Aviation Sector should be under a democratic workers control!
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.
Protem National Chairperson