LP crisis: DSM calls on NLC and TUC leaderships to commence the process of rebuilding the party
The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) sees the current crisis rocking the Labour Party as a clarion call for the rebuilding of the party as a true working people’s party. The crisis which has been rocking the party prior to the 2023 general election took on a new dimension on Thursday, 5th April, 2023 when the Nigeria police provided a cover for a faction led by the National Deputy Chairman, Bashiru Apampa to take over the national secretariat of the party. This was following an interim order of an Abuja high court that suspended the National Chairman and Secretary pending the determination of the case filed by the faction.
The faction had levelled some corruption related allegations against the party leadership including using forged documents to support the criminal substitution of candidates. While we don’t have specific facts on this matter, it is well known that the party is run like a shop which merchandises electoral tickets to whoever can pay for them. The news media are also awash with cries from party members who accused the party leaders of illegal and criminal substitution of their names with higher bidders.
However, we do not rule out the correctness of the allegation by the party’s National Chairman, Julius Abure, that the faction is sponsored by the APC in order to decimate the LP given the threat the party has posed to the continued domination of APC and PDP flowing from the results of 2023 election. The Apampa-led faction who alleged the Chairman and Secretary of corruption also immediately reinstated national officers – the National Youth Leader and Publicity Secretary – who were removed over corruption allegations. The faction also recalled state leaderships who were suspended following alleged compromises with APC or PDP in the last governorship election in their states. All this shows that the faction is out to take over the party for their own self-serving interest.
Therefore, we hold that the allegations and counter allegations of corruption among the party leadership and the way and manner they conduct the affair of the party, clearly show that the Labour Party as it is presently constituted is not run in the interests of the working people in the country.
It is in the light of this we call on the leaderships of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, to commence the process of rebuilding the party as a true party of the working people. As a first step towards this, we propose that the NLC and TUC convene a special conference that include trade unions, socialist and left organisations, left coalitions like TPAPM and JAF, and LP leaders, members and elected public officers.
We hold that such a conference should agree that for the party to become a genuine working people’s party, it must be based on a fighting working people’s programme and its affairs run democratically. This means that its officers, party candidates and public representatives must not subscribe to neo-liberal capitalist programmes which attack conditions of the working people, youth and the poor. Indeed, we will argue at the conference for a socialist programme that includes nationalisation of commanding heights of the economy under democratic management and control by working people.
The conference should also agree that the party must not preserve its ticket for money bags but make it possible for an average worker or any ordinary person who is willing to also vie for it. This means that the ticket must be free and the party conducts credible primary election to choose its candidates. The practice of changing nomination fee, let alone a very outrageous fee, as a condition to stand as a candidate in party or public elections is alien to the tradition of a workers’ party.
The affairs of the party, including participation in elections should be financed from members’ subscription, grants from trade unions, donations from public officials, donation from the public and sympathisers, etc. In other words, the culture of consistent financial commitment to the party by party members and supporters must be encouraged. However, this means that the party has to, both in and out of office, intervene in the daily struggles of working people and youth in order to win both political and financial support. The elected and public officers must receive average salary of skilled workers in addition to incidental allowances and donate the rest of their official pays to the party and working people and youth struggles. It is also imperative that there must be democratic accountability and transparency in the management of finances of the party.
We of the DSM are committed to join any effort and initiative for building a mass working people’s party including the transformation of the current Labour Party into the true party of workers, youth and the poor for the socialist transformation of the Nigeria state and its economy.
National Organising Secretary