Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

OSUN WEST BYE-ELECTION: An indicting Verdict on Anti-Poor Aregbesola Govt.

OSUN WEST BYE-ELECTION: An indicting Verdict on Anti-Poor Aregbesola Govt.

PDP is no better alternative; we need a new mass party of the working and poor people

By Kola Ibrahim, Secretary, SPN, Osun State

The result of the recently held Osun West Senatorial By-Election is, in a way, an indicting referendum on the Aregbesola government; its policies, politics, corruption and arrogance. But by saying this, we do not close our eyes to the role played by retrogressive factors like clientilism in Ede in particular where the late Isiaka Adeleke, the first Civilian governor of the state, had built up a following on the basis of handouts to the poor out of the loot he amassed from participation in politics. However the jubilation which broke out across the state is a testament to the fact that for many the election was an opportunity to punish the ruling APC for its misrule.

In the election, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Ademola Adeleke, a younger brother of recently deceased senator, Adetunji Adeleke won with over 97, 000 votes (67.8%) as against 66, 000 (32%) of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, Mudashir Hussain. Adeleke joined PDP less than a month before the election after it was clear that he would not get the ticket of the APC. This shows that there is no difference between PDP and APC in terms of politics and policies. Indeed, the senior Adeleke was a former member of the PDP, and left the party when his interests clashed with that of other bigwigs of the party. He was compensated by APC with senatorial ticket for cross carpeting. All these show the rottenness of bourgeois politics in Nigeria.

However, and despite clientilism playing a part, the outcome of this election was a protest vote against the irresponsible government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and All Progressives Congress (APC) which has carried out unprecedented attacks on the working people and poor of Osun State. It is therefore not an endorsement of the PDP. Unfortunately however, because of the absence of a genuine political alternative, the equally corrupt, politically bankrupt and anti-poor PDP and its candidate are the beneficiary of this mass rejection of the Aregbesola/APC anti-poor, anti-worker government.

While the situation is more of a vicious cycle (PDP to APC back to PDP); it however underscores the point socialists have always emphasized, of the need to build a new mass political platform of the working and oppressed people, with socialist politics and programmes. Only such a party can gain genuine mass support and begin the process of liberating the poor and working people from the pangs of poverty and want in the midst of superabundance. Unlike the argument of the so-called pragmatic politicians who make it look like a working people’s political alternative cannot gain mass following, we are witnesses to the fact that a mass party that sands on genuine programmes of social programmes will win mass support.

For instance, Lanre Arogundade (former NANS President 1983/84 and NUJ Lagos Chairman 1996-99, and a DSM member), with clear socialist programmes, officially got 77, 000 votes as NCP senatorial candidate for Lagos West in 2003 elections. The NCP was actually registered just a few months before the 2003 elections. Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) which members of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) and other workers activists formed in 2013 – if and when registered – may provide some form of alternative, even if it is not yet a mass political party. Currently, the political association is fighting for the issuance of its certificate of registration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which is clearly working on behalf of the ruling elite to prevent a pro-working people’s party from being registered.

What happened in Osun West has been predicted by us long ago and many times; that the serial attacks on the poor and working people by Aregbesola government will lead to revolts and mass resistance. With several years of unmitigated attacks on the working people and poor by the Aregbesola government, it is not unexpected that there was mass rejection of Aregbesola, APC and their candidate in this election.

It is not accidental that within the last one month, there have been about five protests against Aregbesola government and its failing policies (by doctors, nurses, market women, retirees and students). Moreover, there is wide jubilation among larger majority of the population over the defeat of APC in this election. In 2014 governorship election and 2015 general elections, Aregbesola coasted home with victory in all the major towns in Osun West, even though the fault lines were already showing with PDP and its hated candidates like Omisore and Jonathan amassing thousands of votes in many of these towns.

Today, the APC and the government are so discredited that they could not even win up to 40% in the senatorial election (even the bankrupt PDP won more than 40% in 2014 and around 40% in 2015). But the outcome of this by-election does not, at the moment, mean the end of the APC. In the absence of a credible political alternative, the party may still manage to win in the coming 2018 gubernatorial elections even if narrowly. Moreso, on the basis of the self-serving nature of bourgeois politicians, the working people should not be surprised if Ademola Adeleke is successfully wooed into the APC as part of the political realignment for 2018 and 2019 elections.

What separates Marxism from opportunism of many later day opponents of Aregbesola is that Marxism, rooted in the dynamism of consciousness of the mass of working people and using the tool of materialist dialectics, has foresight over anger and astonishment. Many of those opposing Aregbesola today were his diehard fans yesterday. Many of them fell out with him because their opportunistic interests were not protected. Many of them participated and defended the massive racket under this government until the politics did not favour them. Such elements, like their PDP twin brothers, are not reliable politically.

Both PDP and APC have nothing to offer the long suffering people of Nigeria. No amount of Pragmatic Politics can change this reality. It may look herculean, but there is no alternative to building a new political party of the working people, youth and the poor with socialist programmes. It is very achievable! This task is even more urgent now in the present political conjuncture in Osun state whereby although many working and oppressed people are wishing to punish with their votes the ruling APC in the 2018 gubernatorial elections, they have no credible political alternative, other than the discredited PDP, through which their anger can be channeled. Join the movement and campaign to build a new political alternative of the working people! Join the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) today!!