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24 January 2018
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) totally agrees with former president Olusegun Obasanjo that President Muhammadu Buhari and APC do not in any way deserve a second term. We strongly hold that Buhari and APC have worsened living conditions of average Nigerians since they assumed power because of their capitalist neo-liberal agenda.
However, we also hold the view that former President Obasanjo is not qualified to propose any solution to Nigeria's problem being one of the principal architects of the misfortune of this country. We warn the working masses not to fall for Obasanjo's deceptive agenda to portray himself as a prophet of change. Indeed any change process driven by Obasanjo or any anti-poor capitalist politicians will produce the same harrowing suffering and infrastructure decay as currently obtains under Buhari government. Indeed, contrary to his pontifications, Obasanjo himself contributed immensely to the ruination of Nigerian economy and the current mess.
As a result of anti-poor neo-liberal programme and monumental corruption of his administration, Obasanjo left all sectors of the economy in a very sorry state after eight years. All federal roads including those in his Southwest and home state of Ogun were left to ruin. The whopping $16bn he reportedly spent on power sector largely went down the drain and he did not build new refineries despite huge oil and gas wealth at his disposal. Indeed, a World Bank report revealed that under Obasanjo only one percent of Nigerians appropriate 80 percent of oil and gas wealth. The only signature "achievement" of Obasanjo is gifting of $12bn for a settlement of an odious debt, whose accumulation he started as a military leader, to imperialist agencies and their rich backers. This partly explains why he has become a darling of the world imperialism. Obasanjo boosted in 2016 that his government produced 25 billionaires and that was done in the midst of growing poverty, misery, inequality and chaos.
In addition, former President Obasanjo has been instrumental in the choice of every anti-poor President since he left power in 2007. Obasanjo brought in and vigorously campaigned for President Yar'Adua, he supported President Jonathan and most recently he threw his weight behind the candidature of President Buhari in 2015. All of these presidents performed woefully and under their administrations, the living standards of the working people went from bad to worse. Based on the above-mentioned reasons, former President Obasanjo is as responsible for the woes of Nigeria as much as the Buhari administration.
Instead of being deceived once again, the working masses and youth must be prepared to use the 2019 general elections to not only vote out Buhari and APC but also to replace them with a political party and candidates that stands for socialist programmes which are the only solutions to Nigeria's problems. The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) will stand candidates in the 2019 general elections. Our candidates will campaign on a socialist programme which entails an emergency plan of action to take ownership and deploy Nigeria's enormous resources and wealth to provide free and functional education, free and functional health care, public infrastructures, promote rapid industrialization and job creation, promote an improved living standard through payment of living wage and pension as well as adequate benefits to the unemployed. We call on all Nigerians desirous of real and genuine change to join our party en-masse and get ready to use their PVCs to vote out the APC, PDP and other anti-poor on parties and vote in candidates of the SPN.
Also importantly, we hold that it is the failure of the leadership of the labour movement to lead the masses in a serious fight against the anti-poor policies of Buhari government and start building a working people's political alternative that has created a vacuum that Obasanjo and other certified enemies of working masses and the poor are trying to occupy. For instance, for the past three months the country has been gripped with chronic fuel scarcity and the labour leadership has chosen to see no evils. A similar attitude has been demonstrated over non-payment of salaries by many state governments as well as on the demand for a new minimum wage.
But it is not too late for the labour movement to lead masses aright. We therefore call on the leadership of labour and masses' organizations to declare a 24-hour general strike and nationwide mass protest on current fuel scarcity with demands for new public refineries, payment of unpaid salaries, a higher minimum wage and an equitable pro-people solution to the farmer-herder clashes that have led to killings in many parts of the country.
More importantly, workers and the poor masses must realize the major lesson from the failure of Buhari government in whom many Nigerians, including some labour leaders, invested huge illusion and hope as well as legendary hypocrisy and opportunism of Obasanjo is the absence a mass working people political alternative on a socialist programme. We therefore call on leadership of labour and masses' organizations to immediately initiate the process of building such a political platform including convocation of a conference of trade unions, socialist organisations, left parties, pro-masses organizations and individual radical activists. We of the Socialist Party of Nigeria are ready to be part of such effort and play an active role.