Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

SPN Rejects Mass Sack of Staffs in Osun State Tertiary Institutions

SPN Rejects Mass Sack of Staffs in Osun State Tertiary Institutions

We call for reversal of this obnoxious policy

Labour unions (ASUP, COEASU, NASU, CASUOSTI etc.), in conjunction with students and communities must organize mass actions to stop attacks on education

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 policies of the government. We also call for an end to the ruinous policy of 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.

In the past two months, hundreds of academic and non-academic staffs of the four tertiary institutions in Osun State (Osun State College of Education (OSCOED), Ilesa; Osun State Polytechnic (OSPOLY), Ire; Osun State College of Education (OSSCE), Ila-Orangun, and Osun State College of Technology (OSCOTECH), Esa-Oke) have been sacked 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.

We find the arguments of the management officials of the four tertiary institutions on the retrenchment untenable. The excuse that those sacked have no requisite qualification cannot be justified. Why is it now that government is planning to merge these institutions that the managements of these institutions realized that the staffs have no qualification. It is a fact that the so-called restructuring of these institutions as being planned and executed by the government would automatically lead to mass redundancy of staff? Therefore, it is safe to conclude that this mass retrenchment of workers is part and parcel of the government’s onslaught on tertiary education, as being implemented by the managements of these institutions. The governor of Osun State is the visitor to these four institutions, therefore the argument canvassed by the management officials of these institutions that government is not part of this devilish sack of staffs is tenuous.

We also consider the so-called intervention of the Osun State House of Assembly as mere smokescreen. It was the same House that justified on several occasions merger and restructuring of the four tertiary institutions, whose central aim is redundancy of staff, programmes and departments. The House of Assembly is only trying to provide a soft-landing for government, knowing the expected political backlash of this obnoxious policy. It is therefore not accidental that the House within three days changed its position from reversal of the mass sack to reviewing the qualification of the sacked workers.

Clearly, the Aregbesola government has shown that it is anti-people and retrogressive. 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). 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.

The latest 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 by chronically reducing the staff. 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.

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 pockets 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 massively provide the needs of the society through provision of 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. This is what the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) stands for.

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