After a long trial, the Code of Conduct Tribunal delivered a ruling on the No-case submission of the Defence Counsel of Senate President Bukola Saraki, which struck out all the charges filed against him. This has drawn the ire of layers of working masses and youth who are horrified with the ruling.
For us in the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), the ruling puts a question mark on the “fight against corruption” of the Buhari-led government. While the Presidency itself has issued a statement condemning the ruling, it is clear that the Presidency cannot come to equity with unclean hands as the Secretary to the Federal Government has not been prosecuted despite a serious allegation of corruption against him. The fact is that no pro-capitalist government can sincerely and successfully fight corruption.
While the entire ruling elite have unleashed attacks on the living conditions of the working masses through policies such as non-payment of salaries and pensions, failure to increase national minimum wage, hike in electricity tariff and devaluation of naira etc., they maintain their jumbo pays and opulent lifestyle.
To truly begin to curb corruption, the outrageous salary and allowances of political holders must be reduced to an amount not higher than that of the average skilled worker. The fact that politics pays more than average 8am to 4pm jobs is not only unacceptable, it also justifies and glorifies corruption. If politics does not pay so well, the likes of Saraki, Babachir Lawal and other serial looters would have no need of elective or appointive posts.
Also the contract system which is a conduit pipe for brazen looting of the treasury has to be scrapped. If the various departments of works are adequately equipped and staffed, there is no public works project that they cannot carry out. We also call for the scrapping of security votes and other shady allocations through which political office holders steal public resources. These together with public democratic control and management of the key sectors of the economy can ensure that corruption is significantly curbed and that governance is carried out in a more transparent manner.
For us in the SPN, we believe that labour needs to begin to mobilize the working and toiling people to challenge the government around all these issues. As a first step, we call on the labour leaders to declare a one-day warning general strike and mass protests to begin to press home the demand for a new minimum wage and payment of salary arrears.
We call for the building of the widest mass movement from below not only against the likes of Sarakis but the entire ruling elite. This also means there is the need for a mass working peoples’ party to wrest power from the thieving ruling elite in order to use the resources of the society for the benefit of the vast majority.
Working masses must place their destiny in their own hands by fighting for a working people’s government that will place the commanding heights of the economy under democratic working class control and management. We in the SPN call on the working people and youth everywhere to join us to build a mass political alternative as a step to a broad working people’s political alternative that can actualize this goal.