Campaign for Registration of SPN Continues
Campaign for Registration of SPN Continues
Demos held in 3 states and Abuja
On Monday 25th January 2016, the legal action filed by the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) challenging the INEC decision not to register it came up again for mention at the Federal High Court Abuja Division. The case has now again being adjourned till 31st March 2016.
Members of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) held small protests at the court in Abuja as well as the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Osun, Oyo and Lagos to demand the immediate registration of the party. At each of these protests, SPN members picketed the INEC offices, submitted written statements and addressed the media to expose the efforts of the INEC and the Nigerian state to prevent a genuine party of workers and ordinary people from emerging.
The SPN was formed in 2013 by members of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) together with worker and youth activists across the federation who desired not just a replacement of one ruling elite by another but a thorough-going system change. The party’s registration process was “terminated” by INEC despite the party meeting all requirements including the payment of mandatory N1million registration fee, party headquarter domiciled in Abuja as well as a National Executive Council (NEC) membership drawn across at least 24 states of the federation plus Abuja.
It is more than a year now since the legal challenge began. The proverbial wheel of justice grinds ever more slowly. Like all capitalist institutions, the judiciary is hardly the ideal place to get justice for ordinary people. Apart from the delaying tactics of INEC which has failed for 11 months now, and still counting, to act on its promise to settle with the SPN out of court, so cluttered is the judiciary that there is often no guarantee that the court would seat at the next adjourned date. For instance, in all of 2015, out of seven adjournments, the matter was only mentioned twice. This means SPN members and the lawyers travelled seven times to Abuja out of which five trips were a waste of time, money and effort. This is aside the risk of life that travelling in Nigeria whether by road or air implies.
Regardless of all these, DSM and SPN members shall not relent in the campaign for registration of the party. We are grateful to all members, supporters and sympathizers who have supported the campaign in one way or the other. We shall continue to need these supports as we go forward.
We believe that the import of the SPN challenge to INEC goes far beyond its own registration. Fundamentally, it is a challenge to break the barriers placed by the Nigerian state to ensure that politics continue to be dominated by political parties of the rich and powerful. It is a challenge to institutional barriers erected against the possibility of a genuine working class political alternative emerging to challenge capitalism and enthrone an egalitarian socialist future. For this, the fight is worth it!
Below are brief reports from the states where SPN members staged small demos in support of the legal action.
Report by Dimeji Macaulay
On 25 of January 2016, five members of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) including the
Deputy National Chairperson Northwest, Mukailu Tijani, and Deputy National Chairperson Notheast, Nuhu Zira, were in court for the SPN case challenging INEC decision not to register it as a political party.
As usual, the INEC counsel came to the court pleading on behalf of his principals on why they had not taken a single step to resolve the matter out of court since they promised in the open court on March 3rd 2015 to do that. Eventually, the court adjourned the matter to 31st March 2016. After the court sitting, members of the party stood outside the Federal High Court for a few minutes chanting solidarity songs with banners and posters of the party.
Members of the SPN in Osun State, as part of the National Day of Action for the registration of SPN, organized public protest and media activities in Osogbo on Monday 25th January, 2016. Seven members of SPN moved around 12.30 p.m. to picket the INEC office in Osogbo. At the INEC office, we organized a picket and addressed the media, specifically Galaxy TV. The chairperson of SPN in Osun State, Comrade Alfred Adegoke addressed the media on behalf of the party.
From there, we moved to the office of the African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower to organize press campaign. We addressed the media at these two media organizations. Questions were asked as to the next line of action. The state chair of SPN, Comrade Alfred Adegoke maintained that while we continue the legal struggle, we shall continue to mobilize the mass of people towards ensuring that INEC follows the democratic process by registering the SPN.
On Monday 25th January, 2016 comrades of the SPN, in Oyo state held a protest at the correspondence chapel in Ibadan. The protest action was to back the on-going legal battle against INEC continuous denial to provide the party certificate of registration.
At around 9:48am, 17 members of the SPN, Oyo state chapter, converged at First Bank, Mokola, Ibadan and protested to the front of correspondence chapel where reporters were gathered. Comrades moved from the point of convergence to the front of correspondence chapel chanting solidarity songs while holding the SPN banner, SPN leaflets and Socialist Democracy newspapers.
Comrade Segun Ogun, addressed the press as the Oyo state Youth Mobilization officer. In his address, he emphatically called on the wider trade and labour movement in Oyo state and beyond to join members of the SPN in the struggle for the registration of the party. He urged market women and men, youths and students alike to come out boldly to join SPN to rescue Nigeria from the hands of the capitalist political thieves in the country. He ended his address by stressing that the SPN ought to have been registered by INEC since all requirements stipulated by the electoral acts of 2010 and as enshrined in the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria had been duly met. He ended his speech by restating the demand for the SPN’s certificate of registration. He also assured the media that the legal and political battle would continue against INEC until the certificate of registration of SPN is issued.
We also submitted a prepared SPN statement to all press outfits in attendance. Some of the media houses conducted interviews for the youth mobilization officer, Segun Ogun, in both Yoruba and English languages. After this, we proceeded to the INEC office to submit the SPN statement. At INEC office, we were allowed to enter and we were directed to the registry unit where we met one of the INEC officials that collected the statement and promised to deliver it to the appropriate quarters.
Comrades who participated at the mass action to the media house are our comrades from cocoa research institute of Nigeria, CRIN, comrades from university of Ibadan and our workers comrade. Organization materials which include our SPN leaflets and posters where massively circulated to the general public.
Five comrades of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) were led by the National Secretary, Chinedu Bosah on a protest to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office at Yaba, Lagos. This protest took place concurrently as the case SPN instituted against INEC at the Federal High Court, Abuja came up for mention on Monday 25 January 2016.
We marched along Birrel road to the INEC office chanting solidarity songs. Placards were displayed reading “INEC must respect the law; Give us our registration certificate; SPN has met all legal requirement, register it now! INEC Violated Electoral Act and 1999 Constitution; SPN is a Party for Workers, youths and the poor.”
As soon as we got to INEC office, the security personnel alerted the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Lagos INEC, Mr. Femi Akinbiyi who came to attend to us. The PRO claimed that the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) who heads the Lagos office had gone out for official assignment but despite his absence, he would take our message to the INEC Chairman. Chinedu Bosah who spoke demanded that INEC should issue SPN its registration certificate without delay since all legal conditions has been met.
Mr. Akinbiyi appealed for calm and pleaded that SPN should engage INEC in dialogue towards settling the matter amicably. In response, Chinedu critiqued INEC deliberate refusal to honour the out-of-court settlement it appealed for through its counsel at the Federal High Court Abuja on March 3, 2015. Besides, since March 2015, INEC refused to dialogue with SPN despite the fact that we initiated meeting of both parties.