Monday, 24 March 2014

SPN Condemns Aregbesola Government’s Insensitive Attitude to Retirees’ Plight

We support Pensioners’ protest to demand for their rights

We commend Ondo State workers for rejecting the Contributory Pension Scheme


The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Osun State Chapter condemns in strong terms the continued but wicked insensitivity of the Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola-led Osun State government to the plight of the retirees in the state. For almost three months running, retirees in the state are not being paid their entitlements, which is even meager compared to what political officers spend on their ostentatious lifestyles. We give our support to the retirees for the protests organized to demand for their entitlements. We call on them to continue this protest if the government fail to immediately accede to their demands i.e. full payment of all pension arrears and gratuity, and prompt payment of monthly pension. We in SPN will give practical and open support to them in their struggle. We also condemn attempt by the security forces to attack the protesting senior citizens, as we place the cause of the protest at the doorstep of Osun State government. 

Just two month ago, retirees had to organize mass protest to demand for payment of several months of pension arrears and gratuities after the government had refused to listen to their peaceful pleas. Rather than accede to their demands, the government, through the commissioner for finance, was propounding different lame theories on why government failed in its responsibilities. It seems, having being embarrassed by the decision of the retirees to take their case to the court of public opinion, the government has resolved to punish the retirees by withholding their monthly pension payments since January this year. By this action, government is also trying to make government pension scheme unattractive as a way of blackmailing workers into accepting the exploitative Contributory Pension Scheme where workers pension and contributions become free capital for venture capitalists to gamble upon.

This action of the Rauf Aregbesola/APC government has again knocked a big hole in the much-touted but fake ‘progressivism’ of the government and the ruling party in the state. It has further corroborated the position of we in the SPN that the current government/ruling party in the state is not fundamentally different from its predecessors in terms of implementation of anti-poor policies save for media propaganda and cosmetic reforms. Otherwise, the government will not wait for monthly protests of retirees before paying its retired workers, who committed their entire adult lives to the public good. While retirees are suffering from untold hardship, political officers, whose duties are supervisory and advisory, are living extravagantly on the common wealth. The excuse of poor financial situation of the state being touted by the government does not hold water. The resources needed to settle pension arrears and gratuities is not up to what has been committed to the ostentatious lifestyles of politicians in power.

More disturbing is the fact that many of these retirees were forced into retirement by the bankrupt pension policy initiated by the ousted Oyinlola/PDP administration but implemented by the current Aregbesola/APC government. This anti-worker policy asked workers to either retire by December 2012 or join the exploitative Contributory Pension Scheme that will hand over the fate of retirees to the hands of shylock financial capitalists. Many workers who had fewer years in service were forced into retirement because they believed government would be responsible. Unfortunately, a government elected for public good has turned around as a monster. While government has refused to timely pay pension of its retirees under the government pension scheme, it has also refused to remit its contribution to the exploitative Contributory Pension Scheme, thus making life difficult for all categories of retirees. To add insult to injury, cost of living has soared has government, both at the state and national levels, have embarked on neo-liberal policies that have made life more miserable for vast majority of the populace. School fees in the state-owned university, UNIOSUN, are as much as N150, 000 while an average student in LAUTECH (a university jointly owned by Oyo and Osun States) pays as much as N80, 000, in a state where minimum wage of N18, 000 has not been implemented. 

Consequently, we call on labour movement, whose membership includes pensioners, in the state to take the issue of retirees as a labour issue. The current situation where the labour leaders hardly show any interest in the plight of retirees, even they are co-opted into government’s pension advisory committee, where they draw allowances, is worrisome. As we commend retirees for taking their destinies in their own hands through open protests, we also call on pensioners’ union, NUP, in Osun State to take government to task, by mobilizing all sections of the union to fight for adequate pension for retirees. 

While we call on labour movement in Osun State to take up the issue of unpaid pension, we also want to commend workers in Ondo State for rejecting the obnoxious and exploitative Contributory Pension Scheme, which can only multiply the suffering of workers and retirees. The Scheme is an attempt by government to shirk its responsibility of ensuring living pension for workers by handing pension of workers to profit-making ‘investors’, who want to feed fat on the misery of poor retirees. We call on workers and labour movement in Osun State and nationally to follow this example and demand a living pension tied to the cost of living for all workers.


Alfred Adegoke                                                          Kola Ibrahim
State Chairman                                                           State Secretary




The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemns in strong terms gross irregularity in the salaries of the lecturers of the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), the state owned institution over the past three years. The lecturers, whose several appeals to the All Progressive Congress (APC) led government of Ibikunle Amosu of Ogun state to correct the anomaly have been consistently ignored, in their hundreds embarked on a protest march on March 17, 2014 to press home their demands. The protest saw the lecturers trekking about 7km from the mini-campus to the permanent site, where they handed their protest letter to the Vice Chancellor for onward delivery to the governor.

This development portends grave danger to the smooth running of academic activities in the institution. This undoubtedly will have negative effects on the students, if the government continues to refuse to meet the just demands of the lecturers, who are poised for a strike action. This will again send the students, who just recently resumed after about 6 months at home due to ASUU national wide strike, out of school.

It is hypocritical for a government led by a party that claims to be ‘progressive’ to deprive workers of their legitimate wage! Besides, this is a government that has generated huge sum of money in the same institution from exorbitant fees and other numerous charges levied by the management. Yet, the university remains grossly underfunded, with concomitant effects of decayed facilities, and harsh learning environment. One of the worst in the country!

It is a similar situation in the state public primary and secondary schools, where consistent neglect over the years has left facilities not only inadequate but also in terrible conditions. Indeed, school teachers under the auspices of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) have already issued a notice of strike action over backlog of unpaid salaries and allowances; derelict infrastructure; overcrowded classrooms; lacks of teaching aids; harsh working conditions etc.

No doubt, attack on public education is clearly a policy thrust of the APC. This explains why the Lagos state government has now priced university education out of the reach of the children of the working class poor with outrageous fees at the Lagos State University (LASU).  Osun state is not left out, where the state government owes teachers in the state owned tertiary institutions, backlog of unpaid salaries, which has led to strike by the teachers for many weeks.

These developments across the APC state have again vindicated the SPN which maintains that there is no difference between APC, PDP, and other capitalist ruling parties in the country as they all subscribed to neo-liberal capitalist policies of education commercialization; privatization of public assets, mass retrenchment of workers; and other anti poor policies.

The SPN therefore calls on all pro-working people organizations: NLC, TUC, JAF, ERC, etc to mount pressure on Governor Amosu to pay without delay all salaries and allowances due to tertiary, secondary and primary schools teachers in the Ogun state so as to avert another rounds of crisis in the education sector. We also demand adequate funding of education with democratic control of education workers, students and parents.


Eko John Nicholas
Secretary, SPN
Ogun State Chapter

Wednesday, 19 March 2014



The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condoles with families of the applicants who died or were injured at the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment exercise on May 15 across the country. We demand payment of adequate compensation to all the victims and the refund of the N1, 000 extorted from each of the applicants. 

We observe that this is not the first time a government agency has extorted money from desperate youths looking for jobs apparently to gratify the greed of top government functionaries. 

The huge number of applicants drawn by NIS recruitment exercise underscores the monumental crisis of unemployment in Nigeria. Even the current official statistics put the unemployment figure at 40 million! It is estimated about 2 million enter the labour market every year with extremely limited opportunities for getting a job. This explains why well over 500,000 applied for about 4,500 job spaces. We hold that this is a product of an unmitigated failure of the successive capitalist governments that have been celebrating so-called impressive economic growth, said to be among the fastest in the world, for well over a decade. 

We welcome the mini protest held on March 17 by the textile labour union against the death of NIS applicants and support the planned protest by Joint Action Front (JAF) on March 27. We however call on both the NLC and TUC to mobilize for national day of protest in the memory of these young Nigerians that died prematurely through the visionless policies of the capitalist ruling elite.

We hold that the governments at all levels irrespective of political parties are culpable of the failure to provide decent job opportunities for youths and working people. All the parties currently in political power (PDP, APC, LP and APGA) subscribe to neo-liberal capitalist economic agenda that promote a "government has no business in business" principle and prioritize profits and privileges for a tiny few at the expense of the vast majority. This explains why the governments at all levels will rather loot public resources at their disposal than to commit them to job creation, social service provision and infrastructure development. All the jobs that are purportedly being created through different schemes by the federal government and states like Osun, Oyo and Ekiti are essentially casual jobs on poverty wage without any benefit. For instance in Osun, the OYES workers are paid N10, 000 per month which is even taxable! 

We therefore call on both NLC and TUC leaders, instead of promoting or having illusion in the capacity of capitalist government to address the unemployment crisis facing Nigeria, to spearhead pro-working class socio-economic policies that will ensure that Nigeria's abundant human and natural resources are owned and run through elected and democratic committees of workers, poor farmers, market women, youth and the communities. This is with the central goal of meeting the basic needs and aspirations of all Nigerians, as opposed to the current capitalist arrangement which only favour a few at the expense of vast majority. 

We hold that it is consistent defence of workers interest by the labour leadership on the basis of a holistic working class economic and political alternative that can bring to a permanent end the prevailing mass misery in the midst of stupendous abundance. What Nigerians need now is government, at all levels, that will put the interest of the vast majority working masses at the centre of governance and plan society in a such as way that the needs of the people will be the focal agenda.

Chinedu Bosah
National Secretary

Thursday, 6 March 2014



We in the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemn in strongest terms the attack by the Boko Haram terrorist group on the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe state. We join the millions of the working masses in the country to voice indignation and outrage against this carnage. According to media reports, the death toll has risen to 59. However this, and the subsequent savage attacks in Mainok, Mfaka and Jakana raise a big question on the effectiveness of military expedition of Jonathan regime in the region ostensibly against terrorism.

We hold that the resolution of the Senate for further militarization of the North-east through the transfer of the military headquarters to the region alongside drafting the Chief of Army Staff will not resolve the crisis. This latest attack sprung out despite the state of emergency in the North-eastern part of the country, which has only resulted in attacks on democratic rights while attacks have increased.

We equally reject the proposition of National Conference as a panacea to terrorism by President Goodluck Jonathan in his Centenary address to the nation as a wild-goose chase. To show the negligence and incapability of the Jonathan administration in its war on terrorism, the Buni Yadi attack was preceded by similar attacks on three major Government Secondary Schools and a College of Education, which because of the low level of casualties compared to the attack on Federal Government College did not receive enormous media attention or given proper attention.

For five years now working people have had to endure the brunt of these attacks while the state's repressive measures, including killing Boko Haram's founder Mohammed Yusuf after he had been arrested, have had little effect and will continue to be incapable of defending working people. We call on the working masses in the terror-prone states not to put trust in the military or the state but build self-reliant defence committees with democratic control by workers, youth and the poor in the communities. They should also build independent and united mass actions to reject and resist any attempt to divide working masses along ethnic and sectarian lines. For instance, in Benue state where mass actions have been organized against sectarian violence, such mass actions must not be allowed to degenerate into ethnic altercation between Tivs and Fulanis, but must be seen as a step towards a united working class self-defence action against terrorist and sectarian elements.

We in the SPN hold that the underlying causes for the upsurge in terrorist attacks in the North-eastern region and ethno-sectarian violence in the North-central region is the total failure of all the sections of the capitalist ruling elite to meet the fundamental needs of the Nigerian society. A complete break with this rotten system is urgently required. What is needed to be done is to build a movement so that the mass of the working people to put in power a working peoples' government, on socialist program, that will mobilise the enormous resources of society to meet the needs of the overwhelming majority by placing the commanding heights of the economy under democratic control of workers, youth and the poor masses. This is what SPN stands for. We call on working masses to join us as we fight and work for this alternative.

Segun Sango
National Chairperson