Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM




The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) congratulates the poor working masses of Edo State on the swearing-in of Adams Oshiomhole as the Governor of the state following last Tuesday’s unanimous affirmation of his victory by the Court of Appeal.

We salute Adams Oshiomhole and the entire working people, market women, youth and artisans of Edo whose resoluteness and vigilance led to the recovery of the stolen mandate from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), whose hall mark either at the state or Federal level is the imposition of anti-working peoples’ policies on ordinary Nigerians while they plunder the public treasury.

It is indeed a peoples’ victory, which affirms DSM’s long-held position that change is possible especially where the people are offered a radically different alternative they can trust.

In this context, it should be reiterated that the masses of Edo state voted for Adams Oshiomhole, because having successfully led general strikes as NLC President against anti-poor neo-liberal policies like the hikes in fuel prices, they believe he is capable of leading them to break with the old order where corruption, official brigandage, infrastructural decay and under-development reigned.

Every vote for Adams Oshiomhole was simply a bold statement of rejection of poverty, squalor, illiteracy, homelessness and hopelessness which nine years of IMF/World Bank policies of PDP government has inflicted on the citizens and which he fought against as a labour leader.

Most importantly, the tremendous support of the mass of the working people and youths in the state during the entire period of the judicial challenge of the electoral rigging of the PDP shows the potential of the labour movement as a vehicle of radical change. As it has been repeatedly confirmed, the mass of people voted for Adams Oshiomhole and supported the struggle for defence of the mandate, not because of his party the Action Congress (AC), but because of his radical working class credentials as the immediate past president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). The masses’ expectation therefore is that with such a person in power, radical pro-masses’ policies will be implemented to resolve the socio-economic crisis afflicting the mass of the populace.

Against this background, we urge Adams Oshiomhole to confront the challenges of governing Edo state in the same spirit and letter of his statement on Barack Obama that his victory “brings hope to millions of working families, the poor, aged and marginalised. It also strengthens the prospects of the revival of public policy as a pre-eminent tool to address the concerns of the poor, the working class and working families, especially on the crucial issues of health care, jobs, social and retirement security and lower taxes” (Guardian November 11, 2008).

However, in order to translate hope and prospects into reality and satisfy the huge expectations of the mass of people, Adams Oshiomhole should immediately on assumption of power as Governor of Edo State mobilise the Edo working masses in support of a drive to reverse all neo-liberal policies of the past government and implement pro-poor policies. This is essential because the PDP controls the Edo House of Assembly and will attempt to use this to limit Oshiomhole’s actions and, like in the Second Republic, poses the danger of a future attempt to remove him. Oshiomhole’s programme should include provision of motor able roads, free and quality education, electrification, pipe borne water, quality healthcare, affordable housing for all, mass employment, adequate remuneration of workers etc. To ensure that the State has enough resources to guarantee all the above, Adams Oshiomhole must cancel the wasteful expenditure and corruption which characterised past regimes. He should cancel paying interest on the debts run by the previous regime and demand that the Federal Government provides Edo, and all other states, with the necessary recourses to implement pro-working peoples’ policies. As part of a drive against looting all public office holders should be on a living wage not above that of the average skilled workers and professionals, with democratic controls to act against looting. If this is done, the state could invest the resources accruable to it in the genuine interest of the working and poor people of Edo State.

But achieving all this is most unlikely in the current scenario where Adams Oshiomhole is in the Action Congress (AC) which is also an anti-poor people’s party like the PDP. He will surely face tough battles and frustrations from the power brokers in the AC who see governance as an opportunity to loot the treasury. This is why we in the DSM regretted that Adams Oshiomhole left the Labour Party to stand for the Action Congress and call on him to quit the Action Congress now.

Oshiomhole should rather help build the Labour Party, together with labour and pro-masses’ organisations, as a fighting party of the working and toiling people that could defend their immediate demands and lead them in struggle for political power nationally. However, in order to guarantee basic needs of all and economic development on a lasting basis, the party will have to embrace socialist ideas and methods in and out of power.

Segun Sango
General Secretary
Democratic Socialist Movement