12 June 2023
Nigeria Democracy Day 2023: Struggle for a life of dignity for all
-Return Subsidy on PMS
-Revert Fuel Pump Prices to 195 Naira per litre
-For a 200,000 Naira minimum wage
-Public Ownership of the Oil Sector to fight Corruption
Those who believed that the Tinubu government would bring about different policies compared to the Buhari administration must now realize that there will be no essential changes. The new government is simply an extension of the Buhari regime. Since the inauguration of Tinubu, there has been a succession of anti-poor policies.
The newly signed electricity bill will only result in increased electricity tariffs for the poor while it will channel money to the rich who can afford to invest. The Revolutionary Socialist Movement (RSM) argues that the crisis in the oil sector is a direct consequence of capitalist greed. This explains why Nigeria lacks functional refineries, and many Electricity Distribution Companies were returned to government control after the failure of privatization.
Instead of combating corruption in the payment of petroleum subsidy, the administration decided to remove the subsidy, leading to an increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). This has significantly worsened the suffering of the working class and ordinary citizens.
The hike in fuel prices has caused hyperinflation, resulting in increased prices of essential commodities such as food, beverages, and flour. Due to the inadequate transportation system, millions of Nigerians are now paying more for transportation. Meanwhile, the government continues to make fake promises about providing buses through oil marketers to solve the transportation crisis.
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria and the Nigeria Labour Congress have also supported the removal of subsidy using the high level of corruption as an excuse. Unfortunately, they have not obtained any concessions in talks with the government because they are not prepared to engage in mass protests and strikes. The approach of relying solely on “dialogue” without sending a clear message to the ruling class is ineffective. A united one-day general strike accompanied by mass protests would have shaken the government to its core and potentially won some concessions such as reversal or reduction of the fuel price hike. If the government will not back down, it should be faced with a plan to escalate nationwide strike action.
The labor union leaders consistently hold back the working masses against the ruling class. The left movement has been unfortunately weakened to the extent that there is no independent action by the leadership of the left and civil society organisations.
Labour leaders should cease vacillating with the ruling class. The people are suffering immensely due to these new policies, and further hardships are imminent. The claim that the Dangote Refineries will solve Nigeria’s problems in the oil sector is misleading. Dangote is a capitalist whose primary concern is profit.
The RSM has no trust whatsoever in the Tinubu administration, and we do not believe that the removal of subsidy will eradicate the massive corruption in the oil sector or lead to lower prices through increased competition. These claims are lies, and we workers, trade unionists and socialist activists to prepare for a more vigorous fight against all neoliberal policies.
We demand the public prosecution of all individuals involved in the fuel subsidy scam. The impoverished population cannot continue to suffer from the perpetual corruption of the ruling elite.
To end corruption in the oil sector and the economy in general, there needs to be a sea change in policies. The whole of the oil sector should be expropriated without compensation to its capitalist owners. It should be run under democratic control and management by its workers and society. Only in this way we can have affordable costs for working-class people, coupled with measures to fight environmental degradation.
RSM firmly believes that a socialist revolutionary change is needed, and it is crucial to build such a movement. To achieve socialist revolutionary change in Nigeria, we need a new mass workers’ party that is dedicated to revolution in this country. Building this party must be central to the discussions of all revolutionaries and genuine change seekers. We require democratic control and management of all key sectors of the economy; otherwise, the crisis will persist, and ordinary people will bear the brunt of it.