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!

Wednesday, 3 October 2018


The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), has elected comrade Hassan Taiwo Soweto as its candidate to represent Ifo 2 constituency in the Ogun State House of Assembly. This took place at the party’s primary election on Saturday 29 September 2018 which held at TOF Hotel, Ikare Bus stop, Oke-Aro, Ifo LGA, Ogun State. 

The primary elections was attended by enthusiastic party members from different wards of the constituency as well as party leaders from Ogun State, Lagos State and the national headquarters. This includes the party’s national secretary, Comrade Chinedu Bosah, Comrade Adeola Soetan (NEC member, Ogun state), Comrade Eko John Nicholas (Chairperson, SPN Ogun state), Comrade Afolayan Sunday (Treasurer, SPN Ogun state), Comrade Rufus Olusesan (Chairperson, SPN Lagos State), Mrs. Ronke Adebayo (Treasurer, SPN Lagos State) and Comrade Shoyombo (Publicity Secretary, SPN Lagos state).

Comrade Soweto is a Socialist and also a labour and youth activist. He is the national coordinator of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC). Through the ERC, comrade Soweto has led major campaigns across the length and breadth of the country to defend the rights to better funded, well-equipped and democratically-managed public education system. He has also been a consistent advocate and a vocal voice for the recognition of the rights of workers, women, youth and the downtrodden.

Ifo 2 constituency comprises some of the least-developed communities in Ogun State including Alagbole, Agbado, Ope-Ilu, Adiyan, Giwa/Oke-Aro, Matogbun, Maidan, Legun, Olambe and Akute just to mention a few.

While presenting the party’s flag to the candidate, Comrade Adeola Soetan, SPN NEC member representing Ogun State described the terrible condition of roads in the constituency as something below the standard of public infrastructures in war-thorn countries. “Even in Afghanistan or Somalia, roads there are not this terrible. It makes me want to ask whether you have any government in Ogun state. I think the state of your roads is the more reason why you need to vote in someone who can represent you effectively at the Assembly to draw in development”.

In his acceptance speech, Comrade Soweto blamed the lack of development in the constituency on decades of neglect by successive anti-poor governments in Ogun State and the ineffective and self-serving representation by Honourable Ganiyu Oyediji of the All Progressive Congress (APC) who currently represents the constituency in the Assembly.

“The terrible state of our roads, the poor state of public education and healthcare and the absolute lack of jobs and economic opportunities in the constituency is a direct result of the conspiracy of the Ogun State government with the active connivance of the Honourable member representing Ifo 2 to keep our people in misery. The raining season is here and you can see how our people wallow in mud to go about their daily activities. When dry season comes, people and children fall sick regularly because of the enormous dust that envelopes you when you walk or drive over the untarred roads. Unfortunately neither the governor nor honourable Ganiyu Oyediji cares. Just look around to see how many uncompleted projects litter the community. In addition, the terrible state of roads and public infrastructure has constituted a danger to our people and particularly the children. Just few weeks ago, exactly on Sunday 16 September 2018, a 14 year old girl, Damilola Adegboye was swept into an open canal from which she has not been found up till now”.

Going further, he said “My campaign is about the issues of lack of development, jobs and economic opportunities for our communities. It is about getting justice for Damilola Adegboye and preventing another child from suffering the same fate. As an activist and advocate, I intend to use the enormous powers and influence I shall possess as an honorable member to fight vigorously for the rights of our communities to even and harmonious development. We shall not take no for an answer because we know the resources to tar our roads, build public schools, pay teachers and build public health care centres are there. They are only being stolen by the state government in connivance with contractors and crooks of various shades. While effectively utilizing all the enormous value of legislation to advance the interest of our people, I shall not stick to legislative routine. Where debate fails on the floor of the Assembly with respect to the rights of my people, I shall not give in but march on the streets with my constituents until their rights to live as human beings are respected”.

Soweto who said he believed that political office ought to be about service and not self-enrichment pledged that as an honorable member, he would live a frugal life not different from that of the majority of his constituency. “I shall declare my assets annually and I shall be accountable to my party and constituency. I will continue to live in my rented one-bedroom apartment in the community, I shall not accept more than the average wage of a civil servant. The excess of my salary will be donated to the party to utilize in assisting the struggles of workers, youth, the poor and our communities”.

Soweto also assured that his service will not just be to Ifo 2 but all the workers, students, youth and downtrodden in Ogun State.

“I regard the entirety of the long-suffering workers, students, youth and the downtrodden in Ogun state as my natural constituency. The workers in this state have suffered so many indignities and anti-worker attacks for far too long. The public education sector in the state are in comatose while policies of the state with respect to public higher institutions are anti-poor, disruptive and ill-thought. Ogun State public higher institutions charge some of the highest school fees in the country. All these would be resisted once I emerge next year. The workers, students and downtrodden in Ogun State can be rest assured that with me in that Assembly, not a single anti-poor policy will go through without a stout resistance from me. I shall work with all unions to defend the interests of their members by both using legislation as well as building massive campaigns to fight for free education, reversal of hiked fees, reversal of all politically-motivated sack and expulsion of workers and students leaders, payment of owed salaries and allowances to workers, payment of minimum wage and respect of labour laws by employers and the democratic rights of our people etc. I shall also stand for the interests of Small and Medium scale Enterprises, shop-owners, traders, transporters, informal clusters and farmers against exploitative taxation and other policies that impedes their businesses. I shall fight vigorously for a progressive taxation that puts the heavier burden on rich corporations while giving breathing space for small traders, enterprises and farmers to thrive in addition to regular government support and assistance. I shall equally be a voice for women, youth, minorities and the environment”.

Ayo Ajakaye
Head, Media Relations
Soweto Campaign Organization (SoCo)
Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN)