WORKERS AND THE POOR MUST UNITE TO SAVE NIGERIA!!
MAY DAY LAGOS:
AS WORKERS CELEBRATE MAY DAY!
WORKERS AND THE POOR MUST UNITE TO SAVE NIGERIA!!
JOIN AND BUILD THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF NIGERIA (SPN)
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Lagos State Chapter, solidarises with workers as we celebrate this year workers Day. The SPN is a party of Workers, Youths and the Poor. For over 100 years, May 1st has been a day of working class solidarity and agitation for improvement in their conditions.
Perhaps, more than ever, it is the time to tenaciously work towards an alternative economic and political system to capitalist policies and programs. In 1886, American workers rallied together on May 1st to demand economic and political justice, and to create an 8 hour workday. It laid the basis for workers winning more concessions through struggles at workplaces, factories and industry.
Today, workers and other sections of working people face brutal social and economic attacks from the governments at all levels. In Lagos, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the ruling party despite claiming to be progressive, the daily harrowing experience of the working people in the state has shown that the party is as anti-poor and anti-worker as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other anti-poor parties.
Lagos state is one of the states in Nigeria where the national minimum wage has not been fully paid. In spite of the propaganda of the government, the workers know the truth, though unfortunately they lack a fighting leadership. The Teachers Salary Allowance (TSA) fought and won by teachers has been surreptitiously taken back from them by the state government. It has been removed from their pay slip under the guise of new minimum wage whose purported payment is classical “Eko for Show”, the more you look the less you see. We must resist this attack on pay and condition and look for political alternative. This is what SPN has offered.
Besides, the government workers, some sections of ordinary people have had their means of livelihood severely attacked. Okada operation has been banned on many roads while the use of tokunbo cars for taxi operation has been proscribed. Ordinary traders have had shops demolished without alternative or adequate compensation.
But while workers are robbed of their legitimate pays and other sections of the working people made to lose their means of livelihood, they are expected to pay more to educate their children and to access health care facilities. This is in addition to the fact that every household is now a municipal government with its own power generation and water provision leading to skyrocketing cost of living.
Public primary and secondary schools are not only over-crowded in many of the schools, but also lack functional and adequate facilities for quality education like laboratories and libraries. A few standard private schools are unaffordable for most parents. University education in the state has been taken out of the reach of children of working class people. The fees in LASU was increased from N25,000 to between N193,750 and N348,750 by Fashola government. This is outrageously anti-poor and pro-rich. The party and government with this heinous policy does not deserve support of workers, it has to be ousted, but not to be replaced by its like and PDP or other anti-poor parties. This is why workers need a party like SPN. The party will massively invest in education at all levels with well-paid education workers exposed to regular training and re-training as well as adequate provision of facilities for quality education. The SPN will scrap these inhuman fees in LASU and in other tertiary institutions and we shall introduce free and qualitative education at all levels in Lagos.
In Lagos, the public hospitals are not enough, poorly staffed and scantily equipped. Even at that, they are not affordable for most Lagosians. It explains why many poor die from avoidable diseases/sickness. SPN will invest in public hospitals and build additional ones. We shall also invest in research work. The hospitals shall be run by committee made up of government appointed experts/workers, elected representative of workers and the communities.
Lagos State Government has shown obvious lack of capacity to provide Lagosians with functional transportation system. Many roads are in such terrible shape such that they are impassable and inaccessible. This is one of the reasons Okada has become a major means of transportation. Fashola’s response is to ban Okada in 475 roads. However, the same Fashola and ACN gave okada riders helmets and used them to campaign during the 2011 general election. Fashola has only built very few roads while many of the community roads have been abandoned.
The state of the roads and drainage system are some of the reasons there is flooding in many places whenever it rains. The SPN is opposed to the ban and attacks on Okada riders by the police and demand an end to these attacks. SPN is interested in phasing out Okada as a means of public transportation and that can be achieved by modernizing the means of transportation, which includes building all roads with good drainage, putting in place a metro-line that connects different parts of Lagos, investing in safe water transportation and putting in place a public mass transit. This is the only way a mega population of about 15 million can be successfully transported on a daily basis.
Social infrastructure and public corporations can only be sustained if they are democratically controlled by workers and communities to forestall mismanagement and embezzlement. For instance, Fashola and Tinubu’s BRT bus scheme is fast collapsing and it explains why workers are regularly protesting and embarking on strikes. For instance, out of about 800 BRT buses, only 190 are in working condition while workers are paid poverty wages (Drivers earn about N30,000, bus sweepers and depot cleaners earn about N12,000 monthly).
Lagos ACN since 1999 has only built houses for the rich while the poor have been abandoned. Despite that, the Tinubu and Fashola-led governments have continued to demolish houses and markets without alternatives or adequate compensation. The most recent is the inhuman demolition of Makoko, Ijora Badia and some houses in Ikorodu, thereby rendering millions of Lagosians homeless. SPN is opposed to such senseless demolitions without building alternative houses or without paying adequate compensation to the victims. SPN in responding to the housing crisis, will build different categories of decent housing estates whose rent will be affordable to workers and the poor. Where it is desirable to rebuild an area because of its poor or dangerous habitation, SPN government will reach an agreement with the inhabitants on either to be paid adequate compensations or to be relocated to a place built already.
Lagosians are one of most taxed people in the world, particularly when you consider the multiple taxation by different agencies and government at various levels. SPN will introduce progressive taxation wherein the rich will pay more tax. SPN will exempt the extremely poor, particularly those with low earnings either as workers or as traders.
Lagos Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) is N23 billion monthly while about N15 billion is collected from federal allocation monthly, but there is very little to show for this. The SPN government will be run transparently, hence much more funds will be generated as all loopholes for stealing and looting would have been blocked. These resources can be used to pay a minimum wage of N50,000 for workers as well as open up the economy through massive investment in basic infrastructure that will not only create jobs but also modernize the economy.
The SPN is opposed to the lekki toll and other tolls planned by the Lagos State Government. SPN shall scrap all tolls because it amounts to multiple taxation.
WORKERS AND CONDITION OF SERVICE
If elected, the SPN government shall ensure the payment of living wage, not less than national minimum wage; the provision of decent condition of service and working condition, and the implementation of all national agreements reached with all categories of workers. All this shall be without retrenchment of workers. We shall invoke all necessary powers to ensure that the private sector employers implement national minimum wage and obey labour laws including zero tolerance to casualisation of workers. We shall pay to retired workers decent pension. All political office holders on the platform of the party in Lagos and elsewhere will receive the average salary of civil servants.
FOR A WORKING PEOPLE POLITICAL ALTERNATIVE
Nigerians are not interested in replacing one behemoth with another leviathan or hydra headed monster. The APC is an alliance of convenience by disgruntled politicians lacking any progressive ideology to save Nigerians, and whose main agenda is to preserve their inordinate ambition to grab power at the centre, the “soul of the party” is not really different from the much-derided PDP. For instance, APC claims that it will offer Nigerians free education while Tinubu’s ACN in Lagos has commercialized education through outrageous fee hike like it was introduced in LASU.
Ultimately, Nigerians need a credible alternative, not just to replace the PDP in power, but to replace other ruling parties like ACN in Lagos. The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) is the party Workers, Youths and the Poor should join and consciously build in order to save the working people from social and economic ruin.