INCREASE IN PETROL PRICE: ONE INCREASE TOO MANY
SPN CHALLENGES NLC, TUC AND PRO-MASSES ORGANISATIONS NOT TO SIMPLY CONDEMN THIS ANTI-POOR ATTACK IN WORDS
SUSTAINED PUBLIC MASS ACTIONS NEED TO BE DECLARED TO RESIST BUHARI-LED REGIME’S GROWING ATTACKS AND ANTI-POOR POLICIES
The recent increase in Ex-depot price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, from N138.62 per litre to N151.56 per litre is one increase too many. This increase which is coming after another increase just about 2 months ago is deepening the unaffordability of the fuel price. Especially at a time when electricity tariff has also been hiked and other anti-poor policies imposed on Nigerians, this fuel increase will also negatively impact transport cost, food cost and other consumables thus further compounding the rising excruciating poverty in the country.
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) strongly condemns this increase and demands its immediate and unconditional reversal pre-May 2020 price. But condemnation in words alone will not be enough especially for an obdurately anti-poor capitalist regime which has made it clear to everyone that it is desperate at offloading economic catastrophe on the head of working class and poor Nigerians. We, therefore, call on the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) not to simply issue statements as it has been doing for months now condemning in strong terms one anti-poor government policies to another yet without taking any serious action to mobilise to fight back. This effectively allows the capitalist ruling elite to carry out their plans while the absence of concrete opposition plans condemns the broad masses to suffering in silence while disarming the advanced layers of the working class and youth who are rearing to fightback but need bold and militant leadership.
The past few years have shown that words are useless with the Buhari government. The regime is neither moved by reason nor logic of argument. Now is the time to confront this rampaging anti-poor capitalist Buhari All Progressive Congress (APC) regime with the mighty strength of the working people of this country. The SPN therefore demands of the NLC and TUC nothing less than a plan of struggle involving mass rallies across the country leading to a one-day general strike and mass protest. Such an action which must be well mobilised for from below cannot be against the increase in fuel price alone. It must also be used to oppose and demand reversal of increase in electricity tariff, full implementation of N30, 000 national minimum wage across the board, meeting of demands of ASUU, doctors, aviation workers and other categories of workers who have declared labour dispute, end to casualization and indecent workplace practices as well as the reversal of all anti-poor capitalist policies. Only such a declaration backed with a plan of struggle can revive the image of the labour movement in the eyes of the working masses of Nigeria who in the midst of mounting poverty, unemployment and destitution have grown tired of the penchant of labour leaders to “bark without biting”.
We also challenge pro-masses’ organisations, groups and all change seeking elements to begin to organise to fight back. During the January 2012 anti-subsidy removal movement, protests had broken out in Lagos and other parts of the country before the labour leadership was compelled by the situation to declare a general strike which of course immediately transformed the situation. We urge that youth, activists and pro-masses’ organisations should begin now to organise and convoke meetings to set up action committees at workplaces, communities and campuses; through such structures, a mass movement can be built to begin to fightback.
These periodic increases in the price of fuel are direct consequences of the policy of gradual deregulation of the oil sector. This means as crude oil price improves on the world market, the pump price of fuel will also rise. The Dangote refinery when it finally comes on stream will not resolve this paradox because it is being built solely for profit motive. Therefore the NLC, TUC and pro-masses’ organisations must also demand an end to deregulation and the nationalisation of the entire oil sector under democratic workers control and management and the establishment of new publicly-owned refineries capable of refining crude oil for domestic consumptions.
Abiodun Bamigboye Chinedu Bosah
Acting National Chairperson National Secretary