SPN Supports the People’s Alternative Political Summit
We Propose SPN as an Option of Political Alternative for Consideration by the Summit
We of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) welcome this highly commendable initiative of The People’s Alternative Political Summit. We agree with many of the statements in the invitation to this Summit. One of this is the objective of the summit which is to set in motion a process of building a political alternative of the working people with a socio-economic programme that could take the country out the woods.
SPN statement distributed to ‘The People’s Alternative Political Summit’ (T-PAPS) held in Abuja on March 26 and 27
Most of the Nigerian masses had hopes that the advent of civilian rule in 1999 would mark the turnaround of Nigeria following the monumental disaster of the military rule. But the current civil rule has, apart from the removal of direct military dictatorship, has completely failed to satisfy the hopes and aspirations of the working masses and youths. The capitalist ruling elites have demonstrated their incapability to guarantee for working people and the poor basic needs like education, health care, jobs and infrastructural development.
Even the limited democratic rights that go with civilian rule have been persistently attacked as the successive governments adopt more authoritarian methods and a reliance on the security forces to enforce their rules and discourage dissent. It is now getting clearer to more and more working people and youths that on many issues, apart from the periodic change from one section of the capitalist thieving elite to another, there is no fundamental difference between the civilian and military rules having both subscribed to the same anti-poor, often neo-liberal, capitalist programme. Nonetheless, the limited democratic rights and space won by the struggle against the military have to be protected while seeking to expand them.
For instance, there is presently a resolve by the ruling elite to claw back the gains of the struggle for the expansion of voting rights led by Chief Gani Fawehinmi with the current undemocratic deregistration of small political parties like the SPN. Even though the Appeal Court nullified the deregistration of the SPN and 21 other political parties the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has refused to respect the court order. It is instructive to state that these parties, including the SPN, were deregistered because they did not purportedly win a single seat at state and federal elections which were heavily rigged by both the APC and PDP in connivance with the same INEC and state electoral bodies. Besides, it was not every state that had conducted local government elections as of the time the INEC took this undemocratic decision.
We therefore propose that one of the resolutions of this summit should be a campaign for respect for freedom of formation of political parties with a special interest in the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and other left political parties which have been illegally and unjustly deregistered. This is imperative as it appears that the main objective of this attack on democratic rights is to disallow the existence of, or take over, any pro-working people party with a radical, anti-capitalist or socialist programme. This should also be of interest to this summit given that its expected outcome is working towards the formation of a mass working people political party on the basis of a programme agreed at the summit.
By and large, we would like to strongly propose that the “Common Political Program [CPP] for radical left political intervention” which this summit hopes to arrive at must be a bold socialist programme. It is the adherence to capitalist economic philosophy and programme by the primitive ruling elite in political power that explains why the huge human and material resources of the country have failed to translate into any meaningful benefit for the vast majority and genuine development of the country. This has manifested in unending economic and social crises such as consistently rising high cost of living, unemployment and insecurity which is getting wider and deeper across the country. It is also clear that on the basis of capitalism in a neo-colonial economy like Nigeria the parasitic ruling elites have been unable to resolve the national question. Rather, they compound ethnic and religious divisions for their own self-serving ends.
The call for this Summit says that it should “launch a Joint Political Campaign [JPC] to implement the Common Political Program” and SPN holds that this can be done by building a mass political movement on a socialist programme to unite the working people and wrest power from the thieving ruling elite and use the country resources for the benefit of all.
Therefore, it is important that such a party must not be just an electoral machine but a party of struggle that intervenes consistently in immediate demands and daily struggle of the working people and youths in workplaces and communities. We agree with the words of this Summit’s invitation that it is necessary to “intervene politically in the day-to-day routine struggles of our people”. In other words, such a party must be prepared to mobilise workers, youths and the poor against all anti-poor capitalist policies like fuel price hike, electricity tariff hike, obnoxious taxes, hike in school fees, underfunding of education and health care, etc. It is only on this basis that it can build authority and solid base among the working people.
Should this summit agree on a socialist programme as a basis for a mass political formation it intends to build, we of the Socialist Party of Nigeria, SPN shall be willing to offer our party as one of the options that should be considered towards achieving the objective of the submit. Although SPN is a small party with limited influence at present time but has a programme that meets the aspiration of the working people and the poor. The SPN’s socialist economic programme was skilfully developed from the Section 16 subsection 2 (c) of Chapter 2 of the 1999 constitution which states that the State shall direct its policy towards ensuring “that the economic system is not operated in such manner as to permit the concentration of wealth or the means of production and exchange in the hands of few individuals or of a group”. While we are confident that this programme is something many socialists and change seeking elements could identify with and promote, we of the SPN are open to discussion on the programme in as much it does not lead to a dilution of its socialist character.
Besides the programme, the SPN at present has a legal existence following the subsisting order of the Court of Appeal together with a solid ground to win at the Supreme Court, something that will be aided by a solidarity political campaign we have proposed this summit should agree upon. Therefore, the SPN can be built as the desired mass working people party on a socialist programme. When the initial call to form the SPN was made in 2012 there were many efforts to involve the widest numbers of activists and left groups. Today we again repeat that call so that, in the words of the invitation to this Summit, the SPN can play a role in facilitating and helping to “organise as broadly as possible radical left led revolutionary and working-class politics”.