Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Stella Oduah’s N225m Armoured Cars:

Aviation Sector should be under a democratic workers control!

Press Statement

The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) decries the insensitive purchase of two bulletproof vehicles worth an outrageously whopping sum of $1.6m (N255m) for the Ms. Stella Oduah, the Minister of Aviation by Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) against the background of mass misery afflicting the vast bulk of Nigerians. This anti-poor and self-serving conduct underscores why the aviation sector in Nigeria is in deep crisis. It explains why despite billion of tax payers money successive governments claimed to have spent on airports nothing commensurate in term of safety and facilities can be shown for this. Take for instance, the terminals in the Lagos airport still leak during rains, toilets are not working well. This is however unprecedented as former Aviation Ministers like Femi Fani Kayode and Aborishade had been in the past similarly accused of mismanagement of aviation fund.  

To us at the SPN what this has also shown is that the problem in the aviation sector is not primarily that of lack of fund but gross mismanagement of resources. This is why we of the SPN have consistently matched the demand for adequate funding of any public sector with a call for open democratic control by elected representatives of workers, consumers and relevant professionals. 

The SPN also calls on the industrial unions in the sector to ensure that no worker is victimized by the government under the guise of looking for how the so called confidential information concerning the purchase of the bulletproof vehicles got to the public. It should be recalled that the Director General of NCAA, Captain Fola Akinkotu at the press conference held on the issue was not even a bit ashamed about the monumental fraud but more concerned about leakage of the information to the public which he termed a criminal conduct. 

Besides, this has shown the hypocrisy and insincerity of the government that signed into law the Freedom of Information but considers as criminal the leakage of information on corrupt practices that ordinarily should be in public domain.

We support the call for the investigation and prosecution of Oduah and acolytes over the scandal in order to ensure that public officers cannot just loot the public resources with impunity or no qualms. For instance, both Oduah and Akinkotu do not feel that something is wrong with colossal wastage of public resources to gratify their lust for luxury in the name of personal security at the expense of important facilities needed for safe and secured air travels. However, given the regime of public treasury looting and privatization of collective resources that prevails, we do not have an illusion that much will come out from the demand for removal or prosecution of Oduah. 

Besides, we must stress that the removal of Oduah or even her imprisonment will not end corrupt practices in the public sector. The corruption is a manifestation of the bureaucratic and undemocratic ways the affairs of the public sector are run by the appointed lackeys of the capitalist government. This is why we reiterate the call for democratic control of public sector with elected representatives of workers, consumer, community and relevant professionals. This will improve the performance of such sector and ensure that public resources allocated is not mismanaged or looted but judiciously spent.

Segun Sango
Protem National Chairperson

Sunday, 13 October 2013


OSUN SPN Protem State Chairperson Comrade Alfred Adegoke and Comrade Omokunle Oladele Arrested at Gun Point by the SSS

Release Them Now!


Two leading activists in Osun State were today (Sunday 13 October 2013) arrested at gun point by the men of the State Security Service (SSS) while campaigning against the school merger policy of the Aregbesola government.

The duo of Comrade Alfred Adegoke who is the protem State Chairperson of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and Coordinator of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) in the State and Comrade Oladele Omokunle (a member of both organisations) were arrested at gun point this afternoon when men of the State Security Service (SSS) swooped on activists gathered peacefully at a public meeting organized by the Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) and held in the premises of the Fakunle Comprehensive High School.

We strongly protest this nascent dictatorship of Governor Aregbesola and his cabinet in their bid to force through a policy that is being widely questioned by many people in Osun State. This disruption of a peaceful public meeting is an affront and a breach on the constitutional rights to peaceful assembly. We also condemn the arrest of the two comrades as an affront on their rights to freedom of expression and association. We therefore demand their immediate and unconditional release. Otherwise, we challenge the state government to charge them to court if they had committed any offence for organizing a public meeting against an anti-poor policy.

The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) is opposed to the school merger/reclassification policy of the Osun State government because it is a chaotic, undemocratic, ill-thought and pro-rich policy that has only helped to throw the already dilapidated public education system of Osun State into chaos and confusion. For instance, Fakunle Comprehensive High School which is one of the best schools in the State is being marked for demolition to make way for a shopping mall!

The main thrust of the Osun State government education policy is to erect some white elephant projects that can be quickly executed and used to campaign for the next election instead of addressing the more important problems of how to expand access to education, improve facilities and infrastructures in all schools, provide schools in remote villages and towns where they are seriously lacking and employ more teachers to ensure reduction in the shameful teacher:student ratio in the state.

As a working class political party prepared to offer a better alternative to the chaos and retrogression represented by the All Progressive Congress (APC) government of Aregbesola in Osun State, we have been involved in the campaigns and struggle to resist this retrogressive education policy. We believe what the education system in Osun State needs to be revived is massive injection of public funds through increase in budgetary allocation and democratic control and management of schools. If the truth must be told, the Aregbesola pro-rich government and the APC, save for some white elephant projects, are incapable of this.

This is why they are attacking, with the aid of the Police and SSS, SPN members who are resisting their anti-poor policies and building a viable political alternative to rescue the State from them.

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

Friday, 11 October 2013

SPN Condemns Police Brutality of Newly Recruited Teachers in Rivers State

Rivers State Must Give Letter of Employment to all the Teachers

The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemns in absolute terms, the barbaric, undemocratic and inhuman treatment of 13, 000 newly employed teachers in Rivers State by the Rivers State Command of the Nigerian Police. According to newspapers' reports, the newly employed teachers had gathered on September 25, 2013 at a stadium on the instruction of the state government to collect their letters of appointment. According to these reports, many of the teachers, including women were brutalized by men of the Nigerian Police.

This gruesome brutality on poor helpless Nigerians by the police, with direct connivance of the government, shows the level of contempt the capitalist ruling class have for the working people. It clearly reflects the fact that the different sections of the ruling elite are prepared to sacrifice the lives and future of the poor people for their blind and rabid quest for power of control over national spoil. One can imagine the frustration these poor job-seeking Nigerians, many of whom must have been subject of unemployment and poverty, must have felt with this brutality they were subjected to. As expected, in the process of getting these appointments, many of them must have been subjected to various levels of avoidable suffering and stress. To now get to the point of getting letter of employment and be chased away by the same set of people elected to protect them will be more than inhuman to these people. In a country, where more than 40 million people are unemployed, and over 150, 000 graduates are added to this list of idle hands every year; this action of the police reflects the backward and cynical manner of thinking of Nigeria's capitalist ruling elite.

The argument of the Rivers Police Command that these jobseekers were sponsored to protest against President Jonathan, to justify the brutal attack on these hapless Nigerians is at best ridiculous. We ask where it is stated that people of Nigeria cannot protest against a president they purportedly elected. Nigerians have every democratic and constitutional right to protest against any policy or action of government or government officials. This right is clearly inalienable. Therefore, the lame excuse of the Police Command that protest has been banned in the state is clearly illegal and in fact ludicrous. Interestingly, the same Police Command did not "ban" pro-Jonathan government rallies in the state. Worse still, in this particular case, the people who gathered were only there to secure jobs and not protest. Possibly, the Police Command and its political backers saw this minimal attempt at providing jobs for poor Nigerians as a 'protest' against its paymasters' mindless policies that ensure permanent unemployment.

However, we call on the state government not to use this police action as a basis to shortchange many of these job seekers, by undertaking a behind-the-door maneuvering. For instance, the government said it will find other means to resolve the issue, possibly by sending letters to those employed. This to us may lead to shortchanging of many of these jobseekers, with government officials sending letters to fewer people, and claiming the opposite; meanwhile those who could not receive letters will find no means of refuting government's claim. We demand that the list of those employed be published, and another plan must be made to openly distribute letters of appointment to those listed, with the right to seek redress by anybody who feel shortchanged in this process. Indeed, the idea of gathering jobseekers from various local governments in a particular place to get employment, pension, etc, aside subjecting the poor people to unnecessary but avoidable suffering and stress, also reflects the backward nature of Nigerian political class, where every token given to the people is used to feather political nests.

This latest onslaught on poor people in Rivers State itself is part and parcel of the attempt of the Jonathan government to create a police state, not only in Rivers State but throughout the country, if allowed, just to defend the rabid economic and political interests of its class. More than this, it is also a continuation of the long list of oppression poor people in Rivers and Nigeria are being subjected to. In the same Rivers State some months ago, the state governor had used the police to repress lecturers in the state owned university, RSUST, who protested under the banner of their union, ASUU, against the undemocratic re-appointment of an outgoing vice chancellor, which is against the extant law relating to such. In nearby Bayelsa State, the state government arrested, detained and tortured hundreds of youths who protested against lack of jobs in the state.

This continued used of brutal method of armed forces shows that the working and poor people must build a solid political alternative with a clear-cut anti-poor, democratic and socialist alternative against the blind alley the current set of capitalist politicians are plunging the country into. This alternative will mean putting the enormous wealth and resources of the society under the democratic collective ownership of the working people, and subjecting elected politicians and instrument of state to direct control of people. This is the only means of ending the regime of suffering and monumental rate of unemployment in the midst of huge resources. It is indeed the only means of ending impunity by the anti-poor ruling capitalist elite.

Segun Sango
Protem SPN National Chairperson