Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM)
For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria
DSM, PO Box 2225, Agege, Lagos
Come to DSM secretariat at 49 Charity Road New Oko-Oba, Abule-Egba, Lagos,
Call our national office on 0805 304 5953
President Yar'adua's Era: A new dawn for the masses?
1 November 2007
This pamphlet was originally written by Segun Sango, the General Secretary of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), barely 100 days in power of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and then discussed within DSM. Yar'Adua was declared President by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in April 2007 general elections which were marred by unprecedented massive rigging, manipulation, brazen stealing of ballot paper and boxes, etc unparallel in Nigeria's history.
Within a few weeks of President Yar'Adua coming into office, there was a widespread belief that somehow, he was going to be "different". Truly this is another example of hope triumphing over experience. In the real scientific term, President Yar'Adua's era is a mere continuation of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo's inglorious anti-poor and incorrigibly corrupt government. Both in outlook and origin, the Yar'Adua government is an embodiment of the widely hated Obasanjo government. During his campaigns and since his assumption of power, Yar'Adua has always stated that his government is a government of continuity. Of course, given the circumstances of its birth, it is stretching credibility for Yar'Adua's government to pretend to be something else. However, events and continued hostility to Obasanjo may later force him to try to appear "different".
Towards the tail end of its inglorious rule, the Obasanjo government took some decisions which many patently could see as nothing but deliberate steps taken to benefit cronies and inflict further hardship on the already over-burdened masses. Issues in this regard include the hike of fuel prices, the cheap sales of Kaduna and Port-Harcourt refineries, the suspension of the implementation of the 15% pay rise already approved for federal workers, etc.
This is one issue on which many bourgeois writers/cheer leaders have been praising President Yar'Adua to a high heaven. And here, many examples of President Yar'Adua's "commitment" to rule of law as opposed to President Obasanjo's supposedly militaristic presidency are readily recited for all those that care to listen. Few days after Yar'Adua assumed office, the Supreme Court nullified the purported election of Andy Uba as the governor of the Anambra State on the basis of the reasoning that Governor Peter Obi had not exhausted his constitutional tenure as Governor under the 1999 constitution, by the time of the 2007 Governorship election. Pronto, President Yar'Adua was said to have ordered that the Supreme Court order be implemented by the Inspector General of Police.
In order to give the impression of a serious minded administration, President Yar'Adua has come up with what is known as the seven point agenda for the country. This includes energy, security of lives and properties, land reforms, human capital development, wealth creation, poverty alleviation, transportation and infrastructural development. According to official propaganda, the implementation of this 7-point agenda will catapult Nigeria to become one of the 20 biggest economies by the year 2020. On paper, this seven point agenda individually and collectively appears to have captured the essential features of the problems troubling Nigeria. Take energy for instance. According to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), goods and services produced in Nigeria are 33%costlier than other countries where stable electricity supply is available. This is not to mention the fact that the absence of steady electricity supply has factually turned the country into a dumping ground for all sort of electricity generator sets with its incalculable cost in form of environmental pollution, both now and in the long run.
Arguably, the crisis in the Niger Delta constitutes the greatest threat to the self-serving rule of the capitalist elite nationally and the interest of imperialism internationally. As of today, the region, through revenues from crude oil, accounts for 95% of Nigeria's foreign exchange earnings. However, due to the combination of a skewed political arrangement left by British colonialism, the post independence subordination of the people of this region to the rule and domination of the capitalist elite of the three Nigeria's major nationalities (the Hausa-Fulani, the Yorubas and the Ibos) and the especially rapacious, greedy and reckless exploitation of the regions oil resources by multi-national oil companies in active collaboration with the successive capitalist governments of Nigeria, the region has pathetically remained one of the poorest and environmentally most devastated parts of the world.
Sadly to note, there does not exist presently any viable opposition nor alternative being proffered by the entire labour movement to the well tried but failed perspective being offered by the Yar'Adua government. Scientifically speaking, there is, in fact, no any opposition being mounted against the policy options being presented by the Yar'Adua government. Of course, the two main ruling capitalist parties in opposition i.e. the ANPP and the AC would want to be called oppositionists. In reality, they are almost absolutely indistinguishable from the ruling PDP government. Take the ANPP for instance. It fully subscribes to privatization of public assets and all other neo-liberal mantra, which constitutes the credo of Yar'Adua PDP government. Its own publicly elected members in their own areas of control have been as corrupt as their counterparts in the PDP.
As we in the DSM often argue, none of the basic problems confronting the working masses across Nigeria and in the Niger Delta region can be resolved on the basis of the prevailing unjust neo-colonial capitalist arrangement.
One, the self-serving profit interest of the main imperialist countries of the USA, Japan, Europe and now China, will never permit sufficient development of the national and human resources of the country to such a level that can guarantee the well being of the people. Two...
The prospect for the economic well-being of the vast majority of the working masses and poor, under President Yar'Adua looks very bleak and worrisome, especially within the framework of the neo-liberal economic philosophy being championed by his government. As we have repeatedly underlined in several of DSM publications, the past 8 years or so have been especially fortunate for Nigeria in terms of steady high price of crude oil. As we are about to go to press, oil for the first time, is being sold for over $90 per barrel. As a major oil producing country, this phenomenon has fetched Nigeria billions of dollars as revenue from crude oil sales.
Main political resolutions passed by the DSM National committee meeting held between September 29 and October 1, 2007
Nigeria's 2007 general election has been roundly and justifiably condemned as the most farcical exercise ever conducted in Nigeria and internationally in the name of elections. The entire exercise was dominated by brazen, large scale financial and electoral manipulation by the ruling parties across the country. Such was the depth and scale of riggings which characterised the so-called elections that even the imperialist backers of Nigeria's neo-colonial capitalist elites temporarily withheld open fraternisation with Umaru Musa Yar'Adua who was declared president from these highly rigged elections.