Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM




The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM,) Ondo State Chapter, condemns the ban of commercial motorcycle (okada) operation in some roads and streets in Akure, the State capital. This ban is a continuation of the anti-poor policies of the state government.

We hold that it is the failure of the government to provide good roads and mass transit that has made motorcycles a major means of transportation for many commuters despite its undesirability especially as regards safety. The fact is that many streets and roads are almost impassable for motor vehicles. Besides, the poor state and management of roads that cause traffic congestion forces many commuters to opt for motorcycle in order get to their destination in time.

We welcome the protest action by the motorcycle (okada) riders against this anti-poor action of the government. This protest also included the rejection of the imposition of a new number plate by the state government at the extortionate cost of N10,000. Besides, those arrested for plying the roads without this new number plate are made to cough out a sum of N5,000 as a fine and another N2,000 for the fraudulent ‘Kadii Igbe Ayo’ – another scam project of the State Government. All this constitutes a super exploitation of poor people trying to eke out a living with okada operation and also underscores the deep-seated anti-poor character of the state government.

We urge okada riders to remain steadfast and organize a series of peaceful mass actions that seek to involve other layers of the poor working people in the struggle in order to defeat this anti-poor policy.

After almost wrecking the finances of the State and pushing the people in further poverty, through constant looting, and reckless spending, the government has decided to subject the poor okada riders to harsh conditions of living.

It should be noted that this same State Government at present owes workers nothing less than three month salaries. Many projects embarked by the government have also been discovered to be fraudulent. For example, most of the mega markets constructed at the cost of several millions of naira across the State have been covered up with weed and have become market place for rats and rodents as the rent prices of these markets are simply unaffordable for common traders.

Education in the state is also in a sorry state. For example, for the past seven years the Ondo State University of Science and Technology (Osustech) has not produced a single graduate, in spite of the fact that the institution charges astronomical fees as high as N150,000 and other sundry fees. Since February the state government has not released subvention to any of the tertiary institutions in the State. The conditions of primary and secondary schools in the State have also rapidly gone worse. No wonder only about 32.40% of those who participated in WASSCE Examination (WAEC O’Level) in the state managed to have 5 credits.

The Olusegun Mimiko led government is also notorious for holding onto one project for years and keep budgeting money for construction. For example, the Akure Dome has been in construction for over 3 years and has reportedly gulped over N3 billions from the financial coffers of the Government. Other fraudulent and scandalous projects include the N400 million budgeted for the Okitipupa Oil Palm Company Plc, the N400 million budgeted for Tomato PasteCompany, Arigidi Akoko; N400 million Cocoa Catalytic Company, and the N600 million for the cement factory at Okeluse. None of these projects are working presently and have been totally abandoned.

We call on labour and pro-masses’ organisations in the state to support the struggle of okada riders, organize mass protest against unpaid salaries and pensions and build campaign against financial recklessness and all anti-poor neo-liberal capitalist attacks in the state.

More importantly, the fact that the anti-poor policies of Ondo state government are similar to what obtain in other states irrespective of the political parties (APC, PDP or APGA) is one of the reasons we of the DSM have consistently campaigned for the formation of a genuine mass working people party by the labour movement. However, while we continue the call on labour movement leadership to form such a party, the members of DSM together with some socialists and trade unionists have initiated the formation of Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) which could serve as a striking example of a party that represents interests and aspirations of working people and the poor. At present we are in court over the refusal of INEC to register the party despite having fulfilled all the constitutional requirements. We call on workers, artisans, okada riders, traders, youths etc. to join us in the campaign for a mass workers’ party and building of the SPN.

Ogundare Timileyin Tombellz
Ondo State Ag. Co-ordinator