Thursday, 29 August 2013

RE: ASUU officials in street brawl with Socialist Party

We write in response to a news article published on Wednesday 28 August 2013 in the Daily Trust newspaper. It was written by Eyo Charles, a Daily Trust correspondent in Calabar. In the report, the journalist alleged that   “leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Cross River state who were on public protest on the streets of Calabar yesterday engaged officials of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) in a street brawl”. Nothing like this occurred at the rally.

As a matter of fact the members of the Democratic Socialist Movement, the organization that initiated the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), are represented in the leadership of the Joint Action Front (JAF) that initiated the ongoing nationwide mass rallies to save education. The members of SPN were much more active at the August 13 protest march in Lagos where the national action to mobilize mass support for ASUU demands and save education campaign was flagged off.  The mass rally continued in Calabar with DSM comrades in attendance with two banners, one for the SPN and another for Education Rights Campaign (ERC). Thousands of ERC leaflets were received from the DSM comrades in the rally including ASUU officials for mass circulation.

However, the major problem by some right-wing elements on the demo was with the SPN banner and the leaflets which had the manifesto of the party. This led to unfortunate arguments and an attempt to arrest DSM comrades, but not the physical fight that the report claims took place.  

Mr. Eyo Charles threw all journalism ethics to the winds when he reported that   “the SPN were also on similar mission of protest but both parties threw caution to the wind and engaged in a free-for-all fight right opposite Governor Liyel Imoke’s office in Calabar”. This is nothing but a fabrication. The procession passed through the front of the Governor’s office without such an incident. It was equally false that “trouble started when each of the parties wanted to be the leader of the protest into the governor’s office”. There was no attempt to enter governor’s office let alone battle over the leadership of the protest as this journalist reported as the leaders of JAF was in the clear leadership of the protests.
It is equally grave, misleading and highly fraudulent   to report that “when SPN leaders saw that ASUU officials, Non Academic Staff of Universities, National Union of Teachers, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities in collaboration with Joint Action Front (JAF) were having the upper hand, they ordered their boys to shove the ASUU officials aside and take over the protest”. The SPN comrades and members of SPN were part of the rally and the ERC banner which they also displayed was at the forefront of the rally, without any opposition whatsoever. To show that this media report was fallacious, only 2 SPN/ERC/DSM members participated at the rally. Where then did the reporter get the numbers he brandished when he stated that SPN leaders ordered their boys to shove ASUU officials aside in order to take over the protest? The only union that participated in the protest was NAAT apart from ASUU members. Again, unions like NASU, and NUT never participated in the rally, so how on earth could SPN leaders shove unions that never participated in the rally. What this reporter did was to look at JAF banner that states thus “FG. & State Governments must Implement Agreements Reached with ASUU, NASU, SSANU, NAAT, ASUP, SSANIP, COEASU, SSUCOEN and NUT” and fabricated that 2 of the prominent unions (NASU and NUT) listed in JAF’s banner participated in the rally.

Given the magnitude of fabrication of this report by Eyo Charles, it is not out of place to conclude that this report was sponsored. What the sponsors of the report is hiding is the fact that the SPN comrades was subjected to harassment by some right-wing elements at the rally, working hand-in-hand with operatives of the State Security Services to arrest the SPN comrades and hand them over to security operatives.

Since inception in the mid-eighties, the Democratic Socialist Movement, which initiated the Socialist Party of Nigeria has struggled shoulder to shoulder with workers, youth and the poor and intervenes in the day–to-day struggles of the working people. We have no problem debating our ideas with fellow activists but oppose any attempt to use physical force or to involve the security forces in debates. 
It is therefore mere mischief to state that “this led to both groups dragging themselves about, punching and tearing each other banners and hurling inventive at each other”. Where is the evidence? No such thing happened. The report is just to paint SPN members in bad light.

Nobody spoke on behalf of the SPN leader, Segun Sango as reported neither was any of the 2 members that participated in the rally was interviewed by any reporter. The report also has it that JAF was also part of those SPN members fought when in actual fact it was  the JAF Secretary, Abiodun Aremu, who was the only JAF national leader on the demo, that resisted the move of the right-wing elements and the SSS operatives to whisk away 2 of DSM/SPN members! In short, this is a self-contradictory report that is bereft of ideal journalism expected of Daily Trust and its staff! We therefore call for immediate retraction by the Daily Trust newspapers and published apology.

Onwunalu Alexander
Protem Publicity Secretary
Rivers State Chapter of SPN
Who also participated at the Calabar Rally

Wednesday, 28 August 2013


* Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) gains deeper echo in spite of right-wing attack
By Ayo Ademiluyi and Onwunalu Alexander

With more than one hundred people in attendance, including workers drawn from Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and students, a small but determined procession took off from the Freedom Park in Calabar, the Cross Rivers’ state capital as part of the nationwide mass rallies called by the Joint Action Front (JAF) to Save Public Education and for government to implement agreements with ASUU and other education workers unions. 

Chanting solidarity songs, the procession stopped at various points within the city to address the mass of traders, artisans, students and community people. Thousands of leaflets by the Joint Action Front were distributed. Equally, the Education Rights' Campaign and the Socialist Party of Nigeria intervened in the mass rally with thousands of leaflets.  Copies of the ERC leaflet in particular were well-received and even taken up by some of the protesters for mass distribution! The ERC leaflet specifically called on the ASUU, which is currently on an indefinite strike action to declare a day of nationwide mass rallies with its rank and file members leading the way, across the local branches of the union. Copies of the current Socialist Democracy, paper of the Democratic Socialist Movement, were also bought by protesters and passers-by.  

The rally however took a sour turn when some right-wing "intellectuals" took offense at the presence of the SPN banner on the demo. They were not only openly against anything "party" but also anything "socialism". They vehemently attacked comrades of the DSM who were circulating the SPN leaflets. Capitalizing on this sectarian affront, certain operatives of the State Security Services who had infiltrated the protest wanted to use the scenario to hand over DSM comrades on the demo to army officers for arrest! 

This disgraceful and highly embarrassing event was timely saved by JAF leaders who resisted any move to whisk away DSM comrades on the false arguments of being "political infiltrators" of the rally. At this point, our intervention in the rally was disrupted. However, this right-wing and reactionary attack that took place at the rear of the mass rally only fuelled strong solidarity and sympathy by those at the frontlines of the demo. It only took time before the right-wing elements were isolated and ostracized. 

Some socialists based in Calabar later met with the DSM comrades to express their annoyance at the action of the right-wing and their willingness to be part of the SPN! They equally took copies of SPN leaflets for mass circulation in Calabar! They equally bought copies of the SPN Manifesto and Constitution with the copies of Socialist Democracy at solidarity prices! On the demo too we equally met a contact from an ASUU branch in in Abia state who came to meet us at the scene of the right- wing attack and gave us his contact for further discussion on the SPN. Equally a lawyer from Sokoto State who was attending the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference, holding on the same day with the mass rally in Calabar, who gave us his phone contact for further discussion on joining the SPN.

We have opened discussions with these contacts with the view of building on the political gains we had from the rally, in spite the unprovoked attack to restrain our intervention by right-wing elements. We left the mass rally, exuding with joy as being among the best democratic socialist representatives of the working masses and the poor with stronger determination to build the Socialist Party of Nigeria!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

ASUU STRIKE: ASUU and Trade Unions Must Mobilise for a Day of Mass Protest

·   Press Statement

The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) fully supports ASUU in its ongoing industrial strike in defence of public education at university level. For a country stupendously rich in human and material resources the current state of public education is abnormally embarrassing. “An international online universities and colleges ranking directory,, has published its current top 100 universities and Colleges in Africa. The top 10 on the list are universities from South Africa and Egypt while other universities from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Ghana, Morocco and even Sudan lead favourably against six Nigerian universities that appear on the ranking. The six Nigerian universities that appear in the top 100 are the University of Ibadan at the 32nd position, University of Ilorin, 34th; University of Benin, 40th; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, 44th; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, 62nd; and University of Jos, 70th position. No Nigerian private university or college made the list.” (The Punch August 1, 2013).

To avoid further degeneration and total destruction of public education, especially at tertiary level, the Socialist Party of Nigeria fully supports and commends ASUU for its ongoing strike in defence of public education especially in the interest of the down-trodden masses. As usual, the capitalist government of the rich at all levels will claim lack of fund as their reason for not being able to meet ASUU’s demands. The Socialist Party of Nigeria urges rank and file members of ASUU and the entire working masses not to believe government’s excuse of lack of fund. Nigeria as a country is prodigiously rich in human and natural resources to guarantee quality public education from primary to tertiary level across the country.

The Socialist Party of Nigeria emphatically states that the only reason why Nigeria’s resources are not being primarily used to better the lot of Nigeria and Nigerians is as a result of the profit-first philosophy supported by the capitalist elite nationally and internationally. We note that the current strike has been on for over 42days, but as usual, no governments at federal and state levels has taken concrete steps to meet ASUU’s demands which itself was wholly based an agreement reached with the government since 2009. The reason for government insensitive stance in this respect must be clear to all and sundry. One, 99% of public office holders and the few rich do not send their children to these public schools and as such are not affected or pressurized by the ongoing strike action. Secondly, working class elements and students must know that the looting elites at the helms of affairs at all levels of governance will not willingly be prepared to commit resources which they have apportioned for looting to beneficial social services like education, healthcare, infrastructure development, etc. Therefore, to put maximum political pressure on government, the Socialist Party of Nigeria urges ASUU and the Trade Union movement to name a date for mass mobilization in defence of public education. This is important to take ASUU’s case directly to the generality of Nigerians and thereby avoid strike weariness that can be capitalized upon by government and their rich backers to defeat the on-going strike with false claim of protecting the interest of the students who will be directly affected by a prolonged strike action.

A national day of mass mobilization and protest by rank and file ASUU members involving students and parents will be the best way to show clearly who the enemy is and shut out the mouth of mischievous elements that would be screaming on ASUU to call off the strike purportedly in the interest of the students when in fact, ASUU’s demands is entirely on about how best to protect the interest of students and public education. The Socialist Party therefore calls on ASUU and generality of Nigerians to take the struggle to the next level starting with a national day of mass protest across the country. The ruling looters are decidedly deaf to reasonable argument. Only a determined struggle of academics and students can compel them to meet the just demands of ASUU

As often stated by the Socialist Party of Nigeria, Nigeria has abundant human and natural resources that can guarantee quality public education from primary to university level. The obstacle towards this end is the unjust capitalist system that prioritizes the affluence of a few over the interest of Nigeria and majority of its people. Consequently, we once again urge the labour movement and youth organizations to embrace an alternative democratic socialist strategy that will ensure Nigeria’s abundant human and natural resources will be utilized for the interest of all Nigerians under a genuine democratic socialist government of the working people and the poor. The Socialist Party of Nigeria calls on workers, youths and poor elements to join us to actualize this mission.

Segun Sango
Protem National Chairperson

Monday, 5 August 2013



Lagos State branch of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemns in strong terms the unlawful deportation of poor people, destitute and beggars to other parts of the country by the Babatunde Fashola/ACN/APC government in Lagos State. It is the height of insensitivity and crudity for a government to illegally arrest and detain poor people for months only to be dumped at other parts of the country at odd hours of the day.

The Lagos State Government in 2009 deported about 120 poor Yoruba people to Molete, Ibadan at wee hours and subsequently deported other hundreds of Nigerians of Northern extraction to the North. The latest is the deportation of 70 Ibos who were dumped them at Upper Uweka Bridge in Onitsha. In the same vein, over 2000 of poor nationals of other West African countries such as Senegalese, Malians, Nigeriens etc., were recently illegally arrested, detained and deported under the guise of fighting terrorism by the combined team of Police, Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Offences and Immigration. All this is not only anti-poor and callous but a violation of the fundamental human rights of the deported victims.  

The Special Adviser to the Lagos State Government on Youths and Special Development, Dr. Enitan Dolapo Badru said that 1,708 beggars and destitute had been expelled from Lagos to their various states and countries since January 2013.  “The end result”, Dr. Enitan stated “is to reunite them back with their families.” How would a responsible government claim to reunite these victims with their families by arresting and detaining them illegally for months and forcefully bundled out of Lagos and dumped in the middle of nowhere?

Joe Igbokwe, The Publicity Secretary, Lagos State chapter of the ACN has the temerity to insult these victims by describing them as people who have no business in Lagos and constitute nuisance. It is the anti-poor policies of Igbokwe’s paymasters that have created the condition for destitution and poverty that made it possible for few people to be stupendously rich in the midst of abundance. Besides, Igbokwe has business in Lagos because he is feeding fat from tax-payers money for praise-singing the Alausa rulers and exploiters.
However, it is not all the victims of this act of illegality that are beggars. For instance, according to Guardian of 28th of July, one of the victims of this mindless attack, Mr. Osondu Mbuto, from Ohaozara in Ebonyi State is a petty trader in Lagos. He told the news reporters that he was arrested on December 18, 2012 by Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) officials for alleged wandering, detained at Ikorodu and finally dumped at about 3am at Onitsha after being escorted by armed anti-riot policemen. In detaining them illegally for several months under dehumanizing condition before dumping them in other states, the Lagos government traumatizes their victims as a warning not to come back to Lagos. This action violates section 41 of the 1999 Constitution wherein every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part.

Lagos under the Fashola /ACN/APC government has become one big prison where the rights of the poor are on a daily basis being trampled upon. Those who are very rich irrespective the part of the world they come from are respected and treated as first class citizens while the poor are daily harassed by the state government. This aside the very crude and undemocratic judicial system wherein poor people who are arrested are subjected to Kangaroo court trial without legal representation or even time to prepare their defense in violation of Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution. The same ACN which pretends to be progressives is enmeshed in absurdity and tyranny not different from what obtains in the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
A responsible government would have invested in rehabilitation and training or retraining of these destitute and poor people in order to make them productive and thereby be beneficial to the society at large. We hold that the ACN/APC government is irresponsible and anti-poor that is why it does not mind wasting the tax payers’ money to hurl poor people from the streets of Lagos and dump them in other states. Fashola government and ACN continue to wallow in the world of illusion and fantasy that things are working well only when there are no destitute and beggars on major streets. How can a country or a state be developed without taking the poor out of poverty? Fashola wants people to believe that Lagos is working amidst growing poverty and neglect of many communities.
The SPN hereby demand that the Lagos State Government must stop this brutal attack on the poor and tender apology and pay adequate compensation to the victims of its act of illegality. We call on trade unions and pro-working people organizations to condemn all anti-poor policies and conducts of Lagos state government and organise activities to resist them.

Chinedu Bosah
Lagos State Protem Chairperson