Sunday, 29 June 2014

No to Privatization of Refineries:

Labour Unions Must Uncompromisingly Oppose This Daylight Robbery

Press Statement

The Nigerian government is hell-bent in taking Nigeria to an economic road to perdition with its rabid implementation of neo-liberal policies. The latest in the phase is the privatization of the state-owned oil refineries. If allowed, this policy will further worsen the already unbearable living conditions of the majority. It will imply the fate of working and poor Nigerians being determined by the profit interests of few capitalists. This therefore bring to fore the need for the labour movement, especially the in-house unions and the labour centres (NLC and TUC) to oppose this daylight robbery consistently and with organized mass actions

According to Benjamin Dikki, the Director General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) in Guardian newspaper (28/06/2014), government has concluded all arrangement to privatize the refineries, safe for the opposition from labour unions, especially National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers’ Union (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN). He further stated that the labour unions “want to be stakeholders in the privatization process” and that National Council on Privatization (NCP) has conceded some shares of the privatized firms to workers.

This to us in the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) is an attempt to buy working people’s long-term interests for a pot of mess. SPN calls on leadership of labour unions including NUPENG, PENGASSAN, NLC and TUC not to accept this fraudulent arrangement, as this will be jeopardizing the interests of the working people in the name of being stakeholders and partners in a gargantuan economic racket. . Rather than being partners with government in this privatization fraud, labour movement should declare civil mass actions including strike and mass protests, if government should go ahead with its plans.

Labour unions should not repeat the error made during the privatization of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), whereby labour unions were duped by the government in the name of worthless engagement and resolution of labour matter. We believe that the central labour matter is that workers and their unions must oppose privatization in principle as well as in action. Privatization of the electricity companies has neither improved electric power supply, nor has it led to improvement in the working conditions of workers. On the contrary, things have actually gotten worse. Aside power generation and supply dwindling in spite of huge profit the private buyers are making, thousands of jobs have been regularly axed by the private buyers. Many retrenched workers are still denied their entitlements, while many workers are currently working as casuals. In the face of all this failure, the private buyers, with direct support from government have hiked electricity tariff by more than 100 percent since the privatization in November 2013.

Therefore, it will be criminally shortsighted to believe against reality that privatization of the refineries can bring different outcome. It will be another monumental failure, with the working people paying the price. Subsidy fraud in which billions of dollars were looted by private businesses in conjunction with politicians and top bureaucrats reflects the fraudulent character of Nigeria’s capitalist class. Privatization of refineries will mean massive retrenchment of workers, casualization of labour, and deregulation of fuel prices, meaning pricing of fuels out of the reach of the poor and working people. On the other hand, it will mean concentration of wealth in the hands of a few rich. Selling a token of shares to workers will not halt these situations. It will on the contrary mean workers’ name being used to rubberstamp this mother of corruption that privatization entails.

We in the SPN call on labour unions to maintain a principled, consistent and uncompromising opposition to privatization of refineries, and privatization in general. Labour unions should demand public ownership and running of the refineries under democratic management of elected representatives of workers, communities, consumers and relevant professionals. While we agree that public corporations have been run aground, we contend that this is a product of the bureaucratic and undemocratic running of these public corporations. This has meant top bureaucrats in conjunction with corrupt politicians and their private sector accomplices turning these corporations to private cash cows. They are the ones have that milked these corporations dry, and they, acting along with their global capitalist backers, are behind the privatization project. With democratic public ownership and management, it can be possible to run the refineries in the interests of the working people, who are in the majority. It will also liberate the huge wealth being cornered by bureaucrats, corrupt politicians, big businesses and multinational corporations, for the improvement in living conditions of the majority.

Ultimately, labour movement need to build a political alternative to governments of privatization at all levels by crystallizing the formation of a genuine working people’s political platform with a clearly socialist program

Segun Sango
National Chairperson

Friday, 27 June 2014




Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemns the June 25, 2014 bombing of Banex Shopping Plaza in Wuse 11, Abuja that led to the death of 21 persons while injuring 17 others. Among the casualties is Suleiman Bisalla, Managing Editor (Northern Operations) of the New Telegraph. We commiserate with the families of the dead, injured as well as those who lost properties. As a matter of fact, the Wuse II bombing took place close to the national secretariat of the SPN.

Tragically the Wuse II bombing is only the latest in the renewed wave of terrorist attacks outside the Northeast Nigeria. Apart from this attack, in the last one week there have been bombings in Kaduna and Kano. Besides, this explosion is the third in Abuja in the last two months. On top of this is the continued abduction of over 200 Chibok girls by Boko Haram and ceaseless assaults on the North east by the terrorist group despite the state of emergency and the purported heightening of military operations including imperialist assistance in the region  

The recent bombings and the previous ones continue to demonstrate how incapable the government and the entire ruling elite are in curtailing these mindless terrorist activities that have continued to cause many deaths, injuries and displacement mostly of poor children, women and working class elements. While the rich can afford to surround themselves with massive security or relocate abroad, it is the poor working masses that daily face the brunt of terrorist activities across Nigeria.

The working people must therefore begin to organize resistance through democratically controlled mass self-defence committees at communities, parks, markets, etc to protect ordinary people against terrorist activities. These self-defence measures must be with the purpose of uniting the working masses across religious and ethnic lines to prevent the terrorists sowing division and provoking sectarian clashes and conflicts. Such joint bodies should be linked with the struggle for decent jobs, living wage, basic infrastructure and decent living conditions for all.

We in the SPN therefore challenge the leaderships of both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to lead a mass resistance of the working masses against the relentless wave of terrorist attacks and the neo-liberal policies that fuel them through a one-day general strike and mass protests. The Labour movement must also demand an end to wanton killings and unlawful detention of innocent people by the security operatives under the guise of fighting Boko Haram.

The working masses should however understand that the struggle against terrorism cannot and should not be separated from the larger struggle to rid Nigeria of the exploitative and pauperizing capitalist rule of the millionaires. It cannot also be separated from the need to democratically negotiate and decide Nigeria’s future given the underlying nationality crisis in the country. These two fundamental tasks can only be genuinely carried out by a working class and youth led government basing itself on the socialist ideas of working peoples’ ownership, control and management of the commanding heights of the economy and the right to self-determination.

In this wise, SPN wishes to emphasize that governments that cannot defend the lives and properties of ordinary people against terrorist activities do not deserve to remain power. It is not only the PDP that has failed in this respect but all the anti-poor parties in government at various levels including the All Progressives Congress (APC) as it is the common anti-poor, neo-liberal capitalist program they all subscribe to that continue to provide fertile ground for recruitment into terrorist activities .

SPN again therefore calls on the leadership of the trade union movement to stop its collaborationist tendencies with the ruling classes by embracing the need to build a working class political alternative to contest and wrest power from the thieving, anti-poor ruling elites with the aim of using the huge resources of the society for the benefit of the vast majority. It is the urgent need to provide a striking example in this direction that our party SPN has been formed and recently applied for registration with INEC.

Segun Sango
National Chairperson

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Ekiti Governorship Election

  Urgent Necessity for a Working People’s Political Alternative


The governorship election in Ekiti State held on 21 June 2014 in which the incumbent governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi of APC was trounced by Ayodele Fayose of PDP, may have come and gone, but the lessons should not be lost on the working and poor people. More than ever before, the Ekiti election has further underscored the strategic point we in the SPN have consistently canvassed, that unless there is a working people’s political alternative, different sections of the capitalist, anti-people politicians and parties will only be recycled. This is clearly borne out.

Again, history is being repeated, this time around in a farcical manner. The so-called progressive governments in the southwest are being challenged by the working people, in spite of their huge machinery of propaganda. It will be recalled that Kayode Fayemi, the defeated APC candidate and outgoing governor of Ekiti, came into office in 2010 on the back of mass support of workers, peasants, youth and the poor, who have been under the horrible misrule of the PDP since 2003. In spite of the deployment of huge federal might and state coercive apparatus, the working people rejected the PDP and its candidate, Segun Oni in 2007. While Segun Oni was rigged into office, the working and poor people kept faith with the Fayemi mandate and supported him. Two bye-elections ordered by court in the course of the struggle to reclaim the mandate of Fayemi, saw the defeat of PDP, which finally culminated in the victory for Kayode Fayemi in 2010, through a Court of Appeal verdict that restored his mandate.

However, almost four years after his emergence, Fayemi and his APC (formerly ACN) government has lost mass appeal. The working masses have become disillusioned in the government. This is clearly reflected in the election results. Fayemi lost in all the local governments, while Fayose, the PDP candidate got about 57.9 percent of the votes, and winning with 203, 090 votes, which almost doubled the 120, 000 votes of Fayemi. With no serious report of vote rigging yet coupled with the peaceful nature of the election, in spite of the massive militarization of the election, it can be summarized that the election represent the wishes of those who voted. Of course, there were reports of voters’ inducement, this could not actually explain away the fact that Fayemi is general loathed by the people, as all the major political parties were involved in the inducement of voters. Therefore, inducement could not have been a major factor.

Behind the humiliating defeat of Fayemi and APC is the anti-poor, pro-rich, elitist policy of the APC government that alienated the poor people and made lives unbearable for the majority. In an agrarian state like Ekiti, Fayemi’s elitist and neo-liberal policies could only incur mass hatred. From non-implementation of minimum wage; shortchanging of teachers by refusing to implement the Teachers Peculiar Allowance; wicked hike in fees in the state tertiary institutions; lack of provision of decent jobs; threatening of jobs of civil servants (teachers, local government workers, etc) under the guise of reform, among others, the government showed itself to be anti-people. The minimal infrastructural development, especially road constructions and elitist beautification were used to siphon money out of the state through inflated contract sums. This meant that the so-called infrastructural development could not lead to mass employment or improvement in the lives of the people. While the government claimed lack of fund as excuse to shirk away from its responsibility, several millions of naira are committed to payment of salaries for handful of political office holders in addition to outrageous payment to so-called consultants, while pensioners were dying of several months of unpaid pension arrears.

However, while the massive rejection of Fayemi and his government-by-propaganda shows the readiness of the people to seek a way out of their misery, the blind votes for Fayose and PDP is not acceptance of the corrupt regime of the party or anointment of Fayose, who by all yardsticks, represent the worst of the politics of Ekiti. On the contrary, the defeat of Fayemi, while representing a growing realization of masses that there is nothing progressive about the APC, also reflect the absence of viable alternative to the rot represented by all the major political parties. Indeed, Fayose government between 2003 and 2006 represent one of the worst in the history of politics in Ekiti State. The government was riddled with corruption, terrorism and brigandage that there was a consensus among major bourgeois politicians in the state was to remove him, leading to his impeachment. Currently, corruption and murder cases, arising from his misrule between 2003 and 2006 are still hanging on his neck. In fact, no serious policy or programme articulation could be heard during his campaign. That such an individual could become a beautiful bride shows on the one hand that people are fed up with the nonsensical rule of the APC government-by-propaganda, and on the other hand by lack of viable political alternative.

The central lesson from all this is the fact that unless the working people begin the process of crystallizing a political party of their own with a clearly socialist program of mass investment in social and public infrastructures, and common ownership of the mainstay of the economy under democratic public control and management, we will only be moving in a vicious cycle. Clearly, the Fayose/PDP government will never improve the lives of the working and poor people, because the PDP is premised on gargantuan corruption and looting. It is no accident that the corrupt and bankrupt Jonathan government gave enormous support and interests to its PDP compatriot in Ekiti. It is aimed at sustaining the rotten status quo.

The failure of labour movement leadership to provide a viable platform for the working people in Ekiti and more importantly in Nigeria as 2015 is fast approaching is reflected in its treacherous support for the candidacy of Fayemi and APC. That NLC, which has seats in the leadership of Labour Party (LP), could be canvassing for another party in an election in which the Labour Party contested shows the level of political degeneracy in the labour movement. Of course, the Labour Party itself is nothing more than the junior PDP, with its leadership supporting PDP government and policies, while implementing terrible anti-worker policies where it holds sway. But this is a product of the failure of the labour movement leadership to build the party as an anti-establishment, working class platform. Already, there are reports that the incoming Fayose government may incorporate LP into the government, while LP’s governorship candidate, Opeyemi Bamidele, himself a former prominent member of the APC, may be given a national assembly seat in PDP/LP alliance. All this shows that the Labour Party is irredeemably elitist and bankrupt.

This is why genuine working class activists, socialists, trade unionists, and especially working people, the poor and youth need to begin the process of building a new political formation. It is in recognition of this reality that the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) was established by working activists and socialists, as a first step towards building a genuine working people’s political platform, as alternative to the rotten politics of all the bourgeois but corrupt capitalist parties. The SPN has gone as far as applying for registration with INEC, despite the party’s acutely limited resources, and in spite of the enormous obstacles, some of which undemocratic, placed against working masses by INEC to prevent emergence of a genuine working people’s party. We hope to be registered as soon as possible. This is why we are calling on the working and oppressed people to join in building the SPN as a fighting platform of the oppressed. SPN stands for a socialist Nigeria where the resources of Nigeria will be commonly owned and collectively used to put smile on the faces of majority. More than this, SPN shall join the campaign to build a broader working class political platform that will dislodge all political parties of capitalism and corruption.

The Ekiti elections, while showing the huge enthusiasm among working people to change their conditions, has also shown that without building a genuine working and poor people’s political party, this enthusiasm can only lead to recycling of various sections of the bankrupt and corrupt capitalist politicians. Join SPN today.

Segun Sango
National Chairperson, SPN