· 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, www.4icu.org, 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.
Protem National Chairperson