Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Protests in Nigeria and Europe against Non-Registration of SPN

Hearing in the Suit against INEC at Federal High Court Abuja adjourned until November 27

Register SPN Now!
By SPN Reporters

There were protests today in Nigeria, Germany, Belgium, England and Sweden today, Wednesday November 19, against the refusal of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to register the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) despite it fulfilling all the legally stipulated requirements, albeit onerous and undemocratic,  for registration of a political party. 

The SPN was formed by members of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) (CWI Nigeria) together with some trade unionists and activists across Nigeria. The legal and constitutional requirements which have been met include payment of non-refundable administrative fee of N1million (One Million Naira), National Headquarters in Abuja and National Executive Committee (NEC) with members from at least 24 states plus Abuja. 

The action in Nigeria, which included circulation of leaflets to motorists and passers-by, took place at the Federal High Court Abuja where the first hearing of the suit filed by the party against the INEC was to be held.  The members of SPN also protested with banner and posters demanding the registration of the party and calling on the working people and youths to join the party.  

In Sweden, Germany, Belgium and England, members of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI), the international socialist organization which DSM is affiliated to, held protests at the Nigerian Embassies with copies of the SPN poster and leaflet and submitted protest letters to the country representatives.     

The matter at the court has been adjourned until November 27, 2014. As of today INEC has not filed its response to the suit, a tactic aimed at delaying the matter. This is no doubt a continuation of the attempts to prevent the legal existence of a party like SPN that represents the interests and aspirations of working people and poses a socialist alternative to the anti-poor neo-liberal capitalist program of the pro-establishment political parties. 

The members of the SPN have resolved to use all legal and democratic means to force the INEC to register the party. 

Meanwhile, the legal action against INEC has started attracting media attention. One of the leading national newspapers, the Punch, published the report on its website today. The protesting members of SPN were also interviewed by some journalists at the action in Abuja.  

Below are some photos of the actions in Nigeria and Europe.

Nigerian Embassy Brussels Belgium

Nigerian Embassy Brussels Belgium

Nigeria High Commission London England
Nigerian Embassy Berlin Nigeria

Nigerian Embassy Berlin Germany
The protest letter slipped through the door after the Nigerian Embassy staff refused to come out to collect it. One staff  later came to pick it up

Nigerian Embassy Stockholm Sweden

Nigerian Embassy Stockholm Sweden
Federal High Court Abuja Nigeria

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

SPN’s Matter against INEC Commences at Federal High Court Abuja


The matter the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) has filed to challenge its non-registration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) comes up on Wednesday November 19, 2014 at the Federal High Court Abuja at Court 5. The Suit No is FCH/ABJ/CS/630/2014.

We are praying the court to nullify the action of the INEC and order it to issue us our certification of registration having fulfilled all the legal and constitutional requirements, albeit onerous and undemocratic, for registration as a political party.

The requirements we have fulfilled include payment of non-refundable administrative fee of N1million (One Million Naira), National Headquarters in Abuja and National Executive Committee (NEC) with members from at least 24 states plus Abuja. 

The INEC in a letter dated August 12, 2014, which is its response to the application of the SPN for registration as a political party, states that the SPN’s “registration is terminated” on the basis of the purported refusal of our association to allow for the verification of its claims.
The INEC apparently used the expression “registration is terminated” because it failed to process the application of SPN, which was submitted on June 12, 2014, within 30 days as stipulated by Section 78 (3 and 4) of Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

According to this provision of the Electoral Act INEC must process the application of a political association seeking to transform to a political party within 30 days of the receipt of such application. According to this law, unless INEC within the said 30 days informs the association that submitted the application to transform to a political party with reasons why it could not do so, that association has been deemed to be registered as a political party.

We accordingly wrote INEC on July 17 to demand our certificate. Instead of obliging the SPN request, INEC in a letter dated 31 July 2014 now wrote the SPN with information that it was sending a verification team to visit the proposed headquarters of our association on 4 August 2014.

The cited letter was delivered on the evening of August 1 2014 which was a Friday, while the visitation was fixed for the next working day which was Monday 4 August, 2014. The SPN in a letter dated 4 August, 2014 replied INEC letter dated 31 July 2014 stating that the period for processing of SPN application had elapsed but that the National Chairperson and National Secretary could make themselves available if need be for any clarification on SPN application for registration at another date. On the 4 August, 2014, five INEC officials visited the SPN secretariat in Abuja and during the visit took copious photographs of the entire premises within the office.

The foregoing is the background to the erroneous claim of the INEC that we did not submit ourselves for verification.

It is our contention that INEC has refused to register us despite fulfilling all the legally stipulated requirements because we are a party that represents the interest and aspiration of the working people and the poor as enshrined in the manifesto and constitution whose copies were submitted to INEC. The imposition of N1Million administrative fee in the first instance is calculated to prevent existence of pro-masses parties like the SPN that is formed to provide a working people alternative to the anti-poor neo-liberal capitalist program of pro-establishment parties. 

The SPN is prepared to doggedly continue to utilise all legal, democratic and political means to agitate for the registration of SPN and ultimately the socialist transformation of Nigeria that would enable Nigeria’s abundant natural economic and human resources to be of primary benefit to the vast bulk of Nigerians.

Segun Sango                                                           Chinedu Bosah
National Chairperson                                                 National Secretary

Local Government Autonomy Cannot Automatically Guarantee Developments


The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) supports the demand and agitation for autonomy for local governments. We however warn that the autonomy will not automatically engender development at the grassroots level.

We hold that the fundamental cause of failure of governance at all levels is the anti-poor and pro-rich policies embraced by self-serving capitalist ruling elite of all ruling and main opposition political parties. Therefore, granting autonomy to Local government ruled by the anti-poor, pro-establishment parties whose ruinous capitalist policies are responsible for the prevailing condition of mass poverty in the midst of huge resources will rather bring the national cake closer to a few thieves than developments for benefit of all.  

For the local government autonomy to be meaningful we demand adequate funding of the local government and democratic control of the administration of the local government including projects by the elected representatives of workers, traders, artisans, youths, peasants and community members. This is in order to guarantee judicious spending of the local government resources.

The fact that the two factions of the Governors’ Forum, which is divided on party lines, are united in their opposition to the local government autonomy has further confirmed our position that there is no fundamental difference between the ruling PDP and opposition APC.  To the state governors, local government area is another avenue for looting as well as creation of jobs for cronies and hangers-on.     

We appreciate the fears of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) which has opposed the local government autonomy. We recall that the responsibility of payment of salaries of primary school teachers had to be taken away from local governments during the military era when they could not pay and owed teachers’ salaries for several months. The position of the NUT however gives the false impression that basic education and teachers welfare are being and would be better taken care of by the States. That is incorrect!

We recall that primary schools were closed down for about one academic session recently in Benue and Kogi States as a result of the inability or refusal of the state governments to pay and improve conditions of teachers! Unfortunately, the national leadership of the NUT did not declare or organise any solidarity action in support of the teachers while the long strikes lasted. Many states including Lagos have refused to pay Teacher Special Allowance that was won with strike and mass protest some years ago. Yet, the national leadership of NUT has not done anything tangible to enforce its implementation.

All this means that the NUT must always be prepared to defend the interests of teachers whether they are under local governments or the state governments. 

We hold that whatever the type or form of government so far it is run on the basis of capitalism, it cannot guarantee better conditions for the working people or the provision of infrastructure and social services.  However, with mass struggles neo-liberal attacks or anti-poor policies can be defeated, albeit temporarily.

Therefore, fundamentally, what the working people should fight for is a replacement of the self-serving government at all levels with a government composed by genuine working class representatives only which can, by the aid of a socialist plan of the economy, guarantee a better life for all. This is why we have been calling on labour ledership to initiate the process of forming and building a mass working class political party that can provide the vehicle for working masses to take political power. 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