Wednesday, 29 October 2014


As we write, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released a time-table putting 2015 general elections on 15 February next year.

This election will be taking place against the background of colossal failure of the economic, political and social policies of all the ruling capitalist parties, at both federal and state levels: to meet the needs and aspirations of the vast majority of Nigerians. Now there is the new threat that the sudden fall in the price of oil will, given the country’s dependence on oil exports, mean a rapid worsening of the economic and social situation.

Consequently, the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) calls on workers and the trade unions, urban dwellers, peasant farmers, market women, youth and students, civil society and socialist activists, etc., to begin in earnest, even at this late stage, the task of creating a genuine working class political party that will, starting from the 2015 general elections, field candidates to wrest power from all the ruling capitalist parties.
The current unprincipled scrambling and merry-go-round of opportunist politicians jumping from one party to another in the hope of pursuing their careers shows, once again, that they do not offer anything substantial to working people. This NLC is right to call for action against those National Assembly members who voted to undermine the minimum wage, but this cannot be done by voting APC against PDP members or voting PDP against APC members. What is needed is for Labour and the poor to have their own voice.

Labour Party
But working class and youth activists striving to build an independent political platform and programme that can best defend/represent the socio-economic and political needs and aspirations of the vast majority of Nigerians must first and foremost know that, unfortunately, the current Labour Party was never formed to provide an independent political platform for the exploited, oppressed and downtrodden.

The current Labour Party was formed, in 2002, by a section of the trade union leadership and was registered with the name “Party for Social Democracy”. The party was never created to provide an ideological or programmatic frame through which the mass misery of the majority, in the face of stupendous human and natural abundance, can be permanently ended. On the contrary, the party was built largely on the utopian idea that the socio-economic and political interest of the working people and the poor can be harmonised/ reconciled with those of their rulers and exploiters. However in 2004 the NLC, under the leadership of Adams Oshiomhole, for the first time decided to adopt the party as its own political platform.As Oshiomhole then told the BBC the NLC “would back the newly renamed opposition Labour Party. He said that was the only way the unions could fight for workers' rights.” (BBC News, March1, 2004).

However, beyond renaming the party as the Labour Party, nothing essentially changed from the programme and method of the “Party for Social Democracy”. Just as before, notwithstanding the fact that the Labour Party has now been officially adopted by the NLC leadership, the party remains overwhelmingly populated not by workers and the poor but by political jobbers and position seekers. This is so because the Labour Party has refused to articulate programmes and activities that can improve the living standard of the masses and their political liberation. Instead of mobilising labour and youth activists to take conscious steps to build the party, studious efforts were permanently directed at wooing failed politicians from the big capitalist parties to take leadership of the party.It is not in any way accidental that the Labour Party’s own internal election process is completely monetised, the Party operates like the looting parties.

The Exit of Governor Mimiko
The recent defection of Olusegun Mimiko the only governor elected on the platform of the party to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has only brutally exposed the political error and opportunism of seeking to build the party with elements rejected or those unable to actualize their personal political ambitions within big bourgeois parties. Apart from Mimiko, the list of the anti-poor politicians that have used the party to contest but later dumped include Femi Pedro, former Lagos deputy governor Andy Ubah, a former aid of Obasanjo now back to the PDP as a Senator, Ayodele Fayose, Ekiti State governor etc. However, from among those that have dumped the party it is only Mimiko that won election on its platform.  
Meanwhile the NLC and TUC leaders, in the wake of Mimiko’s defection, have been giving statements and impression that they were unhappy with the defection. In consequence they had called for the postponement of the Labour Party’s Mimiko backed convention which held on 11 October, 2014. The NLC leadership in addition hurriedly called a meeting of selected “stakeholders” where a call was made on trade union members of the party to ensure the postponement of the convention which held in Akure, Ondo state. The leadership of the Labour Party fired back to state that the two trade union federation (NLC and TUC, the true owners of the party) had only three slots which were gratuitously given to the trade unions and that even the unions had never taken necessary steps to process these allotted seats. Most significantly, the NLC and TUC leaders totally failed, throughout their face-off with the leadership of the Labour Party, to outline any political differences or unfold any concrete measures to be taken to build the Labour Party of their dreams if their ultimatum that the convention should be postponed is ignored.

As we write it is over three weeks after the Labour has held its convention yet none of the labour and pro-labour elements that  called for the postponement of the convention has made any public reaction to those development or outline steps being contemplated to build a true working peoples political platform.In fact, given that INEC seems to have no objection to the Labour Party’s Akure convention, it means that pro-PDP elements are in control of the Party and it will most likely, as in 2011, support Jonathan in next February’s presidential election. This poses very sharply the question of what initiative Labour should immediately take.
Working class, Socialist Alternative
Genuine working class activists and socialists must note that the absence of a follow-up step to build a true alternative working peoples’ political is the logical consequence of the abandonment, by most contemporary trade unionists, of the steadfast defence of the working masses interests against employers of labour and governance in the interest of imperialism and capitalism. Trade union leaders that are incapable of defending and protecting the economic and trade union rights of their members cannot be suddenly expected to have political understanding and energy to build a vibrant independent working class political party against the capitalist forces with which they have struck an apparent strategicpartnership. For those who want labour to have its own voice, whether they be rank and file members or hold positions, there is a need to act now. The Labour Party’s takeover by pro-PDP elements means that discussion of the next step has gone beyond debating whetherto still try to reclaim the Labour Party or to begin to build a new workers party.

For genuine socialists who have ceaselessly over the years being on the forefront of propaganda and agitation for a trade union based or a true mass political party of the working people, the task posed by the recent developments over the issue of the Labour Party requires a more profound and sobering response than which can be given by pro-capitalist trade/labour leaders and mere socialist commentators.
Therefore, in order to ensure that this exercise does not end in futility like similar efforts in the past, we hereby reproduce a few general points on the programme, strategy and tactics to grow a vibrant working class led political alternative stated in the July/August, 2001 edition of the Socialist Democracy, organ of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM).

“(a) Anti-Capitalist Orientation
If the proposed political party is to be radically different from the existing registered parties, it must have a clearly anti-capitalist/imperialist programme and outlook to say the least. Without this kind of outlook, such a party if voted to power will be compelled to implement anti-poor, capitalist measures of privatization, liberalization, commercialization, devaluation, mass retrenchment, etc. just as Fredrick Chiluba's Zambia.
In Zambia, as a result of the pro-democracy wave that swept the continent in the 1990s, Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) headed by Frederick Chiluba, a former leader of the Zambian trade union federation, was in October 1991 elected into office to replace Kenneth Kaunda's United National Independence Party (UNIP) which had ruled the country since independence in 1964. Tragically, the Chiluba government, despite initial popular support, confined itself within the framework of capitalism. Therefore, it was compelled to implement IMF/World Ban neo-liberal policies of deregulation, privatization and commercialization. The result has been mass retrenchment, cuts in social spending and growing mass poverty.
Under the grinding drive of imperialism and finance capital especially the prevailing rapacious drive to colonise the world working masses and resources under the guise of globalization, it is utopia to have a conception of a functional and rational capitalism in any given country whether in the developed or underdeveloped world.
 In 1986, the Babangida military junta set up a political commission headed by Professor Cookey. The primary assignment of that commission was to ascertain the political ideology under which Nigerians would like to be governed in post- military era. The unequivocal answer (but which was understandably very unpalatable to the junta) of most mass organisations including the then NLC was socialism. In our view, the conclusion drawn by the then NLC leadership on the ideological socialist orientation needed to guarantee the needs and aspirations of the working masses are ever more relevant today than when it was first made.
Therefore, if the proposed party is not just to be a party of labour in name but that of the bourgeois in real life, just as the New Labour Party in Britain is, then an anti-capitalist, internationalist socialist ideology is an imperative for the proposed formation.

(b) Membership Base and Focus
To become a viable political Platform a truly working class or labour based party must be able to attract and organise in its ranks, members  of the other oppressed segments of the capitalist society such as the youths, artisans, poor peasants, rank and file members of the armed forces, house wives, etc. Needless to stress, this kind of party will not be formed solely for the purpose of scrambling for elective or appointive posts. In and out of office, it must be a party that is always prepared to identity with the struggle of the masses in all walks of life either through implementation of measures favourable to their interests or the support of struggles towards that end. 
The proposed party for instance must be seen to identify with the on-going struggles against mass retrenchment and victimization of labour activists across the country, particularly in states like Osun, Oyo and Lagos states. Fighting the renewed anti-union drives of governments and private employers of labour for instance, the Guardian, First Bank Plc and Carnaud Metal Box Nigeria Plc, etc. should be top on the list of priority of the proposed party. 
The reasoning behind the above orientation is this. A truly labour or working class party will any day provoke the worst hatred of the bourgeois and all layers of the conservative sections of the society. Also, a truly working class party will never be able to match the spending power of a bourgeois party in election campaigns. But if a party is well rooted amongst the masses as a result of its policies and activities, all the usual lies and propaganda normally dished out by bourgeois parties can be easily punctuated and neutralised at affordable cost.
Of course, there is no need to emphasize that the degree of enthusiastic support, which the proposed formation will enjoy amongst the masses, will proportionally correlate to its orientation and activities amongst the masses.

(c) Democratic Structures
If the proposed formation is to be a truly labour or working class party, then conscious effort will have to be made, right from the beginning that the affairs of the party is scrupulously democratic. This amongst other things will mean that decisions on major political issues like that of party's ideology, tactics and strategy, etc are not rushed but rather subjected to as much widespread and critical evaluation as possible internally before final decisions are made.
This to us will be a very effective way of avoiding the ruinous experience of the past where party policies only reflect the whims and caprices of party leaders. For instance, the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Party (NLP) in 1989 foisted on the party a bourgeois. programme under the guise of playing "politics of registration" i.e. politics that will be acceptable to powers that be so that the party can secure license to contest elections. While of course this unprincipled approach failed to achieve its goal, it achieved the tragic goal of killing the initial mass enthusiasm that heralded the birth of the NLP.
A formidable mass working class or labour party can only be built in the prevailing socio-economic relations which operate in Nigeria by an approach which guarantees down-to-top, rank and file democratic control of all political and administrative conducts and decisions of party officials (elected or appointed) as opposed to the prevailing bourgeois top-to-down method. The latter method kills; only the former approach offers a prospect of a healthy living for the organism.
All party officials at all levels must be democratically elected by the membership and subject to recall at any point in time if found wanting. Also, to forestall corruption and careerism which is characteristic of capitalist parties and politicians, officers and elected representatives of the party must be made to live on the average wage of a skilled worker, donating any excess income to the labour movement. This measure will in addition, make the party representatives to live close to the reality of the-working people whose interests they' were elected to represent.”

If the present issue of building a genuine working masses political alternative party is to go beyond mere talks, the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) calls on the leadership of both the NLC and the TUC to immediately commence steps to convoke a special conference of all working class activists, youths and socialists within and outside the organised trade unions with a view to agree on programmes and organisational and political methods of building a working peoples political party that can begin the process of dislodging the capitalist politicians from power starting from the 2015 general elections. The kind of conference being advocated must be an all embracing affair of all genuine pro-labour forces beyond the hurried and selective exercise recently conducted by the Political Commission of the NLC.

Without this the voice of working people and the poor will once again be absent and the elections will be dominated by rival cliques competing to get into positions from which they can simply loot. But even if Labour’s voice is silent in the elections, it must not give up on the struggle both to improve life now and to fundamentally change society.

Segun Sango
National Chairperson
Socialist Party of Nigeria

Sunday, 26 October 2014

SPN Condemns the Planned Removal of Minimum Wage from Exclusive List

For 48-hour General Strike/Mass Protest Now!

Press Statement
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemns the planned removal of the minimum wage from the Exclusive List of the Constitution by the National Assembly. This action of National Assembly is meant to undermine the collective bargaining of workers.

We support and welcome the plan of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to stage protest against this anti-worker decision.  We call on the labour centres not to reduce the planned protest to a one-off action. It should be used to announce and start mobilization for a 48-hour strike and mass protest across the country which should be the next steps of the struggle. 

However, these proposed actions must include the demand for the implementation of the existing national minimum wage by both state and federal governments as well as the private sector employers. This is the best way to inspire the interest of workers, who have benefited little or nothing from the current minimum wage which has come to effect since 2011 in the struggle against the planned scrapping of national minimum wage.

We note that many states have not fully implemented the national minimum wage. Unfortunately, NLC and TUC have either turned a blind eye to the plight of workers in those states or endorsed the action of governors which undermines the essence of national minimum wage. For instance, the President of NLC Abdul Wahed Omar was reported to have revealed during a visit to Ekiti State in March 2013 that the labour leadership had had agreement with states with proven evidence of inability to pay N18, 000 as minimum wage to negotiate with labour leaders in their domains on what to pay (This Day April 1, 2013).

The national minimum wage has not also been benefitted by many workers in the private sector a huge number of whom are casuals or contract staff. We therefore add that the planned struggle must also include demand against casualisation of workers which has also begun to rear its ugly head in the public sector.

We call on NLC and TUC not to be swayed by the purported assurance from the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives that the minimum wage has not been removed from the exclusive list to halt the planned protest. We hold that even to protest against non-implementation of the current national minimum wage and casualisation at workplaces, the action must go ahead. However, it is the only House of Representatives that have been reported to have denied the plan to remove the national minimum wage, the Senate which originally proposed the action has been silent.  This has further reinforced the need to go ahead with the planned meetings and protest.

By this latest action, the National Assembly has further confirmed the anti-poor and pro-rich character of the elements in government both at legislative and executive arms.   Besides, the non-implementation of the minimum wage in full by the state governments cutting across all political parties further show that all political parties in power at all levels of government are all united against the poor and working people. 

All this is one of the reasons we of the SPN have been calling on labour leadership to initiate the process for the formation and building of a mass working people party on socialist program. This is to ensure that the resources of the society are democratically and judiciously used for the benefit of the vast majority and genuine economic development. In the meantime, we call on workers and youths to join us in the struggle for the registration of SPN which has been formed to serve as a striking example of the working people political alternative in the absence of a mass party of working people.

Segun Sango
National Chairperson

Tuesday, 21 October 2014



Press Statement
The Lagos State Chapter of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemns the monumental fraud taking place at the local councils in Lagos.  According to Premium Times, a government audit has indicted 8 Local Council of squandering at least N224 million of public funds, The Local Councils indicted by the 2012 Audit Report are Surulere, AgbadoOke-odo, Coker-Aguda, Egbe-Idumu, Eredo, Iba, Ikosi-Isheri, and Lagos Island East. The report accused the Council officials of financial recklessness.

The Audit Report reportedly also revealed that another set of eight Local Councils are jointly indebted to the tune of N788.3 million. These councils are Eti-Osa East, Lagos Mainland, Somolu, Ikoyi-Obalende, Iru-Victoria Island, Yaba, Agbado Oke-odo and Eti-Osa.

For instance, officials of Agbado Oke-Odo paid N11.5 million personal advance for staff since 2010 but failed to deduct the payments from the beneficiaries’ salaries. The officials also failed to remit statutory deductions from Contracts awarded to the tune N40.9 million.

It is instructive to stress that the local councils are not the only culprits at putting odious debt burden on the masses  the Lagos State Government has also massively plunged Lagos State to the tune of N160 billion. 

We hold that it is the anti-poor neo-liberal capitalist policy thrust, which promote self-serving agenda at the expense of development and interest of the working masses, together with bureaucratic running of government that provide fertile ground for these monumental frauds. This is one of the reasons we of the SPN always call for allocations, budgets and projects to be placed under a democratic control of elected representatives of workers and communities.  

This development has further confirmed our position that the creation of Local Development Council Areas (LCDAs) was meant and not for development of these areas but to accommodate political stooges and hangers-on of the ruling Action Congress, now APC,

We hold that the massive corruption in the Local Government Councils just like in the state and federal government largely contribute to the poor state of infrastructure or lack of them in all the communities across Lagos State and the country. Most of the roads in the communities in Lagos are in deplorable state, schools are dilapidated or ill-equipped, mass housing policy is non-existent, etc. Very little or nothing suggests the presence of these LGAs in terms of developmental projects while the public officials do not only receive outrageously jumbo salaries and allowances but also  continue to loot public funds with impunity.

We are dead sure that if a thorough probe is carried out on all the Local Government Area Councils and the Lagos Council Development Area Councils, more damning and scaring corrupt practices will be revealed. 

We demand a probe panel to be comprised of elected representatives of workers and communities with the mandate to investigate Local Government finances and purported projects. We call on the working people and youths to ensure that all officials found culpable must be prosecuted.

We hold that only a mass party of working people with socialist program as well as transparent and democratic management of human and natural resources planned to meet the needs of all and not the profit interest of a few is capable of sustainably moving the country forward economically, politically and socially.

State Secretary


Avoidable disaster for the working people!

Successive governments at all Levels 

Press Statement

The Oyo State Chapter of Socialist Party of Nigeria, (SPN) expresses its condolence to relatives and friends of people who lost their life and valuable properties during the fire incident occasioned by the explosion of an heavily loaded petrol tanker which reportedly fell at Molete area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital in the early hours of Saturday, 11th October, 2014.

SPN maintains that the fact that most victims are poor people particularly the road side traders shows that street trading across the state is still predominant and on the rise. This is an indication of the failure of all the successive governments in the state including the current APC-led administration to improve the quality of life of the working people in the state.

It will be recalled that no fewer than 15 persons including a mother and two of her children were reported killed on Saturday morning during the petrol tanker explosion at Molete area in Ibadan while millions of properties which comprises of 45 shops, 13 vehicles, three houses, seven commercial motorcycles and three commercial tricycles were among the properties that were destroyed.

SPN strongly holds that this incident and its blood sucking consequences could have been avoided if successive government in the state as well as past and present federal govt. including the current APC-led administration had at different period planned and massively invested the huge resources at their disposal to improve the state of public infrastructure many of which are currently dysfunctional and in many cases non-existence.

The mere fact that tankers, most of which are in bad shapes, are used to transport petroleum products from one bad road to another indicates how unsafe and backward this adopted means of transportation has become. The government at the state and federal level must begin to connect oil pipes across the federation for the purpose of safely transporting petroleum products from one place to another while effective train system should be put in place to augment the well placed pipes as well as reconstructionof all bad roads.

The decay in the state owned fire service is legendary! Despite the vast water resources in the state, the sector often lack water to work with. There are several examples of situations where the vehicle could not work either owing to lack of petrol or mechanical fault. These are additions to continuous denial of workers in the sector of their democratic rights and incentives like living wage which usually undermines their zeal and morale for effective service delivery.  

Every successive government in the state has failed to build low cost public market places capable of accommodating the growing rate of traders in the state since 1983 when the late Chief Bola-led administration built sizable numbers of low cost markets which created a successful opportunity to relocate thousands of poor traders who were engaging in street trading at that time.

That no fewer than 15 roadside traders lost their lives in this unfortunate fire accident is an indication of the inadequacy of the so-called scout camp market reportedly built by the Senator Ajimobi-led administration in its bid to appease the public cries that greeted the demolition of shops and destruction of valuable goods belonging to poor traders under the pretense of urban renewal policy without prior compensation or provision of alternative.

Beyond calling for adequate compensation for victims of this avoidable fire incidents, SPN also demand that government should give priority to putting in place conducive environment  like building affordable and well equipped market stalls, mechanic villages etc., for artisans to enhance their  activities. SPN equally calls for the implementation of living wage for civil servants as well as massive creation of gainful employment opportunities with rights to living wage and union right for millions of teeming youths in the state who are without jobs. This is against the prevailing “empowerment schemes” like the Oyo Youth Employment Scheme (OYES) where youths are placed on irregular salary of meager N10, 000 per month aside imposition of N2, 000 tax while workers are denied the right to belong to a union of their choice.

Bamigboye Abiodun (Abbey Trotsky)
State Secretary, SPN Oyo State Chapter