By SPN Reporters
The Osun State chapter of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) held a Political Retreat on Saturday, 27th December, in Osogbo, to evaluate the political development as the 2015 elections approach.
Leading discussion at the meeting was Segun Sango, National Chairperson of the SPN. He outlined the fact that there is no basis for the vast mass of Nigerians to be poor in the midst of the country's inexhaustible wealth and huge human resources. He maintained that there is nothing the ruling government of Goodluck Jonathan/PDP can offer the working and poor people. He stated that despite the unprecedented oil wealth the country has amassed in the last ten years, the ruling elites are so parasitic that they cannot develop new sources of wealth for the country, such that now the fluctuation of oil price in the international market has plunged the economy in deeper crisis. He also opined that, in spite of the growing quest for change from the vicious cycle that Jonathan government represents, expecting the opposition gathered in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and symbolized by Muhammadu Buhari to provide the way out is clearly misplaced.
He maintained that the growing political confusion will not last, as people will come out of the current situation more enlightened. He posited that the current failure of 22 state governments, including opposition controlled state governments, to pay workers' salaries for months, shows the bankruptcy of the policies of the ruling elite. He cited the example of Osun State, where the Aregbesola government owes workers three month salaries, as a reflection of the terrible character of the opposition. He reminded the gathering that it was Buhari/Idiagbon military government that stopped the cafeteria system, and tried to commercialize education, if not for 1984 mass movement of students led by the Lanre Arogundade-led NANS. Besides, the model of APC is the Fashola government in Lagos state which was forced by the struggle of students and workers as well as the fear of defeat in the 2015 general elections to reverse the outrageous fees as high as N300,000 imposed at the Lagos State University. He urged comrades and advanced layer of the working people, not to be despair but consolidate the little forces that we have and prepare for the big days.
In his intervention, Alfred Adegoke, the Osun state chair of the SPN, highlighted various crimes of the Buhari/Idiagbon military regime. This is necessary, especially now that many people are trying to whitewash the regime and Buhari's image. He warned that trying to obliterate history in an attempt to support a candidate can be catastrophic. However, he maintained that this is not at all a pass mark for the Jonathan/PDP-led government, which is leading the country to a blind alley. He maintained that the 'track' record of the two contending candidates in the 2015 election shows that what Nigerians actually need is not some 'heroes', but to take the destiny in their own hands.
Contributing to the discussion, Hassan Taiwo Soweto, the National Youth Leader of the SPN, emphasized on the horrible prospect that the falling oil price portend for Nigerians. He underscored the inability of the ruling class to move the country forward. Waxing biblical, he stated that, if Nigerians did not gain anything during the seven years of abundance, things can only get worse during the years of want. Already, capital vote in the 2015 federal budget proposal has been reduced from over N1 trillion to around N600 billion. This means that even little projects being carried out by the government are going to be abandoned. He posited that despite all the theories of naira decoupling and more spending being propounded by the leading lights of the opposition APC like Bola Tinubu, inasmuch as the economy is still controlled by the big capitalist fat cats, who bankroll both APC and PDP, there cannot be a way out.
Kola Ibrahim, the Osun State Secretary of SPN and moderator of the meeting, also highlighted the challenge of building a revolutionary cadre-ship to sustain the forces of genuine change. He maintained, despite the prevailing political confusion and desperation by many Nigerians for any change, there are still many Nigerians, including workers, students, youths, who are looking for a genuine alternative.
He maintained that irrespective of which party wins the presidential election, an austerity regime will prevail as the so-called opposition has no alternative programmes and policies outside Nigeria's crude brand of capitalism. He posited that the failure of opposition-controlled state governments to develop their economies and ensure a productive economy shows that, nationally they cannot move the country forward. He stated most of the opposition state governments only rely on extortionate taxes and huge, unsustainable debts to run the states. Moreover, just like the PDP government, most state governments are governments of contractors and moneybag politicians. He stated that, just like the Jonathan government was confronted with mass revolt in January 2012, six months after securing a mandate to rule, a new government, sooner than later, will be challenged by mass movement of the working and poor people against austerity and capitalism. He stated that the challenge is for us to start to build programmes and perspective to meet the coming period.
The meeting then went on to agree that the coming period towards elections should mean the SPN raising programmatic demands that will mobilize the more advanced layer among the working class, and prepare for the coming struggle after the election. The meeting also discussed practical programmes for the SPN in Osun State in the coming period, especially the task of mobilizing working and poor people against the anti-poor policies of the Aregbesola government.
Fourteen (14) persons attended the meeting, which was very qualitative. N2, 800 was realized as fighting fund, while three copies of the Socialist Democracy, the paper of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) were sold at the meeting. The meeting ended around 3.30 p.m. with solidarity songs and photo session. With the inspiration gained from this meeting, members of SPN in Osun State are prepared to organize more public and political programmes to reach out to the mass of workers, youth and the poor, as 2015 elections approach.