Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM



By Segun Sango

Against general rejection/opposition to all persons running on the platform of bourgeois parties, we in the DSM call on the working masses and youths of Edo state to vote massively for Adams Oshiomhole in the forthcoming April 2007 governorship election, notwithstanding the fact that, he is running as the candidate of the Action Congress (AC), one of the three ruling capitalist parties in Nigeria today. The reasons for this exceptional departure are as follows:

Apart from Lanre Arogundade, a long standing socialist and DSM member, running as the NCP candidate in Lagos State, Adams is the only other candidate with a real working class background while virtually all other candidates are openly pro-rich, anti-poor and very corrupt. As the immediate past President of the NLC, he had led 7 general strikes/mass protests against certain aspects of the PDP’s government’s capitalist neo-liberal, anti-poor policies. Principally for his role in these struggles, many working class and genuine change-seeking Nigerians had called on Adams to spear head the creation of a mass working people’s party to wrest power from the capitalist class by running as a presidential candidate instead of seeking to become the Edo state governor. Secondly, many of these elements had accordingly called on Adams not to team-up with any of the capitalist parties in existence.

Initially, Adams bowed to this mass pressure by declaring for the Labour Party on September 6, 2006. However, in a most disappointing version, Adams later dumped the Labour Party to emerge as the flag bearer of the AC. To the criticisms of the members of DSM and others who regard his conduct in this regard as totally counter-productive to the aspirations and struggles of the working masses, Adams has continued to defend his action as a tactical necessity and not a renunciation of the working masses ideals. In this respect, Adams has continued to use his campaign speeches and interviews to make general attacks on the unjust prevailing order against certain interests of the masses and at the same time promising a “people-centred governance” based on “accountability”. But while making general promises to improve the working and living conditions of the masses, Adams had equally continued to hold an ambivalent position which tends to suggest that a fundamental improvement can be won for the masses within the framework of the existing self-serving capitalist neo-liberal order if only governance is handled by well meaning elements like himself.

In a recent parley with representatives of the Joint Action Forum (JAF), the civil society wing of the Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO), and the media, Adams insisted that notwithstanding the fact that he is running as the candidate of the bourgeois AC, if he wins the Edo state governorship, his government will be essentially labour and not bourgeois.

As socialists and conscious working class fighters, we in the DSM regard Adams’ claim in this respect as totally unrealistic and unachievable. First and foremost, we maintain that most of the laudable reforms being promised by Adams cannot be substantially implemented let alone sustained as long as Adams remains within the AC, a bourgeois party equally made up of corrupt and anti-poor politicians just as the PDP and the ANPP. Most of the elements in the AC only primarily care for positions and personal political advantages which positions of power can fetch.

Secondly, the scientific study of the struggles, successes and defeats of the working class movements internationally, has aptly demonstrated one irrefutable fact – no fundamental improvement can come the way of the working masses within the framework of capitalism, most especially in neo-colonial societies like Nigeria.

So while we call on the masses and youths in Edo state to vote for Adams, we still maintain that no votes must be cast for known capitalist elements and all corrupt politicians. We equally insist that Adams should pull out of the AC and join the efforts of those like us in the DSM to build a genuine mass working people’s party totally different in character and activity from the present fake Labour Party. This Labour Party is dominated by capitalist politicians like Femi Pedro and Segun Mimiko in Lagos and Ondo States respectively. Unable to actualise their personal ambitions within the AC and PDP, these individuals therefore decided to pursue same within the platform of the Labour Party without a known independent working class programme and activities.

As against the impression normally given by Adams that the prevailing unjust capitalist system can be run to fundamentally work in such a way to safeguard and guarantee the interest of the labouring masses, we in the DSM will continue to agitate that Adams and all other Labour leaders and pro-masses elements and organizations embrace outright socialist agenda which will rely on working class and youth democratic governance and management to ensure that the societal resources and wealth are constantly used for the benefits of all and not just the a tiny few as under the prevailing capitalist disorder.

Approaching the matter this way, we in the DSM strongly hold the view that Adams’ governorship challenge in Edo state can therefore become a key step forward in the process to building a genuine working people’s political party and not just another tragic process where a prominent working class leader succumbed under the pressure of the old thieving and oppressive capitalist politicians.