A call for a Mass Working Peoples’ Party
This May 29 marks the second anniversary of Muhammadu Buhari-led government. For the working people, the last two years have been a monumental disaster wrought by the anti-poor capitalist policies of the government. So what the masses have bitterly experienced in the last two years are rising prices of goods and services far above their purchasing power, increasingly high costs of living in a country where the masses have to largely provide for themselves the basic necessities (education, health, housing, water, electricity, etc.), job losses and worsening poverty.
While acknowledging the fact that the Buhari government came to power at a period of a serious crisis of global capitalism which is exemplified by the slump in the oil prices, we of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) strongly hold that it is the anti-poor neo-liberal capitalist policies implemented by Buhari/APC government that have seriously compounded the suffering of the working people. These include increase in electricity tariff despite widespread darkness, hike in fuel price and devaluation of Naira. This shows that Buhari led APC government, despite its grandstanding and propaganda to the contrary, is not fundamentally different from the previous administrations of the PDP as both parties support capitalism.
We also hold that the limited seemingly populist program of Buhari government like anti-corruption crusade and social welfare empowerment are façade. It should be noted that we fully support any genuine fight against corruption that will entail recovery of public loots and imprisonment of the culprits. But the Buhari’s anti-corruption fight has proved to be more of propaganda than a serious effort aimed at taming the menace of corruption. This is because as a capitalist government with agenda like privatization and contract system that inherently promote corruption, it cannot seriously fight corruption. This explains why on Buhari’s watch, his Secretary to Federal Government has allegedly enriched himself at the expense of the victims of Boko Haram’s terror through the infamous “grass cutting” scandal and the only response was to relieve the secretary of his job after public outcry that amounts to a slap on the wrist.
The so-called social program like the much vaunted NPower is not only extremely tokenistic but also much larger in propaganda than in the actual benefit for the poor masses and youths. For instance, the NPower program has witnessed a series of protests from the purported beneficiaries who are owed allowances.
It is sad that workers and the poor masses, who did not significantly benefit anything at the period of boom, are being made to bear the burden of the crisis of capitalism and failure of capitalist ruling elite. Unfortunately, the labour movement has not been able to resist these harrowing attacks. For instance, for more than two years, workers in at least 27 states have been owed salaries while political offices holders have earned jumbo allowances and salaries without any serious fight back initiated and sustained by the national leadership of labour despite spirited efforts by the affected workers. Also, all what labour could put up against the wicked fuel price hike in May 2016 was a feeble, half-hearted resistance.
We therefore call on the leadership of labour movement to wake up to their responsibility of leading fight against all capitalist attacks unleashed on workers and the poor masses and for improved living conditions for the working people. We call on them to show seriousness in their demand for N56, 000 minimum wage by preparing to fight for it as well as immediate settlement of all salaries and pensions arrears. As the immediate step, we call on labour to declare a 24-hour warning general strike over minimum wage, unpaid salaries and pensions, job losses and mass poverty.
By and large, we hold that the main reason Buhari government has failed the masses is its capitalist policies and philosophy which are also shared by all major political parties (APC, PDP, LP, APGA, etc.). Therefore, for the real change in economy and conditions of the working masses, a mass working people party on socialist program is needed. Therefore, ahead of 2019 election we call for special conference of trade union, artisan, trader, youth and socialist organisations to discuss how to build a political movement to wrest political power from the capitalist ruling elite and enthrone a workers and poor people's government armed with genuine socialist program.
National Secretary, SPN