Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

SPN Condemns Granting of Life Pensions to Presidents and others

SPN Condemns Granting of Life Pensions to Presidents and others

We call on Labour Movement to Mobilize for Mass Actions against this Robbery

The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemns the recent passage into the constitutional amendment the granting of life pensions for Presidents, Vice President, Senate Presidents and House of Representatives Speakers by the National Assembly. We see this as another attack on an average Nigerian who has been made to wallow in poverty in spite of the stupendous wealth of the country. It is absolutely immoral and wicked of National Assembly whose members claim to be the elected representatives of the common people to defraud the nation by committing public resources to the already rich few. Currently, Nigerian politicians, and especially National Assembly members, are the highest paid in the world. It is clear that the insatiable quest of politicians to loot the better part of the nation’s wealth is not quenched by the outrageous amount politicians award for themselves at all levels, thus the new attempt to give politicians who occupied key positions permanent wages, even after they have left offices.

We call on Nigerian labour movement to reject this latest fraud, and mobilize its members, civil society, oppressed and poor Nigerians out in mass movement against this fraud. This should be linked with building mass movement against all anti-poor capitalist policies.

While national assembly members, comprising representatives from main capitalist parties like PDP, APC, LP, APGA, etc., were united in their aim to milk the country dry through this fraudulent life pension, hundreds of pensioners continue to die needlessly as a result of unpaid pensions and gratuities, which in most cases are peanuts. Today, across the country, millions of pensioners, who have committed their adult lives to the service of the country, are suffering over unpaid pensions and gratuity, while politicians, already on expensive luxuries at the expense of the public are giving themselves life pension after just a four year stay in office. Just as the leading politicians at the federal level are awarding themselves life pensions, state officials have already started this long time ago. State like Lagos, Akwa-Ibom, Kwara, among several others have enshrined life pensions for governors and their deputies.

It is worrisome that the same National Assembly members that found it difficult to legislate mere N30, 000 minimum wage for workers, found it easy to award several millions to bourgeois politicians as salaries and life pensions. Today, the education sector is in ruin as a result of chronic underfunding, but the national assembly sees no reason to commit public resources to public education. Why should they, when they can easily send their children to the best schools around the world using public resources. Is it then accidental that Nigeria is one of the most unequal countries in the world with just one percent of the population cornering up to 80 percent of the nation’s wealth? According to statistics, more than 40 percent of the working population is jobless while poverty rate is more than 70 percent. Yet, every year, less than 18, 000 politicians in power take as much as over N1.3 trillion as salaries, allowances and perks of office; an amount that is more than four times the total budgets for health.

It is condemnable that the same politicians who have severally and collectively ruined the nation’s economy and destroyed the country’s social fabrics, as a result of their corrupt and pro-capitalist rule, are now the one getting the choicest part of our economy. Today, most state governments and even federal government owe workers’ salaries, using the excuse of fall in oil revenue, itself a product of the gross mismanagement of Nigeria’s economy by successive governments. Yet, the same excuse is not applicable to salaries of politicians, and now life pensions for leading politicians.

All of this shows that Nigeria’s capitalist political class, organized in the major political parties of PDP, APC, APGA, LP, etc., are united in their pro-rich, anti-poor neo-liberal policies that put public wealth in the pockets of the rich few. While they tell us to tighten our belts for economic prudency, they award themselves the juiciest of salaries and allowances, while committing public policies towards meeting their private business agenda. This underscores the need for working people through their organizations, especially the trade union to lead mass movement against anti-poor policies. More importantly, there is the need for labour movement to lead the formation of a working peoples’ political platform, to provide a genuine alternative to the policies and politics of the anti-poor political parties currently in power across the country. The latest assault through enactment of life pension for the top government functionaries that have looted and ruined the economy further drives this point home than ever.

Segun Sango
National Chairperson
February 19, 2015
E-mail: [email protected]