Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM)
For struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria
Newspaper of the DSM
Socialist Democracy Feb - Mar 2003
"Registration Of NCP Shows That Struggle Pays"
Segun Sango, Chairman, Lagos State NCP and General Secretary, DSM
Socialist Democracy (SD): What is the significance of the recent registration of NCP by INEC?
Segun Sango (SS): The most important significance of the registration of the NCP by the so-called INEC is that struggle pays. If the NCP and other 4 political parties that legally fought the battle to Supreme Court had folded their arms after the initial rejection of their registration bid, if the NCP leaders and members had not undertaken ceaseless propaganda and agitation against INEC's undemocratic, pro-rich political guidelines, the forthcoming general elections would have been an exclusive contest between the looters masquerading as politicians in PDP, ANPP, AD and other pro-rich political parties. This lesson that struggle pays was not only relevant yesterday, it remains absolutely crucial for NCP's today and tomorrow. For instance, having been forced to register NCP and other political parties, INEC and its pro-rich backers in government have now introduced a prohibitive "
processing fees" to ensure that a pro-masses political party like the NCP is technically knocked out from presenting electoral challenge for power to the present ruinous political leaders.
Even if NCP and other pro-poor, pro-working masses political parties are eventually allowed to run candidates in the forthcoming elections, the ruinous members of the capitalist ruling class and their imperialist backers will stop at nothing to make sure that a party like NCP is stopped from coming to power, and if at all it comes to power, to do everything to obstruct the party's goal of abolishing poverty. This is because the capitalists measure their glory on the depth of the gulf that separates themselves from the living conditions of the impoverished working masses.
Only concerted mass democratic struggles, which place at its centre the reconstruction and transformation of the prevailing unjust capitalist social order can ultimately brake the unholy conspiracy of the elites to kept the mass of the working masses and poor in perpetual socio-economic bondage.
SD: As the chairman of the NCP in Lagos State, what is your assessment of the level of support for the party among the masses both before and after the registration?
SS: I think there has always been a significant level of support for the NCP among the suffering working masses right from its inception. This has been undergoing a considerable growth since after the party has become officially recognised as a political party in Nigeria. What this shows is that there is a deep-seated yearning for a change on the part of the working masses to the prevailing bankrupt socio-political system. This by the way is being cynically acknowledged by the ruling class electoral tool called INEC.
Plainly put, it has the fear that a pro-masses party like the NCP can begin to have serious political support of the working masses, a phenomenon seen as detrimental to the self-serving agenda of the capitalist elements nationally and internationally. NCP rank and file leaders must therefore fully appreciate the fact that only by consistently fighting for actualisation of the aspiration and basic economic and political needs of the masses can they continue to be relevant to the masses' quest for change.
To this end, NCP must always see itself as a party of mass struggle. This is because the capitalist ruling class has never and will never voluntarily implement any economic or political measure that can fundamentally improve the lot of the masses. Even when they are occasionally forced by rhythm of class struggle to grant certain minimal economic and political concessions e.g. increment in minimum wage, registration of several political parties, etc., they always almost instantly implement worse counter-productive measures and policies such as mass retrenchment of workers, privatisation of the commanding heights of the economy, commercialisation of social services and basic needs such as food, housing, education, health care, telecommunications and lately monetisation of political contest, INEC's pro-rich "processing fees".
The masses must therefore not entertaining illusion. Meaningful change can only come out of mass struggles. These mass struggles must be centrally guided to right the wrongs of the prevailing capitalist disorder. How is this to be done? The greatest contradiction of the prevailing capitalist order is that the natural and human resources required to guarantee a decent socio-political existence for the working masses and poor in general are in the hands of insatiable greedy, self-serving egoists. For as long as these elements remain rich in ill-gotten blood money, they care less and in fact revel in the mystery and oppression of the overwhelming majority of humankind.
The main revolutionary task therefore before the current generation of working masses and pro-masses political fighters is the creation of a powerful working people's controlled political party which is sensitive and willing to fight alongside the masses in their day-to-day economic and political struggle. While striving to always combine this day-to-day struggle with the need for a complete social transformation of the prevailing decadent economic and political disorder.
SD: Corruption among politicians is a major phenomenon in most capitalist societies, especially in the neo-colonial countries and particularly Nigeria. What do you think the NCP needs to do to avoid also being caught in this trap?
SS: There are two fundamental ways in which the NCP can combat the virus of corruption that has been the bane of the Nigerian society. Firstly, the NCP leaders and rank and file members must always strive to make sure that its representatives holding governmental and party positions are held politically and financially accountable at all times. Among other things, this will involve measures aimed at building the party as a mass democratic entity wherein the rank and file members and structures of the party have a decisive say in the day-to-day running and policy formulation and implementation of the party.
Representatives of the party, particularly those holding government positions must not only be compelled to make an open declaration of their assets, party members must ensure that they are not paid more than the average salary of those that they are representing. Unlike the present fake anti-corruption crusade of General Obasanjo's government, an NCP government will have to ensure that every corrupt official and persons are dealt with in accordance with the laws of the land. The NCP members must be prepared to fight for the right to recall any elected or appointed official who no longer represent the true aspiration of their electors.
Ultimately however, the most effective way to eradicate the prevailing corruption syndrome is to fight for the enthronement of a democratic socialist society wherein the basic resources of nature and society will be placed under the common ownership and democratic control of the working people themselves. Under this kind of arrangement, production will be geared towards the satisfaction of the needs of the entire society unlike the prevailing unjust capitalist order where the common heritage of humanity has been converted into private estates and fiefdoms of a few capitalist rogues in the name of privatisation.
SD: The NCP was founded in 1994 in defiance of military dictatorship. In the present situation of civil rule, what strategy would you recommend for building the NCP as a mass-based, grassroot party?
SS: The formation of NCP in defiance of military martial laws was a positive statement in the defence of democratic right of the working people. Presently, the military has been forced out of power for almost four years now, a constitutional government has come to be, yet, a cursory glance at the socio-economic conditions of the working masses both under the military and now shows that nothing fundamentally has happened to make the conditions of the working masses better under the prevailing so-called democratic dispensation.
The capitalist civilian politicians across the country, across the political parties, have shown themselves to be self-serving and corrupt as their military counterparts. While of course, they do not have the boundless arbitrary powers of a military regime, the current set of rulers just like their military counterparts have exhibited a constant penchant for the violation of the economic and democratic rights of ordinary working masses and youth.
The Odi genocide, the Benue genocide, the ongoing efforts to frustrate the efforts of the working masses to form and belong to a political party of their choice are just few of the undemocratic and dictatorial tendencies of the current set of civilian rulers. For the interest of the masses therefore to be guaranteed at all time, the NCP must be consciously built as a party of mass struggles, in and out of office, whose ultimate goal is the revolutionary transformation of society along democratic socialist path.
SD: What are the prospects for the NCP in the forthcoming elections?
SS: Against the background of the bankruptcy and wholesome corruption of the current capitalist rulers within the AD, ANPP, PDP, etc., on the basis of the enviable pro-masses tradition and anti-corruption crusades of the NCP leaders at national and state levels, the NCP has a very good chance of utilising the deep-seated desire of the working masses for a clear alternative to the present rot. It is very important however to know that this will only happen if the rank and file members of the NCP take the party programme and fighting tradition to the working class people and the poor in general.
To this end, conscious effort must be made to adopt pro-masses and grassroot strategies in party's campaigns and mobilisation. While the looters in government will spare no cost on television, radio and bill boards adverts, NCP activists must see as a priority mass rallies, mass leafleting, mass postering, door-to-door campaigns among the working class people and poor in general. If this is consistently done, the mass of the working class people and youth will surely deepen their support for the party not only in the coming elections but also in the aftermath.