Wednesday, 26 December 2018

2019 General Elections: SPN campaign in Ifo, Ogun State Kicks-Off with an Inspiring Rally

By Ibukun Omole (Member, Democratic Socialist Movement)

The flag-off rally of the campaign to Elect Comrade Hassan Taiwo Soweto as member, Ogun State House of Assembly, Ifo 2 constituency took place on Saturday 15 December 2018. It started with a symposium at the Olambe Town hall, with about 120 persons in attendance.  The symposium started with solidarity songs where the members of the party sang enthusiastically, before the candidate came out to give his manifestoes to an inspiring applause by the audience. 

Soweto is running on a manifesto to go into the House of Assembly to build a movement to fight for development for neglected communities in the constituency in the areas of road infrastructure, electricity, public education, healthcare and jobs. He will stand against all anti-poor policies and serve as a bold voice for workers, youth and the masses.  He will continue to live in the constituency and he will not collect more than the salary and allowances of a skilled civil servant. 

Speaking after him was a Chief of the Olaogun town, Chief Bamigbose, who informed the audience of the fact that the constituency is larger than 6 local governments in the state, yet it is the most underfunded. There are hardly any motorable roads while public schools and health facilities are either non-existent or inadequate. He stressed the need for a vibrant representation for the constituency, and the need for the members of the constituency to elect Soweto with a protest vote. 

The National Secretary of the party, Comrade Chinedu Bosah, also came out to speak and expressed how inspiring the Ifo contest was for the National Secretariat and the whole party. The Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of the Party, Comrade Rufus Olusesan, lamented that Nigerians can no longer beg around to feed themselves, and concluded that ‘enough is enough of capitalist politicians’. A member of the Campaign for a Workers’ and Youths’ Alternative (CWA), Falilat Jimoh, came with solidarity greetings from the CWA, drawing the similarities between the CWA and SPN, and stressed the fact that a victory for Soweto would be an exemplary radical alternative. 

Comrade Ayo Arogundade echoed that the alternatives of a politician on minimum wage, and living in the community are examples that the SPN is set to lay with the contest. The Chairlady of the Tailors association in the area, Mrs. Olaoyenikan, encouraged the people to vote for a grassroots activist. A local elder in the area, Elder Jegede, narrated how he was inspired by the speech of the candidate at an earlier date at a meeting of the Community Development Council, and lamented how youths were being used by bourgeois politicians and is happy that the youths are now ready to take their future into their hands. A representative of the Baale (Monarch) of Olambe town in his speech described the candidate is a David that will definitely overcome the Goliath he is confronting. Mamakofoshi, the women leader of the party, expressed her happiness that an activist is contesting, and asked the people to vote out corrupt politicians.

An election fundraising was launched at the symposium which raised in pledges and cash a total sum of N45,000 with about N11,500 raised on the spot. The rally started immediately after the symposium with a convoy of three cars, a bus, about five motorcycles (okada) and a van, which were all filled up with many walking almost the entire length of the distance covered. Inspiring responses of the people about the need for good roads and exemplary endorsements by those we engaged and agitated with were all the major highlights of the rally, asides the poster pasting and the leafleting.

Monday, 5 November 2018

SPN Supports Labour Strike over Minimum Wage

• For mass mobilization of workers and the masses for Strike Action
• SPN will pay living wage and place political office Holders on workers' salaries if elected into government
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) welcomes the decision of the leadership of the labour movement under the three labour centres (NLC, TUC and ULC) to declare national strike on November 6, 2018, over the failure of the government and the employers to accede to a modest N30,000 (thirty thousand naira) as the new national minimum wage.
We also commend the plan to hold a nationwide protest on October 30 to sensitize the public on the plight of workers and pensioners as well as the demand for a new minimum wage. This step which could help mobilise mass support for the strike action is in line with what the SPN has consistently advocated as part of activities to win the struggle
We in the SPN consider the N30,000 as even too meagre to meet the needs of Nigerian workers and too much of a concession to greedy employers for the labour leadership from its original demand of N65,000.
In a country where virtually all social infrastructures and services have collapsed an average working class family spends its income to provide social services that ought to be provided by the government. When one considers the fact that social services like education, healthcare and water supply, housing etc., have been commercialized and priced out of the reach of an average working class family, it is obvious that the N30,000 now being demanded by the labour leadership is too meagre.
N30,000 Minimum Wage is Paltry and so, Affordable 
It is however insulting that the employers, represented by the federal government, state governments and the private sector bosses, are insisting on paying less than even the meagre N30,000 which the labour centres are now demanding after climbing down from their initial demand of N65,000. The argument of lack of funds to pay is treacherous and fraudulent given that the employers at all levels pay their executives fat salaries at the expense of workers and the masses. Despite the hoax of lack of funds, the state governors have not stopped awarding hundreds of millions of naira as security votes, awarding contracts at hugely inflated sum and maintaining countless number of political jobbers as appointees, who are paid multiples of what workers earn as salaries. For instance, a senator's unaccounted running cost of N13,500,000 will pay the monthly salaries of 270 workers on N50,000 minimum wage. If we add wasteful emoluments of other political officers at executive and legislative arms across the country and pension to former governors and presidents, it will be glaring that the excuse of lack of fund is a ruse. In the private sector too, many employers who employ thousands of workers on precarious conditions, give themselves several millions as emoluments and bonuses. We are aware of billions of naira being declared as profits by companies. SPN is demanding that government at all levels should make official records and financial activities accessible to all citizens which is an inalienable right and by so doing Nigerians will know how public funds are utilized. 
We call on labour leadership not to limit this strike action to sit-at-home strike, but to mobilise ranks of workers on mass actions along with pro-labour civil societies and other oppressed people. There should be mass sensitisation, congresses, rallies, leafleting etc. as a means of winning support for the strike and the demand. Instead of an indefinite strike, we strongly recommend a 48-hour or 72-hour general strike as a starting point, the next step, of a mass campaign that will not stop until a new minimum wage is granted and implemented across board without retrenchment of workers. However, the new minimum wage struggle must also include the demand for settlement of all unpaid salaries and pension.
We also use this medium to condemn the latest attempt of the government to criminalize workers' strike through the adoption of 'No-Work, No-Pay' rule. This policy if allowed will deny workers the power to defend their rights to better living and improved working conditions. On the other hand, it will embolden the government at all levels and private sector to trample on workers' rights and living conditions. It is part of the attempt of the anti-poor, pro-capitalist governments at all levels to castrate all opposition to their anti-worker policies. We call on labour leadership to reject this obnoxious attempt to undermine the ability of workers to defend their rights.
For us in the SPN, we believe workers have rights to better living conditions and better remuneration. If elected into government, SPN will ensure payment of living wage that will ensure that workers' salaries meet all economic parameters. Not only this, SPN government will place political office holders on salaries of civil servant and without security votes or any jumbo allowance. This, aside saving several billions of naira, will also make politicians in power to be sensitive to the needs of the working people. Public works will be well equipped and run democratically under a workers’ control such that they can carry out all categories of projects at a fraction of prevailing costs paid to private contractors and also help end the current fraudulent contract system. All the savings from outrageous pays and allowances of political office holders as well as inflated contracts will form part of the resources the SPN will mobilise to massively invest in social services and infrastructures, which will ensure provision of free and quality education and healthcare at all levels, affordable housing etc. All of these alongside with a collective ownership and democratic management of key sectors of the economy under a socialist plan will ensure that workers' salaries are able to meet their needs. We call on workers, youth and the masses to join the SPN today.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

SPN Ile-Ife condemns the outrageous fee increment at OAU College of Health Sciences!

The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Ile-Ife condemns the recent increment at the College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. This increment in form of a professional fee being processed by the leadership of the college and the management of the University is a gross betrayal to the right to education, which is guaranteed in the Nigerian constitution. According to the resolution of the meeting of the Association of Provosts of Colleges of Medicine in Nigeria (APCOM) on Thursday, 13 September, 2018, the increment is introduced in OAU to follow the University of Ibadan model that has seen to the dropping out of many students of the college. The increment which was introduced in form of a professional fee of about 75,000 and 85,000 naira is the height of insensitivity by the APC Federal Government and her political appointees in the governing council who consented to this decision. This is in a context of corruption within the University management, as all of the past increments have not resulted into better living and learning welfare for the students of the school. 

This increment could only imply the continuation of the drive of the APC government to turn public education to a for-profit business, to enrich themselves and their cronies in continuation of the policies of the PDP, when public education budgets were diverted to build private universities for President and Vice-President alike. For example, the presidential candidate of the PDP, in the forthcoming elections, owns one of the costliest private university in Nigeria and is a champion of privatized and commercialised education. 

While health workers are complaining of low payment and overworking because most of the health institutions are understaffed and underfunded, the government is set to ensure that these potential medical practitioners that are supposed to add quality and quantity to the positive reform of the sector are about to be sent out of school with this exploitative fee. This is a federal government that has refused to pay a living minimum wage to workers, including health workers in the country. This is coming when Nigerian hospitals have become graveyards for unavailability of facilities, enough workers and enough infrastructures. In a country where an 18,000 naira minimum wage is not fully and regularly paid, how does any reasonable government expect parents to pay a total of about 118,000 naira for their children and wards in school.

Just recently, similar increment was executed at the University of Ibadan and resisted by her Health students, but unfortunately unsuccessfully, because of the lack of resolute and democratic organization of the student body. It was in this same sly manner that the UI management increased the fees of her unsuspecting medical students. It is necessary that students of the college organize democratically and independently of the college management to mobilize themselves for Congresses, lecture boycotts, and rallies to reject this increment, and remain resolute to achieve victory. 

This increment is also a warning sign for all other students of the institution of a looming increment, most probably in the next session in continuation of these ruthless policies. Just in 2014, the University management increased the fees of the students of the school by a whooping 330%. That increment led to a lot of students dropping out, and some turning to crime and illicit jobs to survive the increment. The prevalence of theft on the campus is a product of the crime upswing, which could have been curbed had the University not chosen to repress the independent and democratic organization of students within the students union. We, on this note demand the immediate unconditional democratic reinstatement of the students union.
For us in the SPN, we believe the education sector can only fulfil it's aim under a socialist arrangement of the society. This means that quality education will be free and fully funded by the government, in a nationalised economy under the democratic planning and control of workers, for the advancement of the society. To achieve this aim the SPN floats a manifesto of proper funding of education, building of more education infrastructures (lecture theaters and hostels) through direct labour public works system, drastic reduction of class size, and the mass employment of more lecturers and teachers. This would serve as a means to drastically input quality human resources into the economy.
Join SPN today!
SPN is a political party formed by socialists, activists and genuine change-seekers to progress the struggle for a better society. SPN stands for free and quality education and healthcare, affordable housing scheme, end to the corrupt and fraudulent contract system among others. SPN is a party for workers, students and the masses!