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22 January 2015
We of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) view the recent N10 reduction in the price of petrol from N97 per liter to N87 as cynical and tokenist. We support the positions of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress that the reduction does not reflect the fall in the price in the global oil market.
We also hold that the position of the campaign organization of Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives' Congress (APC), that calls for total deregulation and cancellation of subsidy in the downstream sector of petroleum industry (Guardian, Tuesday January 20, 2015) is a confirmation of the fact that both APC and PDP subscribe to the same anti-poor neo-liberal capitalist policies. This shows that Buhari, whose candidature has been boosted by a mass illusion, will unleash the same neo-liberal attacks such as deregulation, privatization among others on the working people and the poor as being currently done by President Jonathan government, if elected into power.
We however hold that it is not enough for the labour leadership to call for further reduction in petrol price. They should demand the appropriate amounts that the prices of petrol as well as kerosene and diesel must be reduced to, and issue a 2-week ultimatum to the federal government to meet the demand failing which there should be a one-day warning strike and mass protest as the first step. They should start mass mobilization of the working people and youths for the proposed action immediately.
It is imperative to stress the fact that the so-called invisible hands of market forces have not automatically engendered reduction in the price of diesel, which has been deregulated, despite the slump in crude oil price. This shows that the deregulation policy of the government is a monumental fraud and exploitation. Besides, the regulated price of Kerosene that is supposed to be sold for N50 per liter is currently being sold for about N120 and yet Kerosene is being subsidized. Therefore, the labour leadership must link the demand for reduction in fuel prices with struggle against anti-poor policies of deregulation and privatization. This must also go side by side with the demand for comprehensive repair of the existing refineries and building of new ones as well as putting them and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as a whole under a democratic control of workers and relevant professionals. However, given the parasitic and anti-poor character of Nigerian capitalist ruling elite, it is only a pro-working people government that can implement these demands on a lasting basis.
This has therefore raised the question of a formidable mass working people political alternative on a socialist program that could wrest power from the thieving capitalist ruling elite. This is why we in the SPN combine the struggle for registration and building of our party which offers a striking example of working peoples' alternative with the campaign for a mass working peoples' political party within the broader labour movement. We therefore reiterate our call on the leadership of NLC and TUC to convene a conference of labour, socialist, youths and pro-masses organizations to discuss the formation and building of such party.