Thursday, 16 April 2015

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

NLC, TUC, and affiliate Unions Should Mobilize for Strike and Mass Action

Press Statement:

Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Osun State Chapter strongly decries the refusal of the Rauf Aregbesola-led Osun State government to pay salaries of workers for over five 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 actions 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. The same government that claimed there is no money to pay workers and pensioners spent several millions of naira on frivolous referendum on new local council creation, even when legitimate elections into the local government administrations have not been held for over four years. 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? It is shameful that more than four years of the much-touted economic prudency the government 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’ pensions.

 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 under the umbrella of Council of Academic Staff Unions of Osun Tertiary Institutions (CASUOSTI) are on two-day per week industrial strike over backlog of allowances and salaries. 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. Medical workers in the state employment, including doctors, have not been paid for over three months, thus threatening the already fragile and chronically-underfunded health system in the state. as we are writing this statement, medical workers in Ladoke Akintola University (LAUTECH) Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, the only state-owned tertiary health institution, and the State Hospital, Asubiaro are now on industrial strike. 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 it will be glaring how public resources are being used to satiate the lifestyles of politicians and their big business acolytes. 

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 and pensioners must demand for their right to adequate and timely remuneration. Leadership of labour unions should be proactive in the defence of their members’ interests. The various individual industrialactions taken by some unions in the last four to five months, while commendable, shows there is need for a holistic mass action of workers across the state. We call on labour leaders in the state, especially NLC, TUC, and the affiliate unions, 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 on their leadership to take industrial and mass actions on the issue immediately.

Kola Ibrahim
State Secretary

Saturday, 11 April 2015


By SPN Reporters
Against the background of the outcome of the Presidential election held on March 28, 2015, the Lagos State Chapter of the Socialist Party of Nigeria held a Public Meeting on Saturday, March 28th, 2015. The meeting attended by members from Agege, Ajegunle and University of Lagos held a refreshing political review of the presidential election

The meeting kicked off with an introduction of the background of the meeting by Ayo Ademiluyi, the Moderator of the meeting on the need for genuine socialists and working class activists to examine the implications of the victory of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, MuhammaduBuhari at the March 28, 2015 polls. Taking off on the agenda, Ayo Ademiluyi gave a report on the state of the organization with update on the Lagos SPN Programme of Intervention in the 2015 general elections. He informed that the planned March 3rd Lagos SPN protest rally on the last adjourned date of the SPN court matter could not hold due to fuel scarcity. He equally reported that branch tabling was held in Agege on March 14, 2015 as part of the intervention in the 2015 polls.  He informed that the next major upcoming events are the DSM National Committee meeting billed for April 18th and 19th, the May Day Intervention for May 1st , Branch meetings for May 16th , tablings across   Branches for May 21st and  Political Symposium for June 12, 2015.

Chinedu Bosah, still on the state of the organization gave update on the registration of the Socialist Party of Nigeria. He informed that on March 3rd, 2015, the last adjourned date of the SPN court matter,  INEC through their lawyer made a move for out-of-court settlement, upon which the court adjourned the matter for May 22nd ,2015. He informed further that the SPN counsel, Citipoint Chambers has written a letter to INEC to seek for a date for verification and INEC’s response is being awaited.

On the political discussion, “2015 Presidential Election: What Perspective for the Working Masses?”,Segun Sango, the National Chairperson of the Socialist Party of Nigeria was on hand to give a lead off. He underlined the vibrant response  of Nigerians to the election despite the initial postponement. He noted the fact that while the “change” slogan of the All Progressives Congress gained echo but it is entirely another thing that the incoming Buhari regime would carry out genuine change in terms of the living conditions of the working masses, given that it operates within the precincts of capitalism. He submitted the need to step up the struggle for a genuine working people’s political alternative and the need to step up the efforts in building the Socialist Party of Nigeria.

In their reactions and comments, comrades one after another submitted that there is no fundamental difference between the All Progressives Congress and the People’s Democratic Party. They submitted further that it remains entirely another question how the Buhari regime will implement its populist promises made during the campaigning period, given the ongoing crisis ravaging Nigerian capitalism, specifically the collapse of the crude oil sales and the fall of the naira. In all, there was concession that the widespread illusions in Buhari may hold back struggle for a short period but as soon as the regimecarry out fundamental attack on the living conditions of the working masses, another period of ferocious struggle will open up. It was concluded that there is need to rebuild the trade union movement and continue the agitation for a genuine working people’s political alternative. It was finally submitted that the struggle for the registration of the Socialist Party of Nigeria must be fought to conclusion with the aim of building the SPN as a mass electoral opposition against the All Progressives Congress.      

In his sum up, Segun Sango highlighted the fact that the new political situation requires a new leadership and he challenged comrades to take up political responsibilities of building the Socialist Party of Nigeria. He further submitted that this would be linked with a stepped-up campaign for a genuine working people’s political alternative.

On finance, Ayo Ademiluyi informed that a financial appeal would be sent out to comrades for the upcoming June 12 Political Symposium,that is being planned by the Lagos SPN. A fighting fund of N1, 020 was raised at the meeting.

As AOB, Moshood gave an update on the funeral preparations for the late Uche Dike of Ajegunle Branch and he reported that there is no date yet for the burial but there is a plan by the Branch to send one or two representatives to his hometown for the burial in Imo State. One minute silence was held in the memory of the late UcheDike.The meeting ended with solidarity songs and a preparedness to engage the current period correctly.