court barred the police from arresting a high-profile pension thief, Abdulrasheed Maina!
While unemployed youths exercising their democratic rights to organize peaceful demonstrations to demand jobs are hounded into prison, highly-placed corrupt politicians like Diepreye Alamesiegha, who incidentally is a former Governor of Bayelsa State, are being given a state pardon by the Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government.
Such is the abysmal fate of working masses and youth in Nigeria particularly in Bayelsa State. Bayelsa State, despite huge reserve of oil wealth and high monthly allocations, is beset with poor infrastructure and extreme backwardness with millions of the poor and the unemployed living in excruciating poverty amidst huge resources.
The protest of the unemployed graduates in Bayelsa should serve as inspiration to millions of unemployed youth across the country to put their destiny into their hands to organize nationwide mass actions across the country to demand decent jobs. According to a recent news report, over 68 million Nigerian youths are unemployed!
This is a huge number that the labour movement cannot continue to ignore. The huge army of the unemployed is itself a threat to the pay and working conditions of workers. As we have seen in Osun, Oyo and other Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) States operating the so-called YES-O or O-YES slave labour scheme, the desperate unemployment situation in the country is being exploited to drive down the value of labour and casualise a large section of the workforce. In a situation where millions have no job of any kind and/or have to work for as low as N10, 000 per month in slavish and precarious conditions, any struggle to actualise N18, 000 minimim wage and improved conditions for workers in the civil service would not only be difficult to win but would risk failing to appeal to millions who could feel left out. This is one of the reasons why the labour movement has to come out with a clear action plan for a national campaign to fight for job creation side-by-side with campaigns against casualization, low pay and slave labour conditions. One of the key demands of such a campaign should be for the sharing-out of all existing jobs with those who have no jobs but without loss of pay.
Together with this, there also must be with a clear call for massive public works programme, which entails putting the resources of society under collective and democratic control through which decent and well-paying jobs can be created to engage every unemployed person and put in place every necessary public infrastructures. However, given the profit-first, neo-colonial and neo-liberal capitalist quagmire in which the entire working masses and youth have been entrapped in, this can only be achieved by putting in power a working people's government on socialist programme.
This poses the necessity of building of a working people's political alternative, resting on a socialist programme, rooted in trade unions, community organizations, youth and students' movement, etc. The Socialist Party of Nigeria represents a bright step in the direction of building such a pan-Nigerian mass working people's political alternative that clearly stands for a genuine massive public works programme and infrastructure development to create decent jobs.
Workers, youth and unemployed people in Bayelsa State are urged to join in launching the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and build it as a genuine working people's political alternative to the current charade of capitalist robbery in the state and nationally. The SPN strives to link the struggle of unemployed people with struggles of workers for better pay and improved working conditions including national minimum wage, and the agitations for well-funded and functional education in Bayelsa State as part of the working people's struggles nationally against neo-liberal capitalist attacks.
· Drop all trumped-up charges against protesting unemployed graduates in Bayelsa!
· Build nationwide mass movement of unemployed people to fight for jobs!
· For a massive public works programme and infrastructure development to create decent jobs!
· For Nationalisation of the commanding heights of the economy under the democratic management and control of the working people