Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM



We of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) welcome the resolution of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) held on August 16 in Enugu to “take control of Labour Party, and reposition it as a party with the ideals of labour and its ideological preference in order to make desirable impact in future elections.” (Daily Times – August 17, 2014). We do this because we are absolutely convinced that labour must independently intervene in the 2015 elections to rally the working masses, the poor and genuine change seeking elements against the ruling class leading this country to disaster. Ribadu’s jump from the APC to the PDP is just the latest illustration that fundamentally the leaders of the main parties, despite their personal rivalries and cliques, are all fundamentally from the same ruling class.

We are however worried there appears no sincerity of purpose in the NLC’s proclamation. This is because at the same meeting the NEC passed a resolution to endorse “Comrade Simon Anchaver, the National President of Agriculture and Allied Employees Union of Nigeria, AAEUN and the Benue State chairman of NLC to contest for Benue State governorship in the 2015 general elections on the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP)!” (National Mirror – August 18, 2014). Besides, while the NLC resolution expressly supports the ambitions of individual labour leaders to contest elections in various anti-poor political parties it does not state the steps or ways by which the Labour Party will be repositioned.

We hold that if the NLC is truly interested in repositioning the party, its supposed best materials must join the party, strive to transform it into a platform for working people and ensure that genuine fighters, not careerists, have the party tickets to contest public elections. We observe that virtually all labour leaders that have contested public elections never did that on the platform of the Labour Party (LP). This is added with the characteristic attitude of the national labour leadership of supporting purported “pro-labour” candidates of other main anti-poor ruling parties such as Kayode Fayemi of the APC in the last held Ekiti election, even though formally the LP had a candidate in that election.

Even worse it appears that the current Labour Party leaders want to again support Jonathan in next year’s general election. We must not forget that just before the 2011 election Jonathan cynically ensured the passing of the N18,000 minimum to show he was ‘friendly to labour’ but then, once back in office, did absolutely nothing to ensure that this law was implemented. Tragically, despite the NLC’s role in founding the party, we are faced with the fact that the Labour Party as constituted and ideologically oriented since its inception is not fundamentally different in practice from anti-poor, pro-capitalist PDP and APC. This is why its internal elections are completely monetized, something that makes it easy for any anti-poor, money-bag politician from either PDP or APC to pay for the ticket of the LP in order to contest election.

We note this is not the first time the NLC has expressed intention to purportedly reposition the Labour Party. We recall that in November 2012 one of the Vice-Presidents of the NLC and President of Amalgamated Union (AUCPTRE), Emmanuel Ajoku, was quoted in the media saying: “the congress [NLC] had resolved to take full control of the LP to provide an alternative platform for Nigerians so as to have good governance in the polity”. We however totally condemn the way the NLC then proposed to achieve the repositioning of the LP. According to Ajoku, “the congress had commenced moves across the country to search for people of proven integrity and credentials that would be used for the exercise in the next general election.” (ThisDay, 22 November, 2012) or “seasoned politicians that would be labour-friendly and willing to churn out the true benefits of democracy to Nigerians”. (The Guardian, 22 November, 2012).

We hold that what is needed is firm action to build the Labour Party as a democratic, campaigning force of worker and radical activists that has clearly broken with all the rotten, looting traditions and anti-poor neo-liberal capitalist agenda of the ruling elite irrespective of political affiliations. However, going by the political template upon which the decision to reposition LP is based and being implemented, it is certain that the effort will not provide the urgently needed working class socio-economic and political alternative.

We argue that for the leadership of the labour movement to show its seriousness in reclaiming the Labour Party from its present rotten state they must abandon all forms of class collaborationist politics within and outside the Labour Party .This would be by scrapping the obnoxious and exorbitant candidature fees in order to enable ordinary workers to contest elections to both party and public offices. It is also imperative to subject the decision making processes to the democratic control of the rank and file of the party in order to uproot the bankrupt party leaderships at different levels and replaced them with a genuine democratically-controlled leadership.

We of the SPN will support all genuine efforts to reclaim LP if the trade union leaders are seriously committed to building it as a true political platform of the working people that will be ready to utilise Nigerian’s abundant human and natural resources for the benefit of all Nigerians and not just the capitalist looters as it is presently the case. This would mean the Labour Party no longer supporting Jonathan but next year presenting its own candidates in opposition to all other parties as part of a campaign to build a movement that can transform this country. But from the actions and inactions of the NLC leaders, we have to emphatically warn that, unfortunately, this is not what they presently seek to do.

This is while we of the SPN embarked on struggle for the actualisation of our registration and continue to mobilize workers, youth and masses to join our party. At the same time we call for a genuine and concrete discussion on building a genuine working people’s political alternative beyond the 2015 general elections. It is on this basis we welcome the resolution of the National Executive Committee of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which recently called for a socialist Nigeria and the formation of a genuine workers’ party to actualise it. We therefore further reiterate our call on ASUU to deploy its enormous goodwill and authority in the working people movement to successfully convene a conference of labour and socialist organizations as well as activists that subscribe to socialist transformation of Nigeria in order to begin discussion for a formation of a mass working people party to end capitalism in Nigeria and enthrone a democratic socialist government.

Segun Sango
SPN National Chairperson
E-mail: [email protected]