Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

Joint May Day: NLC and TUC Must Flag off Mass Action against Electoral Fraud

Joint May Day: NLC and TUC Must Flag off Mass Action against Electoral Fraud

The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) heartily welcomes the decision of the two trade union federations in the country, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), to hold a joint May Day rally for the very first time this year. This, we expect, will herald a working relationship that could strengthen the capacity of the labour in the defence of interests and rights of workers and poor masses in Nigeria.

Given the prevailing political ferment generated by the just concluded 2007 elections, locally and globally described as a farce, we strongly suggest that the immediate task before the NLC and TUC is leading workers and poor masses to demand the cancellation of this travesty of democracy. This means defending the most basic element of democratic rights that has been trampled underfoot by the unpopular, anti-poor Obasanjo government. Gladly, the NLC and TUC themselves have openly rejected the rigged and manipulated elections; but this proclamation must be matched with coherent political actions.

Accordingly, these May Day rallies should be used to flag off a nationwide mass protest against the monumental electoral frauds. The labour leadership should declare Day(s) of Action that will include industrial strikes, rallies, mass protests and other legitimate means of expressing rejection of the farce. However, the mass actions we are calling for are not the type that would be cancelled simply because the powers that be have granted one paltry concession or the other. More importantly, such mass actions must include all basic demands pertaining to decent living conditions and real democratic rights for workers and the general masses.

Labour must not allow itself to be hamstrung by the reactionary argument of non-partisanship. Rather, labour must consider its intervention as pitching tent with justice and fair play in the electoral process in the country. As the Obasanjo administration has shown in the last eight years, a government that emerged on the basis of fraudulent self-help, and not out of the legitimate mandate of the people, usually contemptuously and brazenly disregards the yearnings and aspirations of workers and poor masses.

The NLC and TUC must not subscribe to argument, which only advocates electoral tribunal for the aggrieved politicians to seek redress. This struggle is not primarily in support of interests of particular political parties or individuals, not even Adams Oshiomhole who was barefacedly robbed in Edo State, but a step towards entrenching a genuine, pro-masses’ democratic culture in the country. Besides, the struggle against military absolutism that brought about the current civil rule was not won from the courtroom but on the streets. It is on the same streets the democratic rights of people could be best protected and expanded.

However, we of DSM are not only calling for cancellation of 2007 elections but also for the building of a working peoples’ political alternative that could wrest power from the thieving ruling elite, cutting across all the current political parties, and begin socialist planning to use Nigeria’s huge resources in the interests of the overwhelming majority of its population. Having their own political platform ensures that workers and masses are not involved in power politics just to provide level playing field for the opposing sections of the thieving ruling elite.

Segun Sango
General Secretary