Monday, 17 June 2019



The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) considers latest report of the European Union Election Observation Mission on the recently conducted 2019 general elections as a major indictment on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its officials. 

With this report which shows that INEC, security agencies and “leading parties” (APC, PDP, etc) manipulated the 2019 general elections, we insist that INEC or any other agency for that matter has no moral authority to seek the deregistration of any political party under the flimsy excuse of winning no seat at local government, state or federal government level. For INEC or any agency to have the right and authority to wield this kind of power, it must have been seen to have provided a level-playing field for political parties to vie for peoples votes without vote-buying, intimidation, violence, manipulations and other factors that marred the 2019 general elections. As the SPN has said before, the 2019 general elections were an expensively packaged charade and INEC, security agencies and the pro-rich political parties especially the APC and PDP have to be blamed for this. 

After studying the conduct of the 2019 elections, the EU came to the following conclusion: “Overall, the EU EOM concluded the 2019 elections were marked by severe operational and transparency shortcomings, electoral security problems and low turnout”. The EU laid the blame for this outcome on INEC, security agencies and “Leading parties” which it said “were at fault in not reining in acts of violence and intimidation by their supporters, and abuse of incumbency at federal and state levels.” 

In the haughty and arrogant manner which has become typical of President Buhari’s officials, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Garba Shehu immediately reacted in manner that dismisses all the key negative aspects of the EU report. According to a statement issued by Garba Shehu, the EU reported “improvements” in the conduct of the elections, adding that, in spite of the setbacks recorded in some states, the overall results showed that the Independent National Electoral Commission did well” (Punch 16/6/2019). The statement went on to promise to implement the recommendation of the EU concerning the elections. 

Not wishing to be outdone, spokesman for the Buhari Presidential Campaign Organisation, Mr Festus Keyamo simply countered the integrity of the whole report. According to him, “The results of the election reflected the overall wishes of Nigerians. That was the report of many observers. If you are an observer, you should come to a definite conclusion … We have 120,000 polling units across the country. In all, I don’t think they discuss more than 500 polling units in the report. If you observe anomalies in those units, how does that substantially affect results coming from 120,000 polling units? It is not enough for the EU to discuss the anomalies, they must discuss overall results of the country, whether it reflects the wishes of the people… After all, there were problems in the US elections. There were problems in Europe, and even in UK recently” (Punch 16/6/2019). 

As far as the SPN is concerned, this kind of superficial and face-saving response to what are weighty allegations that indict INEC, security agencies and “leading parties” already shows that the Buhari government is not serious about improving the conduct of elections either now or in the foreseeable future. Otherwise the starting point ought to be to identify officials of INEC, security agencies and “leading” political parties that the report claimed to have compromised the integrity of the 2019 elections through their actions and seek to investigate and prosecute them with a view to ensure deterrent. INEC itself need to be asked to justify how it utilized the huge billions of naira voted to it over the past four years to prepare for the 2019 general elections if at the end of the day, the exercise is found to suffer “severe operational and transparency shortcomings”. At the moment, there are nothing less than 799 cases at the election petition tribunals.

As a key participant in the election, we are very sure from our experience that none of the manipulations that occurred in the 2019 general election could have taken place without the connivance of INEC officials and security agencies especially those at the top echelons. But so far, no top member of INEC, the Police or army is under investigation or being prosecuted for their roles in manipulating the elections. The EU report also found that at least 150 people were killed during the elections. This itself shows that what took place across the country on February 23rd and March 9 2019 were brutal struggles between different factions of the capitalist ruling elite for political power and not a democratic exercise.

In the report, “The EU observed 94 collation centres. In almost all, the results forms and smart card readers were not packed in tamper-evident envelopes as required… Numerical discrepancies and anomalies on polling unit results forms were identified and were mostly corrected by collation officers on the spot, but without a clear system of record-keeping” (Punch 16/6/2019). This confirms our experience in the SPN during the 2019 general elections. In some places where the SPN candidates contested, fictitious votes were recorded against our party by INEC staff in connivance with “leading parties”. 

Particularly in Ogun State where our party presented candidates for House of Assembly elections in Ogun State, INEC engaged in ridiculous vote manipulation in a conspiracy with the capitalist ruling elite to ridicule our mission to build a viable pro-working class socialist alternative to the prevailing anti-people capitalist parties. Two examples would suffice here. In one instance, in form EC 8E which was released to our party after about 2 months following the March 9 election, INEC recorded only seven (7) votes for our candidate in Ifo constituency II, Comrade Hassan Taiwo Soweto. This means, in INEC’s wisdom, that only seven (7) people in a voting population of over 20, 000 and over 140 polling units responded positively to the very active campaign we ran for over 6 months. Considering the level of infrastructural collapse in Ifo LGA due to the failure of all the leading political parties of APM, APC, PDP, ADC and co over the years, this cannot but be a barefaced lie and outright manipulation of the true votes of our party. But what now fully exposes INEC is the fact that in his own polling unit, our party’s candidate had a modest vote of fifteen (15). Now, we are still waiting for INEC to explain to our party how our candidate’s total vote in over 140 polling unit is lower than his number of vote in a single polling unit. The second example concerns our party’s candidate for Ogun State House of Assembly election in Odogbolu, Comrade Oluwatimilehin Ajayi  no single vote was recorded for him. This, in INEC’s wisdom, means that our candidate despite having a PVC did not vote for himself, his family and party members also did not vote for him. 

Given this kind of ridiculous manipulation that marred the 2019 general elections, the SPN would be prepared to initiate a mass campaign combining legal challenge and political mobilisations in collaboration with trade unions and civil society should INEC or the National Assembly dare to seek deregistration of any political party. We insist that without manipulations, vote buying and outright rigging committed by the pro-rich parties (APC, PDP, APM etc) and their accomplices in INEC and security agencies, a party like the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) stood a chance of performing better than it did. 

The reality is that as beneficiaries of a shambolic election and given their support for capitalism, President Buhari and the ruling APC cannot be trusted to ensure any genuine electoral reforms. Except some symbolic changes, the likely development is that so far the inequitable capitalist system exist, elections in Nigeria will continue to be expensively-packaged shambolic exercises which are neither free nor fair and continue to produce APC, PDP or another anti-poor capitalist party .  This is why the SPN combines fielding of candidates in election with intervention in the struggle of workers, farmers, students, youth, artisans and the oppressed majority with a view to build a movement for socialist revolution. 

Abiodun Bamigboye                                                      Chinedu Bosah
Acting National Chairperson                                                National Secretary

Wednesday, 12 June 2019




Press Statement
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) celebrates with workers, youth and poor Nigerians on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of June 12. We salute the victims and heroes of the June 12 struggle whose blood and sweat watered the tree of freedom from despotic military rule.
Unfortunately, it would now appear that all their labour is in vain considering how none of the hopes and aspirations of a better life, which drove the working class, heroic youth and poor unto the streets against the armed military junta in countless strikes and mass demonstrations, have gone largely unachieved over the past 20 years of unbroken civil rule.

Capitalist-induced mass poverty in the midst of abundance, illiteracy, the collapse of electricity, water and other public infrastructures, insecurity, attack on democratic rights, corruption, implementation of anti-poor policies of privatisation and deregulation, high unemployment rate and collapsed living standards remain a permanent feature of life in Nigeria. This means that except the change in the garb of the ruling class from military fatigue to flowing robes, civil rule has not brought any fundamental improvement to the condition of the working and toiling people. Rather things are worse today with record-level unemployment among young people. That suicide is on the rise among young people is a sign of the sharply deteriorating situation.  

More so, the same kind of military jackboot authoritarianism, repressive policies and attacks on democratic rights which were the hallmark of military rule have regularly been a feature of civil rule since 1999. Two examples suffice. Firstly, all across campuses today, student activists are being routinely expelled and suspended and students union banned for the simple reason that they challenge anti-poor policies of the school administration. Secondly, the persistent assault on the most basic democratic rights by the military, police, DSS and other security agencies over the past two decades have frequently torn off the mask of what was presented in 1999 as democracy but which the experience of the past two decades now fully shows to be no more than a dictatorship of the capitalist ruling elite over the working class and poor.

For instance, over the past three months, Police and the Department of State Services (DSS) have been used to harass the acting chairperson of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and a prominent workers activist in Oyo State, Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye for the simple reason that he chose to solidarize with workers of Sumal Foods Ltd to oppose the Management’s unfair labour practices including exploitative casual/contract staffing. He has been arrested about 7 times over the past two weeks and arraigned on Friday 7 June 2019 at the Magistrate Court, Iyaganku, Ibadan, Oyo State. Anyone familiar with the sordid history of military rule in Nigeria especially how security agencies were used to hunt down and cast into jail journalists, lecturers, activists, workers and students leaders would see how this pattern of events we have just described under Nigeria’s civil rule bears a striking resemblance. 

Against this background, President Buhari’s declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day is nothing but an image-laundering exercise by a regime which has failed just like its predecessors to meet the basic needs and aspirations of ordinary Nigerians over the past four years. Despite all efforts to present him as a democrat, history clearly shows that President Buhari holds as much responsibility as all past military rulers in Nigeria for the military incursion into political power in Nigeria and all the consequences that flow from it. 

June 12 marks in the annals of Nigeria a confirmation of the bravery, resoluteness and courage of the working class, youth and poor Nigerians to struggle against an oppressive and unjust order. This fact is something the current capitalist rulers will like to keep away from the new generation which has come of age since 1993. They will try to present June 12 as the effort of heroic figures while rarely mentioning how the strikes of workers, the protests of students and urban youth against the military junta on the streets of Lagos, Ibadan, Kano etc., were the decisive actions that broke the back of military rule. This is because of their mortal fear that the working class and youth will not continue to fold their arms while their conditions and future come under attacks. 

As the 2nd term of President Buhari progresses and the promised “Next level” turns to one of mass misery and pauperisation, the working masses especially the youth will rise again in militant general strikes, protests and demonstrations. And in rising, they will rediscover the bravery, sacrifice and traditions of June 12 struggle as well as the key lessons. A central lesson of the June 12 struggle was that the working class had no party of their own or an independent class programme. This is what enabled the civilian wing of the capitalist class to seize the initiative to come to power after the mass struggle had already made continuation of the military rule untenable. 

For the struggle to liberate the working class and poor from capitalist misrule to succeed, we need such a working peoples’ party armed with socialist ideas. This is why the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) exists as a platform to mobilise workers, youth and poor masses to take political power and enthrone a workers-led government under which Nigeria’s wealth shall be collectively owned and democratically managed for the benefit of the majority. Against the background of Nigeria’s continuing chaos, lost opportunities and mass poverty we shall continue to commit ourselves to the task of socialist transformation of Nigeria, and call on workers, the poor and the youth to join us in the SPN.

Abiodun Bamigboye                                                          Chinedu Bosah
Acting National Chairperson                                                    National Secretary

Sunday, 9 June 2019

DSS rearrests and detains Abiodun Bamigboye over his defense of Sumal Foods Workers’ rights and interest

The Nigerian secret security service, which is popularly known as Department of State Services (DSS) has rearrested Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye some hours ago. This is the ninth arrests and detention of Abiodun Bamigboye by DSS and Police since January 21 when he was first arrested and detained by the DSS. After several arrest and detention by the Police, he was charged to court on June 7, 2019, by the Oyo State Commissioner of Police on trumped-up four-count charges at the Magistrate Court and was granted bail. Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye is the Acting National Chairperson of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and his arrest is linked to his role of the struggle against anti-labour practices and indecent work at Sumal Foods Ltd. Several Sumal Foods Ltd workers have been intimidated and sacked for supporting the struggles against the management. The recent arrest shows that the DSS and the Police have been illegally monitoring the movement and phone conversations of Abiodun Bamigboye as his life is under threat. Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemns these attacks, harassment and intimidation.  
It is crystal clear that these incessant arrests, detentions, harassment, intimidation of Abiodun Bamigboye is being coordinated by Sumal Foods owners/management, the leaders of the National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Services (DSS) and the federal government. The Buhari-led government has failed to use the Ministry of Labour and Productivity to protect the rights and interest of Nigerian workers as expected and is now using security apparatus that are funded by taxpayers (Nigerian workers inclusive) to harass leaders of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) for their principled intervention on the plights of the working masses. These arrests, harassment and intimidation is part of the holistic policy of witch-hunt of journalists and activists by the Buhari-led government as a means of repressing any form of dissent aimed at preserving the unfair capitalist exploitative order considering the fact that several activists and journalist are unjustifiably languishing in different jails across the country. This is obviously how the apparatus of the bourgeois state is used to defend the parochial interest of big business and a privileged few at the expense of the working masses. 

The background of the matter is the fact that contract workers at Sumal Foods Ltd at Ibadan in Oyo State who were about 15,000 in number went on strike on October 2, 2018, to protest their deplorable and poor working conditions. For instance, many workers have been working as contract staff for over a decade, earning a paltry sum of N800 per day before the strike action and currently N1200 daily; contract workers are not entitled to break or rest intervals in violation of the Labour Act; contract workers are sacked arbitrarily; contract workers are not entitled to sick leave or annual leave and when a worker is absent from work for two days in a month over ill health, the worker gets sacked automatically, there are no entitlements for workers etc. It was these highlighted terrible working conditions and many more that provoked the strike action wherein Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye who is also the Oyo State Coordinator of the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) only intervened to give solidarity to the suffering Sumal Foods workers.

We want to publicly state that this persecution by the Buhari-led federal government, Police, DSS, Sumal Foods Ltd Management and the Union (NUFBTE) can never deter members of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) from intervening in struggles of workers anywhere in the country for decent working conditions.

The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) demands that the DSS should immediately and unconditionally release Abiodun Bamigboye. SPN also demands that the Oyo State Commissioner of Police should also drop all the trumped-up charges against Abiodun Bamigboye. SPN also demanding for the reinstatement of all sacked and victimised workers of Sumal Foods Ltd.  

Chinedu Bosah
National Secretary