Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

SPN Rejects Mass Retrenchment in Osun State Tertiary Institutions

SPN Rejects Mass Retrenchment in Osun State Tertiary Institutions

The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Osun State Chapter condemns in absolute terms the mass retrenchment of staff of state-owned tertiary institutions in Osun State. We call for the immediate reversal of this retrenchment by the Rauf Aregbesola-led Osun State government and end to all anti-worker policy of the government. We also call for an end to the ruinous policy of merger or restructuring of tertiary institutions in the state. We call on staff unions of the tertiary institutions including the College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Senior Staff Union of tertiary institutions and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), communities, students’ movement and the labour movement in the state to mobilize their members for mass actions to reject the retrenchment and the merger policy. These mass actions must include protest marches, rallies, press campaign, leafleting, strike action, lecture boycotts and pickets of government offices. Without this, the Aregbesola government will further drive down more anti-poor policies on the working and poor people.

According to media reports, about eighty four (84) staff on employment in Osun State College of Education, Ila-Orangun have been sacked, while over hundred contract staffs have also been sacked in Osun State College of Education, Ilesa by the managements of these institutions, under the directive of the Aregbesola-led Osun State government. Evidently, many more staffs are being listed for retrenchment by the government. If this policy is not nipped in the bud by workers, students and communities, it will set the background for massive retrenchment of workers across the board. This is why we in the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), call on working people, students and communities to begin massive mobilization against this round of anti-people retrenchment policy of the government.

Clearly, the Aregbesola government has shown that it is not only anti-people and retrogressive but also dishonourable and dubious. The same government had claimed that it would not sack workers under any guise. For several years, these staffs have been working in these institutions, helping to fill the gap created by the shortage of adequate number of staff in these institutions. The shortage of academic staff is a product of chronic underfunding of education, especially tertiary education, in Osun State. For the past seven years, including Aregbesola’s five years, there has not been any new project by the state government in any of the four tertiary institutions (polytechnics and colleges of education). There has been continuous depletion of teaching and non-teaching staff in these institutions. Yet, the only solution the government could provide is the sack of staffs who have been assisting to ameliorate the problem created by the government in terms of shortage of teaching staff. This is clearly shameful of a government that lay claim to progressivism.

Without doubt, this mass retrenchment of workers is aimed at crippling the fighting spirit of lecturers in the four tertiary institutions, who have fought for several years in defence of their living conditions. It is also meant to send jitters to the spines of workers generally, and scare them away from struggle.

We reject all excuses of the government over this mass retrenchment of staff. The retrenchment is an attempt of the government to offload problems caused by its mismanagement of public resources on working people, students and youth. In a state where more than 2 million of the four million people are young people, it is obviously retrogressive for government to further attack public education and underfund it. In the next fifteen years, Nigeria’s population is expected to reach over 260 million, which also translate to almost fifty percent rise in population of the country and by extension Osun State. This will constitute mainly of young people. Therefore, a serious government is expected to commit itself to expanding social infrastructures including education and health care; and not denying young people of quality education. It is funny and ridiculous that the same Aregbesola government that did not contribute any project to these institutions is now talking of reforming these same institutions.

We in the SPN believe that there are enough resources in the state and nationally to provide quality and free education at all levels to all citizens. However, this cannot be possible under the current capitalist arrangement whereby public resources are diverted to provide ends of the rich few, through fraudulent contract system, privatization, commercialization, huge salaries for politicians, etc. These are the policies that current set of capitalist political parties such as APC, PDP, Labour Party, etc. stand for. A genuine programme to provide the needs of the people will require putting public wealth and resources (natural, mineral, agricultural, human) under public ownership, with democratic control and management by the working people, youth, communities and relevant professional groups. It is on this basis that the huge resources of Osun State and Nigeria can be deployed to massive provide the needs of the society; decent jobs for all; free and quality education at all levels; free and functional healthcare at the point of use; massive development of infrastructures; etc. These are what the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) for.

Alfred Adegoke
State Chairman
Kola Ibrahim
State Secretary
E-mail: [email protected]