Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM


We remain committed to the building of a Mass Workers’ Political Alternative to Rescue Nigeria through Socialist Transformation

The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) rejects the judgement of the Supreme Court which was delivered on March 25 2022 and upholds the deregistration of 22 political parties, including the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). We call on the members of the SPN not to be discouraged by the judgement but see it as a further reason to redouble the commitment towards the struggle for a genuinely free democratic space and the liberation of working people and the oppressed in Nigeria.

The SPN and other parties had challenged their undemocratic deregistration in court and won at the Court of Appeal, though the INEC brazenly disobeyed the judgement while it subsisted. We hold that the Supreme Court which delivered a travesty of justice as judgment only acted true to character as an apparatus of the primitive ruling elite who cannot brook any genuine working people’s political alternative that tend to upturn their system of exploitation and their privileges.

No doubt, this judgement is a setback for the campaigns and struggles initiated many years ago by Socialists, labour activists and social crusaders like the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi for the building of a mass working people’s political alternative. However, it is pertinent to stress that we of the DSM have consistently argued that such a political alternative must be based on a Socialist programme in order to liberate the working and toiling people of Nigeria from the capitalist-induced condition of mass poverty in the midst of abundance that a majority of the Nigerian people are suffering from.

By and large, the judgement amounts to a judicial endorsement of the domination of the electoral space by the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) whose anti-poor and pro-rich capitalist policies have brought a majority of Nigerians into new levels of poverty and deprivation. This is not an exaggeration, the overwhelming majority of Nigerians know it from daily experience. Practically every day the crisis is reported, today newspapers wrote of ’90 million youths being unemployed’ (Leadership) and ‘Workers Groan As States Cut Salaries Amid Inflation’ (Daily Trust). The ruling class fear a revolt from below so they strive to prevent real political alternatives to capitalism develop while trying to buy off and corrupt leaders of struggles and movements which do develop.

The reason INEC deregistered the SPN and others was that the parties failed to win a single seat following the 2019 general elections. This is an election which local and foreign observers rightly reported to have been riddled with vote buying, rigging, irregularities and other malpractices. Up till now, the INEC has not taken action, as required by the electoral law, against the beneficiaries of these highly rigged elections yet political parties like the SPN who refused to engage in vote buying are being punished. Notwithstanding the unfavorable judgement, the SPN has to reiterate its demand for the removal of section 225 (A) from the 1999 constitution as amended, halt to the current drift towards a state imposed two-party system, which is essentially a division of the same primitive ruling elite into two sections, and expansion of the rights to form and join political parties and also stand as independent candidate.

However, DSM urges that this judgment must not be an end of the road to the SPN. The party has to continue to campaign against the deregistration while participating in the day to day struggles of workers, youth and the poor against all anti-poor policies as well as actively involved in any genuine process towards building a mass working people political alternative. What the corrupt capitalist ruling elite hope to achieve by this judgement is to dissuade and discourage workers, youth and poor people from yearning for a socialist alternative to capitalism. But what they do not know is that the fate of a pro-working people political party like the SPN cannot be decided by this kind of bureaucratic and judicial maneuvering. So far the impoverished and exploited workers, youth and poor masses of Nigeria will not cease to continue to strive both for immediate improvements and to throw away this incubus of capitalism on their shoulders, to that extent the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) will continue to exist and thrive.

It should be recalled that the formation of the SPN was initiated in 2012 by members of DSM as a result of the lessons learnt from the massive general strike and protest of January 2012 which had no intervention from a working people’s party. It took a political and legal struggle that lasted for over four years to force the INEC to register the party in 2018. However, the SPN is not built only as an electoral platform but also a party of struggle and thus as a striking example of a working people’s alternative. At the same time, the party campaigns and works for the building of a mass working people’s party on a socialist program by the wider labour movement.

Now it is unlikely that there will be a serious challenge to the ruling class in the 2023 elections, especially as the NLC and TUC, arising from their separate political conferences, are not prepared to build a formidable working people’s political alternative but are planning to try to line workers behind any bourgeois politician that tells the most convincing lie of purportedly being pro-worker or protecting the interest of the working people. In any case and even if a radical party gets onto the ballot paper the chances of any success, in the absence of a mass movement, are doubtful given the massive rigging and corruption of current elections in Nigeria. But the crisis will not go away. Struggles will continue and the possibility of new popular upsurges like those of January 2012 and EndSARS will remain. Increasingly support will grow for the idea that a clean break with the current system is necessary. In such situations the undemocratic restrictions on elections and the existing monetised political parties of the elite can be swept away.

Therefore, the DSM, alongside the SPN, shall remain committed to the struggle and campaign for building a mass workers political alternative to capitalism and continue to remain steadfast in the use of the party as a vehicle for the defense of the rights of the workers, youth and poor and their revolutionary liberation from the shackles of capitalism and imperialism.

Peluola Adewale

Organising Secretary, DSM