Not a Benevolent decision but a maneuvering tactic forced by the fear of an electoral defeat!
The attention of the Oyo State chapter of Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) has been drawn to the recent inauguration of a panel tagged “Judicial Commission of Inquiry” by Senator Abiola Ajimobi on the 11th August 2014. To us the initiative of this commission and its inauguration whose mandate is to “look into the complaints and grievances of person(s), corporate bodies, institutions, agencies, associations and bodies directly and remotely affected by the elitist urban renewal policies of the state government can best be likened to a medicine after death.
Therefore, SPN urges the entire working people in the state particularly victims of this demolition not to see this as benevolent decision rather a typical example of how viciously anti-poor government like APC-led government in the state would want to maneuver and deceive the working mass in fear of electoral defeat especially in the face of mass discontent among the working masses.
It will be recalled that Senator Abiola Ajimobi in his first few months into his regime as Governor of Oyo State demolished thousands of building used for different purposes like churches, houses, mosques and shops mainly in areas like Dugbe, Eleyele, Sango, Challenge, Samonda and Iwo Road among others, all in Ibadan. This exercise which was carried out under a false pretence of urban renewal policy without a prior provision of alternative or compensation rendered thousands of working but suffering people in the state homeless and devoid of means of livelihood. As a matter of fact, hundreds died due to shock and depression emanated from this kind of draconian measure.
As things stand today in Oyo State, the degree of mass anger against the present APC-led government in the state especially among civil servants is so intense that if election holds today it is capable of undermining the ruling political party in the state.
This is largely due to inflicted pains and pangs emanated from the so called urban renewal policy as well as many other attacks like mass sack of over 7,000 civil servants which comprises 3,000 secondary school teachers and 4000 local government workers; non-implementation of N18, 000 minimum wage, irregular payment of workers salaries etc., under which Oyo state workers groan since the inception of Senator Abiola Ajimobi-led administration in the state
SPN holds that a commission of inquiry hurriedly set up in the run-up to 2015 general elections to look into the complaints and grievances of victims of this elitist urban renewal policies many of whom are now in their grave is not only deceitful but reflects how desperate the APC-led government are willing to make all kinds of possible concession to secure electoral victory over other contending pro-establishment political parties like People Democratic Party (PDP), Accord Party (AP), Labour Party (LP) among others in the state.
As a matter of fact, many draconian rules and laws like arbitrarily tolling of vehicles, illegal arrest and extortion of both commercial and private drivers among others introduced at the earliest period of Senator Abiola Ajimobi-led administration are currently relaxed. Indeed, street trading has returned in places like Challenge, Sango, Iwo-Road, Gate, Mokola among others where many traders were severally arrested, beaten, detained all in the name of proscription of street trading without prior provision of alternative means of livelihood.
This confirms the age-long position of SPN that, concentration on ephemeral and cosmetic approaches like “urban renewal” will not endure except if there is a well-planned massive investment in more fundamental challenges like lack of quality public education, unemployment, poor health facilities, poor basic amenities like potable water, good roads etc.
Unfortunately, all the major political parties in the country today given their pro-capitalist disposition and philosophy lack the capacity to form a government either at federal or state level that is capable of meeting the aspirations of the working masses by guaranteeing free access to quality education; free health services, massive creation of gainful employment; enduring urban renewal policy, rapid industrialization among others.
This is the main reason SPN is committed to the task of defending the economic, political and social interest of workers, artisans, employed and unemployed youths, traders, peasants and all other oppressed strata of the society in struggle for a socialist reconstruction of Nigeria economy where the economy will be nationalized and place under the democratic control and management of the working people such that elected officers will be placed on the salary and allowances of skilled civil servants and subjected to recall anytime.
Finally, while SPN still insists on the need for adequate compensation to all whose houses/buildings and shops were demolished and those whose means of livelihood were negatively altered it also holds that such could be done without inaugurating commission of inquiry which at the end of the day will be tantamount to a means of wasting and sharing public resources among political acolytes who largely constitute the so called commission.
Bamigboye Abiodun (Abbey Trotsky)
Oyo State Secretary, Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN)