Tuesday, 10 February 2015


Press Statement

We of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemn the recent postponement of the 2015 general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission at the instance of the Nigeria’s military authorities. We hold that it completely begs the question for INEC to postpone the elections by six weeks on the basis of the Boko Haram insurgency that the government has been unable to resolve for more than five years! We condemn the apparent use of the military by the Jonathan government to interfere in the electoral process.

We view the empty arguments employed in postponing the elections as a deep reflection of the ineffectiveness of the Independent National Electoral Commission as it not really “independent” but subject to the dictate of any section of the capitalist ruling elite. We hold that this validates our argument that INEC is subject to the whims and caprices of the occupants of power, a fact which cannot be removed from the unfair and unjust manner with which INEC failed to register the SPN, despite meeting all known requirements of law.

While we recognize the fact it is security challenges in the North-east that was given as the reason for the postponement of the election, we strongly condemn the shoddy preparation of the INEC for the elections. Given the number of the electorate, put at about 20 million, that have not got their permanent voters card, inadequate training of adhoc electoral officers and non-conduct of on-the-field test-run of the card readers, the elections could have been a failure if they had not been postponed.

We are however totally opposed to all the advocates of interim government of two years for President Jonathan and demand no extension for the Jonathan regime. We demand that the elections should be held in spite of the fact that the failure of the labour movement leadership to form and build a formidable mass working people political alternative has forced the working masses and the poor to choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea in the polls. This will mean that many will not vote. However despite this lack of real choice in these elections we are totally opposed to any erosion of the democratic rights of the working people, including their suffrage rights under any guise. We are strongly opposed to any strategy by the current Jonathan regime to compromise the elections in a bid to extend its tenure or pave way for a right-wing military intervention.

We are not surprised that the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) could not mobilise any mass resistance against this “coup” against the so-called democratic process as it does not genuinely represent that yearnings and aspiration of the working people and youths.  We hold that the seeming popularity of Muhammodu Buhari among a section of the masses is as a result of the failure of the labour movement to present a mass working people political alternative to the working masses seeking to change the Jonathan government for its monumental failure. It is instructive to stress here that there is no fundamental difference between Buhari and Jonathan as the both subscribe to the same anti-poor neo-liberal capitalist policies.   

We call on the leadership of the labour movement to reject further extension of the polls and tenure extension for the Jonathan, and demand that the elections must not be compromised under any condition. To this defence of democratic rights must be added to a clear programme of fighting for economic and social demands including but not limited to a national minimum wage increase, opposition to mass retrenchment and demand for decent jobs. The trade union centres, Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and pro-working class organisations, the Joint Action Front (JAF) must be prepared to lead mass protests to raise these demands before, and after, the elections while giving a warning to the Jonathan regime not to toy with the democratic rights of the working people.

We hold that the current period only further vindicates our call in the SPN that it is high time the labour movement formed and built a genuine mass working people political alternative in direct opposition to all the main contending anti-poor parties. On the opening day of this week’s NLC 11th Quadrennial conference the former NLC President Adams Oshiomhole told the delegates NLC that “As we approach the national elections NLC’s voice must be loud and clear on issues.” That is right, Labour and the poor need their own political voice, but Oshiomhole himself abandoned attempting to build a working peoples’ party to become an APC politician. Against this approach we argue that the independent working class political movement should be hinged on a programme that is against capitalist policies and for democratic working class control of the commanding heights of the economy.

We of the SPN will deepen the campaign for this programme within the broader labour movement and will combine it with continuing our current battle for the registration of the SPN by the Independent National Electoral Commission. We call on workers, youth and the poor to join us in achieving this task.

*No to interim government! No tenure extension for Jonathan! Hold general elections now! Mass Protests to reject attack on democratic rights!

*No illusions in Buhari and the All Progressives’ Congress! For a genuine mass party of the workers, youth and the poor!

*For the trade unions to demand fresh minimum wage increase! No to mass retrenchment!   For decent jobs!

*No to Privatisation! For labour movement to proffer alternative agenda of common ownership of the commanding heights of the economy under a democratic control of the working people!

*Build an independent political movement of the working people! Time for a mass movement against all sections of the looters! Fight for a working people’s government on socialist program now!

Segun Sango
National Chairperson

Monday, 2 February 2015

Non-Payment of Salaries for Three Months in Osun State:

Aregbesola Government is Callous and Irresponsible

Press Statement

The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Osun State Chapter strongly decries the refusal of the RaufAregbesola-led Osun State government to pay salaries of workers for three months. We also condemn non-payment of pension arrears and monthly pension to retirees in the state. We consider it callous and irresponsible the denial of workers of their salaries and entitlement, using very fraudulent excuse. We call on the leadership of labour movement in the state including Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) to take drastic and practical action to defend the right of workers. We call for immediate declaration of industrial actions including strikes, pickets, mass rallies and protests, to demand for payment of workers’ salaries and pensions.

It is highly treacherous and shameful of the Aregbesola government to claim there is no money to pay workers for over 90 days, yet the same government has millions to spend on campaign jamboree. We ask; where is the N30 billion the government claimed to have saved some time ago. Is the government claiming it is not getting any federal allocation or what? The Aregbesola government should be ashamed that more than four years of the much-touted economic prudency it still relies on dole out from Abuja to survive. Even at this, the government cannot meet its basic obligations and duties, one of which is payment of workers’ salaries and retirees’ pension.

 Just recently, teachers in the state’s public schools embarked on a month-long strike to demand for provision of running grants to public schools for procurement of basic instructional materials like chalk! Currently, lecturers in the four state owned Polytechnics and Colleges of Education are on industrial dispute with the state government over backlog of allowances and other emoluments. Workers in the state-owned university, Osun State University (UNIOSUN) are at loggerhead with the state government over poor funding of the institution. Workers in the state radio and television stations just called off their strike some few weeks ago, over failure of government to pay their backlogs of arrears. Worse still, none of these issues have been addressed or resolved by the government!

This clearly corroborates the position of the SPN that the Aregbesola government has bankrupted the state finance, no thanks to its pro-capitalist, pro-big business policies. It is clear that the state government has mortgaged the finance of the state to big time contractors, politicians and financial sharks. Currently, the state is virtually at a standstill in terms of governance. Various projects, including the few road projects and school rehabilitations have been abandoned despite billions of naira of loan procured for them. Public institutions like schools and hospitals are in deplorable state. Is it then accidental that Osun State came distant twenty-second (22nd) in the 20014 WAEC SSCE rating. Clearly, the Osun State government is short-sighted in its approach to finances of the State. The government is only interested in projects and activities that will put public funds into private businesses of politicians and their big business partners, as seen in the School Uniform Fraud, where government gave almost one billion naira of public fund to private firm to solely produce and sell school uniforms, albeit of low quality, to pupils and students in the state. 

While we agree that, as a result of the neo-colonial and rent-seeking character of Nigeria’s ruling politicians, both in the PDP and APC, the revenue of the country has greatly reduced due to fall in crude oil price in the international market, we make bold to say this has only shown the bankrupt nature of Aregbesola government, rather than absolving it of blame in the economic woes that has betide the state, nay the country. We challenge Aregbesola government to come out with the financial report of the state vis-à-vis the revenue of the state, the federal allocation, and expenditure of the state, and we will show how the Aregbesola government had massively defrauded the state. 

We call on workers not to be hoodwinked by the bogey of poor allocation or financial victimization of the state by the federal government, as being bandied by the government and its town-criers. Workers must demand for their right to adequate and timely remuneration. Leadership of labour unions should be proactive in the defence of their members’ interests. We find it absolutely wrong for labour leaders to feel unburdened in a situation where its members have not collected salaries for months. We call on labour leaders in the state, especially NLC and TUC to declare a 48-hour warning strike with mass rallies and protests across the state to demand immediate payment of workers’ salary arrears, and accumulated pensions and gratuities. An immediate congress of workers in the state should be the first step in this direction. We call on workers in each union to put pressure in their leadership to take industrial and mass actions on the issue immediately.

Kola Ibrahim
State Secretary