Home | Print
12 September 2018
Against the background of mounting crises in Nigerian society and economy, two recent important developments in the polity have raised anew the urgent necessity of building of a mass based independent working class political alternative with a clear socialist programme. First is the pledge by the factional National Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), Dr. Mike Omotosho, to back President Buhari's second term bid. Suffice to stress that this pledge by a party that claims to represent "labour" is nothing but a big disappointment to Nigerian workers and all those who had placed hope in the promises by the labour movement to reclaim the party.
Second is the no less tragic decision of the National Conscience Party (NCP) to join in a coalition (CUPP) with the hated and anti-poor PDP. We note that the NCP Lagos chapter resisted this action albeit unsuccessfully. Of course further developments will tell whether this is a temporary setback for the radicals in NCP or a further strengthening of the rightwing takeover of the entire party. Nevertheless, working class and youth/student activists must recognize that not only do both actions of the LP and NCP betray the class interest of the working and toiling masses, these developments can further damage the idea of a working-class political alternative in the consciousness of many, especially young people, who are seeking a way out of capitalist crisis.
So far neither the NLC nor TUC, who support this faction of the LP, have publicly reacted to this statement made by the party. We have called on the NLC to publicly condemn the decision of the party to back Buhari if it is sincere about its claim of the plan to reclaim the LP as a genuine party of the working people. Unfortunately going by the antecedent of the bureaucratic leadership of the NLC and TUC, it is not guaranteed that they would heed this call.
However, this is not unprecedented as the Labour Party, despite its name, characteristically has repeatedly supported anti-poor, establishment parties at the expense of the working people. For instance the party also backed former President Jonathan of the PDP both in the 2011 and 2015 elections. Indeed currently, while Omotosho's faction supports the APC, the main faction of the party led by Abdul Kadiri Salami, which is recognized by the INEC, continues the LP's 2011 and 2015 position and is in the PDP led coalition for 2019 elections - CUPP.
Given this development, the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) hereby calls on trade unions, pro-working people organizations and change-seeking movements/political parties to rally round it in a coalition based on a minimum programme agreeable to all in order to build and present a genuine political alternative in the coming 2019 general elections and beyond. While only the formation of a new mass-based working class political party formed and supported by the labour movement and pro-masses' organizations can actually transform the situation, the reality is that such cannot be built in the remaining weeks and months until the 2019 general elections.
But the intervention of the SPN in the 2019 general elections if supported by all for the real interests of working people can provide a basis for the emergence of this kind of mass based political alternative. Such electoral intervention can prove useful in the mass struggle that could break out in the aftermath of the 2019 general elections; helping to link in the consciousness of the mass of people their anger at the anti-poor capitalist policies that the APC, PDP, SDP, ADC and APGA governments would unleash with the necessity of a working people political alternative, anchored on socialist programmes
These sort of decisions by the LP and NCP national leaderships are not new. The SPN was initiated by activists who had previously been either expelled or blocked from participating in the NCP, after its founder Gani Fawehinmi, stepped back from its leadership, and later faced similar obstacles when trying to build the LP as a campaigning force. Refusing to be inactive then we launched the campaign to form the SPN and followed by a struggle of over four years to force INEC to register us.
Now, at this moment, the SPN remains the only registered political party with clear programmes and coherent ideology aimed at dislodging the corrupt capitalist ruling elite and running society in the interest of the working class and poor masses. Even though it is still small compared to the enormous task at hand, the SPN can act as a rallying force uniting around itself a movement containing all the important layers of the working class, community activists and young people who have broken from any illusion in the status quo but could be seduced by the Right and radical populist "alternatives" being bandied about in the polity.
Therefore the time to act is now. By pledging to back President Buhari, it means the Omotosho-led LP, and by implication the bureaucratic leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), are endorsing the anti-worker and anti-poor policies implemented over the past three and a half years by the Buhari/Osinbajo APC government. It is a statement of fact that the Buhari/Osinbajo APC government has presided over deepening mass poverty, lowering living standards, ratcheting up public debt, increasing unemployment and worsening ethno-religious conflict across the length and breadth of the country. A genuine Labour Party worth its name ought not to back such kind of government or the opposition PDP with similar anti-poor and disastrous records.
Instead, a genuine Labour Party would rally together all the forces of the working class and oppressed to throw out of power such a government through the ballot box as well as through mass movement. Unfortunately, the kind of LP that either Omotosho or Salami leads is a caricature – bad imitation of the kind of political vehicle workers and the toiling masses need to rescue this country.
This is why the SPN, as part of the campaign for the formation and building of a new mass workers political alternative, is calling on Nigerian workers, youth, trade unions, pro-working people organizations, change-seeking movements/political parties who are fed up with the status quo to rally round it on the basis of a minimum programme in order to provide a genuine political alternative in the coming elections and equally in the mass movement that would break out in the aftermath of the 2019 general elections.
If you agree with this perspective, then we do hope that you would be prepared to attend public meetings and/or symposia that would be organized in the coming days to further these discussions among working class activists, trade unionists, pro-masses organizations and change-seeking movements/political parties.