FUEL PRICE HIKE – SPN URGES LABOUR LEADERSHIP TO DISCONTINUE PARTICIPATION IN FG PALLIATIVE COMMITTEE AND INSIST ON REVERSAL OF FUEL PRICE HIKE AND OTHER ANTI-POOR POLICIES
Labour should prioritize mobilisation for the declared August 2nd mass action
The attention of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) has been drawn to media reports of the walkout staged by the leadership of both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) from the meeting of the Presidential Steering Committee on petrol subsidy removal palliatives. This was said to be occasioned by the absence of the key government representatives like the Chief of Staff (CoS) to the President among others in the meeting of the Presidential Steering Committee on subsidy removal palliatives meant to hold on the 28th July, 2023 at the Aso Rock.
The basis for the walkout is valid and labour leadership was correct to say that it suggests that the government is not ready and serious about the palliatives. However, we hold that, contrary to their argument it is the labour leadership themselves who are being deceived by the government, not the mass of the Nigerian working people. Therefore, we fault the decision of the labour leadership to attend the so called Steering Committee in the first instance.
In principle, the labour’s continuous participation in the Presidential Steering Committee on subsidy palliative absolutely contradicts the demand for a total reversal to the old price of petrol stated in the notice of mass action earlier issued by the leadership of NLC to the Federal government. It also raises a huge doubt over the labour readiness and seriousness for its declared August 2nd mass action.
As far as we are concerned, the so called presidential palliative steering committee is a mere distraction and a ploy by the Federal Government to continue to hold the labour down from building a mass resistance against its continuous economic attacks on mass of the Nigeria working people. It is in the light of this, we call on the leadership of both NLC and TUC to remain resolute on its demands for a total reversal of the price of petrol and to end all anti-poor policies. We also call on the labour leaderships to discontinue their participation in the palliative presidential steering Committee.
Instead, they should prioritise and begin mass mobilisation of the Nigerian working people in preparation for the nationwide mass action that has been declared to begin on the 2nd if August, 2023. We welcome the NLC national directive to its affiliates and state councils to commence the immediate mobilisation of their members. We equally urge the NLC national leadership to reach out to the national leadership of TUC for a joint prosecution of the declared August 2nd mass action
There is also a need to initiate and convene a joint meeting of representatives of workers, students, youths, socialist organisations and radical political parties at the national, state down to the community level. This should be with a view to setting up democratically-constituted action committees that will be responsible for effective mobilisation and co-ordination of the planned mass action at all levels.
Above all, we urge the leadership of the NLC and TUC not to take the Nigerian working people for granted once again by calling off the planned action before it takes off or wins any real concession. Rather, labour must take the August 2nd action as first among several activities needed to build a nationwide mass resistance to rescue the longsuffering working masses of Nigeria. For us in the SPN, a 48 hour general strike should be considered as the next step after the August 2nd nationwide Mass action!
Conclusively, the current state of affairs has further confirmed our age-long position that no section of Nigeria’s rotten capitalist elite can run Nigeria to the benefit of workers and poor. Tragically the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, campaigned for and supported the same ruinous neoliberal policy of fuel subsidy removal which labour is now organising to resist. This shows that the urgent necessity for the NLC and TUC now is to either work to rescue the Labour Party from pro-capitalist politicians who currently dominate it or begin building a new and genuine political platform that will at all time ready to represent and defend the interest of the working class and poor. Such a new party will have to be built clearly as a mass workers political alternative and armed with Socialist programmes in order to guard it from being taken over by capitalist politicians and ensure that it satisfy the interest of the working people .
Acting National Chairperson