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.
National Chairperson, SPN