NLC Political Conference – For a Mass Working People’s Political Alternative on a Socialist Programme
*SPN Welcomes NLC Political Conference
*No to Lesser-Evilism or Support for a Pro-Capitalist Third Force!
*For a Mass Working People’s Political Alternative on a Socialist Programme
SPN statement at the ongoing NLC Political Conference
We of the Socialist Party of Nigeria welcome the separate initiatives of both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to organize political conferences of Nigerian workers in the run up to the 2023 general elections. We hold that the conclusion of these conferences should set in motion a process of building an independent alternative political party of the working people with a socio-economic programme that could take the country out the woods. We believe that it will not be correct to arrive at a resolution or position that seeks to line working people behind any section of the thieving capitalist elite. Doing this will only amount to repeating the mistakes of the past.
The Nigerian masses had illusion that the advent of civilian rule in 1999 would mark the turnaround of Nigeria following the monumental disaster of the military rule. But the current civil rule, apart from the removal of direct military dictatorship, has completely failed to meet the hopes and aspirations of the working masses and youth. Even the limited democratic rights that go with civilian rule have been persistently attacked as the successive governments adopt more authoritarian methods and a reliance on the security forces to enforce their rules.
Without doubt, the past two decades of civil rule has been a monumental failure for the capitalist ruling elite in Nigeria who have been shown to be incapable of delivering the dividends of democracy either in the areas of economy and basic needs like education, health care, jobs and infrastructural development or in the area of fighting corruption and defending the democratic rights of citizens. It is now getting clear to more and more working people and youth that apart from the periodic change from one section of capitalist thieving elite to one another there is no fundamental difference between the civilian and military rules since they both subscribe to the same anti-poor neo-liberal capitalist programme.
DEFEND THE RIGHT OF POLITICAL PARTIES TO EXIST
Nonetheless, the limited democratic rights and space won by the struggle against the military have to be protected while seeking to expand it. For instance, there is a resolve by the ruling elite to claw back the gains of the struggle for expansion of democratic space led by Chief Gani Fawehinmi with the current undemocratic deregistration of small political parties like the SPN. Not only that the INEC has refused to respect the order of Court of Appeal which nullifies the deregistration of the SPN and 21 other parties. It is instructive to state that these parties including the SPN were deregistered because they did not purportedly win a single seat at state and federal elections which were heavily rigged by both the APC and PDP in connivance with the same INEC and state electoral bodies. Besides it was not every state that had conducted local government elections as of the time the INEC took the undemocratic decision.
However, the Supreme Court will soon deliver judgment on the matter of SPN and 21 other parties and we hope that the verdict will be favourable.
Nonetheless, we propose that one of the resolutions of this conference is a demand for respect for rights of freedom of formation of political parties. This is imperative as it appears that the main objective of this attack on democratic rights is the seeming resolve by the ruling elite not to allow the existence any pro-working people party with a radical, anti-capitalist or socialist programme.
FOR A MASS WORKERS’ PARTY WITH SOCIALIST PROGRAMME
By and large, we hold that the solution to the Nigerian crisis lies in a bold socialist alternative programme. It is the adherence to capitalist economic philosophy and programme by the primitive ruling elite in political power that is responsible for the failure to use the huge human and material resources of the country for the benefit of the vast majority and for genuine development of the country. This has manifested in unending economic and social crises such as consistently rising high cost of living, rising unemployment and insecurity which is getting wider and deeper. It is also clear that on the basis of capitalism in a neo-colonial economy like Nigeria the parasitic ruling elite have been unable to resolve the national question. Rather, they exploit and compound ethnic and religious divisions for their own self-serving ends. So, there is a need to build a mass political movement on a socialist programme could unite the working people and wrest power from the thieving ruling elite in order to use the country’s resources for the benefit of all.
Therefore, the type of the party we are canvassing is not just an electoral machine but a party of struggle that intervenes consistently in immediate demands and daily struggle of the working people, community people youth and the poor. In other words, such a party must be prepared to mobilise working masses, youth and the poor against all anti-poor capitalist policies like fuel price hike, electricity tariff hike, obnoxious taxes, hike in school fees, underfunding of education and health care, etc. It is only on this basis that it can build authority and solid base among the working people which is necessary to fight for political power in order to enthrone a workers and poor people’s government armed with socialist programmes.
This is one of the important lessons that must be learned from the debacle of the Labour Party which has been turned to the trash can of thieving anti-poor capitalist politicians who cannot get ticket in APC or PDP. We understand that the NLC leadership is trying to reclaim the party from the dealers and vampires in its helm. This is welcome. While this should be fought to a logical conclusion, we urge the NLC to consider other available options including forming a new mass party, adopting a party and initiating a working alliance of left political parties. What is important is the programme of the political alternative which must be against anti-poor capitalist programme. However, if Labour Party is reclaimed it has to be reconstructed on a completely different totally democratic process with, for example the removal of the corrupt process of selling nomination forms for party positions and electoral candidatures.
Therefore, we would propose that the Socialist Party of Nigeria should be considered as part of options available for the much-needed political alternative. Though a small party, it has a programme that meets the aspiration of the working people and the poor and which workers and change seeking elements could identify with and promote. Besides the programme, the party also at present has a legal existence following the subsisting order of Court of Appeal together with a solid ground to win at the Supreme Court. Therefore, the SPN can be built as the desired mass working people party on a socialist programme.
However, we would like to stress that we of the SPN will support any effort or initiative towards the formation of a mass working people’s party even if the SPN is not adopted in as much there is a principled agreement on programme. This is in line with the commitment of the SPN right from the inception to work and campaign for the formation of a pan-Nigeria mass working people’s party on a socialist programme while at the same time striving to build itself as a striking example.
Acting National Chairperson
E-mail: [email protected]