Friday, 8 August 2014

SOLIDARITY WITH EX-SERVICEMEN:




 GOVERNMENT MUST MEET THEIR DEMANDS NOW!


PRESS STATEMENT

We of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) extend solidarity to the ex-servicemen in the country who have threatened to protest the nonpayment of their pension benefits. According to media reports, the ex-military under the aegis of Retired Army, Navy and Air force Officers’ Club (RANAO)  stressed that unless their four  years  pension  arrears of 53percent is paid, its members would protest in major streets in the country including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

According to the ex-servicemen, the Federal Government since July 1, 2010 has approved the review of consolidated armed forces salary structure by 53 percent for both serving and retired servicemen. However, the military authorities have refused to implement that of the retired men, while those in service have started enjoying theirs since the announcement.  Besides, according to the ex-military men, there are some of their members who have never even benefitted from the pension structure.  

The federal government cannot claim not to be aware of the plight of the ex-servicemen as they went on a protest in Abuja over the same matter on January 15 on the occasion of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day. We therefore call on the Federal Government and military authorities to immediately meet the demand of the military retirees.  

We call on the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) as well as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to organise solidarity actions in support of the ex-servicemen including joining to mount pressure on the government and mobilization of workers to participate at the planned protests. Also importantly, NUP, NLC and TUC should seriously spearhead a comprehensive fight-back against the pension robbery. We recall that a nationwide mass protest against robbery and non-payment of pension which had been widely mobilized for two years ago was arbitrarily called off by the national leadership of NUP and NLC.

Ultimately, the attack on pension of ordinary people and ex-servicemen is another proof of inherently anti-poor character of any capitalist government. This is especially further shown by the fact that the top functionaries of the government and top officers of the military are paid jumbo pensions on retirement despite receiving outrageous salaries and allowances and in position to loot public funds while in office or service.  Therefore as we fight for living pension and against all anti-poor policies what is also needed is a clear and comprehensive working people's political alternative to the capitalist arrangement, and the SPN represents a step in that direction. We call on workers, pensioners, traders and artisans to join the SPN and build a party to throw out of power the ruling band of pension thieves.



Segun Sango
National Chairperson

Stomach Infrastructure in Osun State



 A Sign of Bankruptcy of the APC and PDP

Press Statement

The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Osun State Chapter decries the horrible act of voters’ inducement by two main political parties in the forthcoming governorship election in Osun State. This ridiculous act of inducing poor and voters with basic things like rice, milk, kerosene, etc, now referred to as Stomach Infrastructure has again underscored the low level governance has been reduced to in this country. According to a feature report in the August 3, 2014 edition of the Punch newspaper, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State have been engaging in inducement of voters through distribution of some basic consumer items like rice, milk, kerosene, etc.

 It is more worrisome that the two main parties associated with this unwholesome act – APC and PDP – are both ruling political parties at the state and federal levels. This status definitely confers the opportunity on them to impart meaningfully on the lives of the majority of the population through socio-economic programmes that will lift them out of poverty. Unfortunately, the two parties, in spite of the enormous wealth and resources of the country still deny people their basic socio-economic rights. This monumental failure of governance has engendered rising poverty and squalor. It is this poverty that the ruling political parties are now exploiting through meager distribution of some basic consumer items in order to continue the culture of looting and mismanagement of public wealth.

The excuse of the two parties that they are identifying with the masses is spurious. These same political parties have introduced anti-poor policies that deny the same mass of people the right to better living conditions without depending on handouts from politicians. For instance, the PDP has been in control political power at the federal level since the beginning of civilian rule in 1999, yet poverty, want, unemployment, collapsed education system, collapsed infrastructure and social strife have been the lot of the country. Between 1999 and 2013, poverty has climbed from 54 percent to more than 70 percent, while youth unemployment has risen to well over 50 percent. Yet, the country has earned more than $700 billion from oil since 1999. While the majority of the population is living in want, just one percent of the population is controlling over 80 percent of our oil wealth. It is this rotten economic arrangement, premised on capitalist neoliberal policies of privatization, commercialization, liberalization, deregulation, etc that have made access to comfortable living difficult for majority.

The PDP governorship candidate in the Osun election, Iyiola Omisore is part and parcel of this rot. He was the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation between 2007 and 2011, who supervised the budgets that deny the people basic means of livelihood but ensure more wealth for the tiny rich minority. For instance, the Ife-Ilesa road dualization, which was started more than five years ago, has been abandoned with no one explaining where the monies appropriated for it have not been accounted for. The PDP ruled Osun State for four years under Olagunsoye Oyinlola (who has now crossed over to APC), yet basic infrastructures in the state are in deplorable conditions.

However, the rot is not limited to the PDP alone. The Aregbesola-led APC government in Osun State has been in power since 2010, coming to power at the back of mass rejection of PDP. Yet, few days to election, the party, APC, is not confident of its victory such that it had to contend with the PDP in the maddening game of Stomach Infrastructure. While of course, the government undertook some minimal projects like township roads rehabilitation and rebuilding of few handful schools, the reality is that the central planks of the government policies have been attacks on broad layers of the populace including workers, pensioners, traders and artisans, etc. Moreover, the few projects undertaken by the government have been mostly inflated contracts awarded to big time contractors while the ministry of works has been made redundant.

If not for the election, tens of thousands of retirees, forced to retirement in the name of implementing the fraudulent Contributory Pension Scheme, would still have been denied their pension entitlement, almost two years after retirement. Nevertheless, many other retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme have not received a dime, more than a year after retirement. Gratuity has not been paid to any pensioner since 2011. The so-called ‘massive’ road projects of the government are actually very limited, with majority of the intra- and inter-township roads still in deplorable conditions. School system in the state has almost been destroyed, no thanks to undemocratic reform in the school system that left many schools in horrible conditions.

All of these have actually isolated the government from the same mass of people that supported the Aregbesola in 2007 elections. This has emboldened the reactionary PDP to stage a comeback. The electoral victory of PDP in Ekiti State governorship election, itself a product of elitist and anti-poor policies of the Fayemi/APC government, has further encouraged the PDP to portray itself as a genuine alternative. But the lack of alternative pro-working people programmes and policies to the APC’s, has betrayed the reactionary character of the PDP. This is why it has to resort to horrible stomach infrastructure as a cover up for its anti-poor character.

Clearly, the monies being spent in stomach infrastructures will be recouped in manifold if any of the parties emerge victorious in the election. This will mean worsening conditions of living for the working people. It is this reality that has underscored the position of the SPN that there is the need to build an alternative political platform of the working and poor people, which will be committed to massive development of human capacity and infrastructures. This is the task the SPN has set for itself, and we call on all genuine working people, youth and the poor people to join us in the task.

Alfred Adegoke                                                         Kola Ibrahim            
State Chairman                                                         State Secretary                     

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

BENUE: GABRIEL SUSWAM GOVERNMENT MUST MEET THE DEMANDS OF STRIKING WORKERS NOW!



PRESS STATEMENT

We of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) solidarise with workers of Benue state under the aegis of the state branches of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) on their ongoing indefinite strike action. The workers have gone on strike over the callous deductions from their salaries by the Gabriel Suswam-led PDP government. This is aside the fact that the state government has not implemented the N18,000 national minimum wage.

We condemn in the strongest terms the obnoxious anti-worker policies of the government. We note that the Suswam administration is notoriously anti-poor and anti-worker. We recall the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) just recently called off an eight-month long strike over similar issues bordering on poor pay among other issues.

We join the striking workers to demand that the Benue state government stop deductions of salaries of workers and refund the illegal deductions. The government must also pay the transport allowances, which have been outstanding for the past three years. We also call for the implementation of the minimum wage as demanded by the workers. We call for the payment of pension of retirees in the state as equally demanded by the workers.

According to the media reports, the bank workers in the state also joined the strike, thereby paralyzing commercial activities in the state. This shows the enormity of the mass anger against the Suswam government. We call on the leadership of the state branches of the NLC and TUC, who are spearheading the struggle to mobilize mass actions in support of the strike in order to generate huge pressure that could force the government to meet the demands.

We call on the national leadership of the NLC and TUC to equally extend their solidarity to the struggle. The struggle and demands of Benue state workers are similar to that of workers nationwide. This further stresses the need for the national leadership of the NLC and TUC to revisit the struggles of minimum wage by calling a one day general strike and mass protests.

What is overwhelmingly clear from the predicament of workers in Benue state nay Nigeria is the urgent need for the workers' movement to forge a genuine independent working people's political alternative to wrest power from the current band of marauders in power. The initiative of the SPN is a striking example in this direction. We call on workers, students and youth in Benue state and nationally to join the SPN and build it as a mass alternative to the main looting parties in power. Also importantly, workers must strive to reclaim their trade unions and rebuild it as democratic fighting mass organisations, whose resources can be mobilized to truly defend the interest of workers and build a broader mass working people's political alternative.


Signed

Segun Sango
National Chairperson

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

KADUNA AND KANO TERROR ATTACK:



HALT THE SLIDE TO FASTER ETHNO-RELIGIOUS CRISIS

 Press Statement

We of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemn in strongest terms the terror attack that occurred in Kaduna and Kano on July 23rd and 24th, 2014 respectively. According to media reports, Muhammadu Buhari, a former head of state and presidential aspirant of All Progressive Congress (APC) was targeted in the terrorist attack in Kaduna alongside a popular Islamic cleric in separate attacks on the same day. Hundreds have been reportedly dead in the Kaduna attack. The Kano attack equally claimed scores of lives and took place within the Sabon Gari district of the city, which is a settlement of non-indigenes, who are mostly southerners. 

 We view these terrorist attacks which have been attributed to the infamous Boko Haram sect as a desperate attempt to deepen the growing socio-political tensions and set the country on a faster lane to ethno-religious conflict. 

What the Kaduna attack has also brought to the fore is the fact that the terrorist insurgency is heightened by the deep conflict within the ruling class and aimed to divide the working masses on ethnic lines.
What is urgently needed is a comprehensive working class political strategy to unite the working masses of all religious and ethnic divisions against this desperate divisive agenda and to step up the struggle for a working peoples’ government which is run a democratic socialist program. 

This is one of the reasons we have consistently called for decisive actions by the fighting forces within the workers’ movement to link struggles breaking out on education attacks, wage crisis, mass unemployment, etc into the need for a mass working people party with socialist program. This is to ensure the defeat of the anti-poor neo-liberal capitalist policies which provide fertile ground for recruitment of youth and working people into Boko Haram activities.

We of the SPN are committed to building of such political party that could unite the working people and youth and mobilize them in struggles against different sections of the ruling elite, who are their common enemies.

Segun Sango
National Chairperson