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Election 2015


9 January 2015

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ABIA STATE AND 2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS: A CONTINUATION OF STATE RUINATION

For a Working People Political Alternative Now

Support the Struggle for the Registration of SPN

By Chinedu Agbebire

In preparation towards 2015 generation elections, different bourgeois politicians are seriously strategizing on how to hoodwink suffering masses so as to continue with the pillage of state treasury and collective wealth. Here in Abia state, the mass of people have never had it easy since the return of civil rule in 1999. Their situation has been from one frying pan to another as they keep on having one evil replacing another. From Governor Orji UzoKalu's two-term administration to the present government led by Theodore Ahamefula Orji, who will also be completing his second tenure in 2015, it has been a monumental failure of governance. The state of things in the state has been pitiable with no hope of improvement come 2015 general election. As it is the case nationally there is no genuine working peoples' alternative being offered ahead of the coming elections.

Ochendo Legacy projects

Contrary to the state sponsored deafening celebration of Governor T.A Orji's purported achievements, the reality is a monumental failure of the state government to develop the state. As far as people are concerned nothing is happening in Abia state especially in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the state. The main features are infrastructural decay, poor funding of education, multiple taxation, unemployment, attacks on democratic rights and livelihood of poor people, insecurity, erratic power supply and poor health care delivery. Roads are death traps; in Aba for instance most road networks are dead and buried to the extent that such roads are not "leg gable" let alone being passable for motor vehicles. The few government schools in the state clearly portray the poor state of education sector in the state with leaky and sometimes open roofs, broken windows, broken chairs, dirty school compounds with heaps of refuse and gross inadequacy of teaching facilities etc. This ugly state of government schools in the state has given private schools leverage to extort thousands of naira from poor parents while offering little or no quality education as most of them are below standard. The few projects of government in recent times are projects with no economic impact to the people.

However, several billions of naira that have been allocated to the state under Governor Orji contrasts the pitiable state of things in the state. For instance, the internally generated revenue is put at N48 billion per annum. According to FAACNET Allocations Distribution list, 2014, Abia state mid-term allocation is put at N29.32bilion, putting the total figure at N58.64bilion per annum. The above allocations to Abia state government are exclusive of other allocations such as: Derivation for oil producing states, Excess Crude Account, etc. Imagine what this billions of naira could do if put in the hands of a pro-masses government with socialist plan? Shamefully and unfortunately, this billions of naira is translatable to nothingness in the state. Obviously, it only fattens bank account of few individuals in the state leaving vast majority to wallow in abject poverty and wants.

The estrange political godson and godfather

Meanwhile T.A Orji failure is the former governor Orji Uzo Kalu legacy. Ultimately, the only glaring dividend of democracy visible to the poor Abians since 1999 is the emergence of massive buildings exclusively owned by few politicians. Some of these properties belonged to the state until they were undemocratically privatized at give away prices. There were also cases of forceful seizure of properties of ordinary people which were converted. Expectedly, this phenomenon has turned the state to a theatre of competition of big thieves among politicians as they fall on top of one another in a rapacious scramble for state property and collective wealth.

This is the only tangible explanation underlying the feud between former governor of the state, Orji UzoKalu who is now one of the richest black men in the world and his former political godson, governor Theodore Orji, the current governor of the state. Their relationship became sour perhaps on the question of who gets the lion share of state loot. T.A Orji had to declare war over his political godfather so as to become lord of the ring, poised to build his own formidable empire with state treasury. This left the former governor with foul cry. However, despite the former governor's razzmatazz and grandstanding, he cannot be absorbed of the sins and evils of the present government as most of the fraudulent and anti-poor policies including unaccountable infrastructural levy were obnoxiously introduced by his administration. They are both guilty of the woes that betide the poor people of the state. As at the time of filling this report, there is a media report that the duo had apologized to state. The apology is nothing but crocodile tears. If truly they feel remorseful of their evils they should demonstrate it by returning all their loots to the state. That is when they can be taken seriously for their apology. Mere words cannot undo the evil they committed in the state neither can it alleviate the abject poverty that is hunting the people from all angles.

The emergence of T.A Orji's Dynasty

The in-thing come 2015 is the emergence of Theodore Ahamefula Orji dynasty in Abia state. Going by the result of Peoples Democratic Party primaries in the state, Governor TA Orji is more than determined in holding the state hostage even after the expiration of his two term tenure in office in May 29th 2015. This overture is demonstrated with the emergence of him and his family members as candidates for different political posts under Peoples Democratic Party umbrella. For instance, while the governor will be going to the senate, his son Chinedu Orji will be going to Abia state House of Assembly. It is widely held that the position of Speaker of the House is exclusively reserved for him come 2015. In addition to this, it is rumored that OkezieIkpeazu, PDP gubernatorial candidate of the state is Governor T.A Orji's relative from Ngwa clan.

Already, there has been widespread rejection of the primaries result alongside the emerged candidates. The farce called elections that saw the emergence of the candidates was reportedly heavily fraught with fraud and in line with the dictate of Governor T. A Orji. In other words, the primaries were reportedly tailored to favour only aspirants supported or sponsored by Governor T. A Orji. Above all, the most fraudulent and ridiculous of the primaries is the gubernatorial primaries that produced OkezieIkpazu judging from media accounts of the exercise.

Meanwhile, our comment and condemnation of this huge fraud does not in any way mean our sympathy to these elbowed members as they are all the same in as much as they subscribe to the same anti poor neoliberal capitalist policies that have impoverished millions. Obviously their cry is premised on their failure to secure their own personal and selfish gains against people needs. Our sympathy and support is therefore with the poor Abians who bear the brunt of PDP maladministration.

The urgent need for working peoples' party

No other time in the history of Nigeria when working peoples' party is needed than now. Nationally PDP and its main rival APC have shown where they are power that they are both anti-poor and there is no fundamental difference between them. On the part of PDP led government, its monumental failure is in part demonstrated with the mass illusion that trailed General Mohammed Buhari's candidature for presidential election in 2015 general election.

The absence of mass working peoples' party in Nigeria makes it impossible for masses to anticipate anything different from of what is presently available ahead of 2015 general election. There is no fundamental difference between all pro-establishment parties. Immediately after Abia state PDP primaries, one after the other the lost candidates left for one anti-poor political parties or the other viz. APGA, UPP,PPA, etc to continue their self-serving struggle for control of the state treasury. Alex Otti for example decamped to APGA and became its gubernatorial candidate. The same thing happened with other PDP decamped contestants. Therefore, Abians must not make mistakes of having illusion in any of the candidates irrespective of their political parties as they are the same. Searching for one better candidate in one political party to another is a mere waste of time

Instead of dissipating their energy on these bourgeois politicians who have nothing to offer, the poor Abians and Nigerians at large should join voice and force to the call on the labour movement for building a mass working people party that can truly stand for their interest and needs. While campaigning for the mass working people party by the labour movement, the members of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) along with some trade union and youth activists have formed Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) to serve as a striking example of working people political alternative. Despite it fulfilling all the legal requirements for registration as a political party, the INEC has refused to register the party. The party has challenged the undemocratic decision of INEC in court and the matter is coming up January 28 for hearing at the Federal High Court Abuja. While from all indications the party will not be able to participate in 2015 elections even if it gets a favourable judgment before the election, it will be useful as a platform of struggle against all anti-poor policies and neo-liberal attacks that will be definitely heightened given the decline in crude oil revenue. We therefore call on workers and youths to support the campaign for registration of SPN and become members in order to jointly build the party.

As against the prevailing blood squeezing, anti poor neo-liberal capitalist policies jointly implemented by various political parties, the Socialist Party of Nigeria is out for the political and economic liberation of working peoples from the pit of poverty and wants. We intend to achieve this through nationalization and renationalization of the commanding heights of Nigerian economy and putting them under democratic management and control of workers representatives. This will provide adequate resources for a program that entails adequate provision of basic needs (education, health care, housing, food, job etc) and infrastructure for genuine economic development. Besides, the political office holders on the platform of the party will not earn the ridiculous jumbo pay but average salary of civil servants in addition to incidental expenses. If the party is not the control of government, the balance will be donated to the party as well as labour, youth and community movements in struggle against neo-liberal capitalist attacks and for enthronement of a mass working people political alternative with socialist program.

Chinedu Agbebire who is based in Aba, Abia State is the SPN Deputy National Chairperson (South-East)