Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

JAF Political Memorial for the martyrs and victims of January struggle

JAF Political Memorial for the martyrs and victims of January struggle




Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) commiserates with the families of about 20 harmless protesters murdered by trigger-happy police officers across the federation during the recent general strike and mass protest against outrageous fuel price hike. For instance, Abiodun Ademola was murdered in cold blood while others sustained different degrees of gunshot wounds when Mr. Segun Fabunmi, the Divisional Police Officer of Pen Cinema Agege Police Station opened fire on defenseless youth at Ogba in Lagos. It was in the same heinous way Muyideen Mustapha was killed by blood-thirsty policemen in Ilorin. We demand open and speedy prosecution of Segun Fabunmi, while the other killer police officers across the country should also be immediately arrested and similarly prosecuted. Tragically these policemen instead of siding with the vast majority of the population stood at the side of the rotten elite that also exploits them. Ultimately, President Jonathan and the ruling class he represents are responsible for the deaths that were recorded during the mass actions. Hence, we demand adequate compensation paid to the families of those killed.

January’s strike and protests were the largest Nigeria has ever seen but, instead of continuing the battle, the NLC and TUC leaderships capitulated at a time the working masses were determined to continue the struggle to defeat the government’s anti-poor action. This unfortunately is not unconnected with the fact that the Labour leadership does not have a clear-cut socio-economic and political alternative with which to rally Nigerians to victory. And that explains why they shy away from leading a process of building an alternative mass working peoples’ political party and why, in their January 15 statement, the NLC and TUC leaders stated that they are “not campaigning for ‘Regime Change’ “. We call on workers and activists not to abandon the trade union movement to the current leadership but to wage a struggle to usher in a new leadership across board that will defend workers’ interests at workplaces and at the same time spearhead an economic and political liberation of the masses.

Nigerians should not put their hope in the House of Representative Probe of the oil sector since nothing good is expected to come out of it. The probe is only a diversion meant to create illusion amongst Nigerians while things go from bad to worse, particularly when previous probes of the House have led to nothing. The best memorial for the late youths who were killed during the struggle to attain a better Nigeria is to continue the struggle to change this country for the better. Hence, there is a dire need to build an alternative mass political force, a party that will wrest power from these anti-poor political parties (PDP, ACN, APGA, ANPP etc) and politicians who are hell-bent in protecting the interest of only a privileged rich few. That is the challenge that confronts the working masses, all genuine left individuals and organisations including JAF and affiliates.

The growing poverty, unemployment/job losses, right wing insurgency and violent crimes show clearly that Nigeria is heading for the abyss and a change in system that will usher in better life for all is urgently needed. It also confirms that the present ruling elite are incapable of sustainably moving Nigeria forward. Despite the current fuel export led GDP growth, all sectors of the Nigerian economy are in shambles. Capitalism vis-Å•-vis the implementation of neo-liberal policies (privatization, deregulation, cuts in social expenditure etc) is responsible for this state of hopelessness and misery since profit for a few is guaranteed at the expense of needs of the vast majority. Rather than invest in the economy to expand infrastructures and create jobs, the politicians in government are looting public resources, the income from oil and gas exports, hiking price of petroleum products and other essential services like schools fees, electricity bills etc., in order to guarantee huge profit and loot for a few. This is why this month’s report from the government’s National Bureau of Statistics confirmed that poverty is growing and the gap between the rich and poor is getting bigger with almost 100 million Nigerians currently living in absolute poverty.

The 6 day general strike and mass action has confirmed the masses’ ability to struggle for change however, what was lacking was a decisive leadership and a clear cut socialist program, including the correct tactics and strategies to win the struggle. The solidarity and cooperation amongst working masses during the 6-day mass action showed that it is only the working class that has the capacity to unite Nigerians and fundamentally move the country forward. The polarization that comes with bourgeois politics was nowhere to be found during the struggle against fuel price hike. Christians and Muslims matched and fraternized together including in the North where there is scourge of Boko Haram. Nigerians came together irrespective of their tribe, ethnic and region to fight their common enemy, capitalism with its neo-liberal policies and the politicians that defend it.

We call on labour, JAF, workers, pro-labour activists and socialists to begin the process of building a political alternative run on socialist program while intervening in the day-to-day struggles and issues affecting the working people. The DSM struggles for a socialist Nigeria that will have the working class in government and run governance economy as well as plan production and exchange with the aim of meeting the needs of all. It is also means that all the commanding heights of the economy will be nationalized with democratic control and management by the working people themselves. This would help raise adequate resources for infrastructure and basic needs and forestall corruption that is characteristic of publicly owned companies as well as the private firms. At a time when much of the world is in turmoil, the beginning of a socialist transformation of Nigeria would get a big echo and be an example to the working masses in Africa and beyond.