Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

2011 Election: Workers Must Go for Political Power

2011 Election:

Workers Must Go for Political Power

Perennially faced with poverty and joblessness, high costs of education and health and general despair, more and more Nigerians on the streets, in the markets, on radio and TV phone-in programs and even churches and mosques etc – could be heard saying one thing: what Nigeria needs now is a revolution.

This much was confirmed recently by Professor Esko Toyo, Guest Lecturer at the Gani Fawehinmi Scholarship awards to indigent students, who quoted a survey by an American institution that revealed that what Nigerians want most now in the order of preference are revolution, roads, water, education, health care etc.

If the outcome of this opinion poll is properly analysed then it can be seen that the people are putting revolution first because they see it as the only avenue by which the basic necessities of life that they listed as the other priorities could be provided.

In other words having watched how under the prevailing capitalist system, the country’s abundant natural and human resources have been squandered, the ordinary peoples are intuitively moving in the direction of a revolutionary way out.

The masses are of course no fools. Continuously they have seen do-or-die politics that is increasingly less about offering genuine solutions to the myriad of socio-economic problems afflicting the Nation but more about who controls the largesse from petro-dollars. Repeatedly, they have seen a ruling class that plays all sorts of divisive cards ethnic, religion, tribe, nationality – when it comes to bidding for power especially in the period preceding elections but end up being united in the collective exploitation of the people via all sorts of pro-rich but anti-poor capitalist policies like privatization and commercialization of the commanding sectors of the economy.

Indeed, what the Encyclopedia of Nations said about Nigeria in 2001 is possibly truer today than nine years ago. Says the Encyclopedia: As of 2001, the most conspicuous fact about Nigeria’s economy is that the corruption and mismanagement of its post-colonial governments has prevented the channeling of the country’s abundant natural and human resources especially its wealth in crude oil into lasting improvements in infrastructure and the construction of a sound base for self-sustaining economic development. Thus, despite its abundant resources, Nigeria is poorer today than it was at independence in 1960.

The authors are of course neo-liberal elements. So they put the hope of resolving the problems in the hands of the same authors of the crisis, hence they say: Still one of the less developed and poorer countries of the world, it has the potential to become a major economic power if the leaders resolve to learn from past mistakes and to harness the country’s rich natural and human resources for a productive and sustained effort to promote economic development.

Truly Nigeria has all vital ingredients to be free from social and economic shackles, but if it were to be left to the so-called leaders same leaders that have plundered the country’s resources from independence to date nothing of such would ever happen.

Thus be it Goodluck Jonathan, Atiku Abubakar, General Ibrahim Babangida or the so-called PDP reformer,s and General Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu etc. for that matter, the Nigerian working masses cannot be expected to put their salvation in the hands of those who have taken turns to pile up their misery.

That is the message being passed with the vote for revolution. And that is the message that the Labour leadership and the entire working class movement should take seriously by urgently building the Labour Party into an organization that leads and mobilizes the poor masses in the fight against daily attacks on their living conditions and more importantly in the bid for power.

In this regard, a genuine Labour Party should not be one that millionaire capitalist politicians flock in and out of but one that is built on a program and perspective that links an end to the daily misery of the masses to a socialist transformation of the society, primarily, through the nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy under working class democratic control and management.

Only a mass working class Labour Party that commits itself to working class ideals and principles like all elected representatives earning not more than the wages of the workers they represent and all elected representatives to be subject to recall can be in a position to mobilize against election rigging. There should be no illusion that in the absence of this, there can be any electoral reform that will lead to acceptable, free and fair elections.