A Labour Party has been formed in Nigeria, but it has not received the official backing of the NLC national leadership, although trade union activists are members and work within it. Unfortunately, the present leadership is not pushing for a stronger trade union link. On the contrary, it wishes to distance the party even further from the trade unions. What is required is for the trade union movement to put its full backing behind the party and transform it into a fighting working class organisation.
It does not require the Wisdom of Solomon to know how degenerate and dilapidated the Nigerian situation has presently become. Nigeria, which has the potential to become the true giant of Africa, is better described as an elephant standing on chicken legs. Nigeria is presently ranked among the poorest countries in the world. It is presently in number 158 out of 182 in the Human Development Index ranking of 2008. Nigeria has an overall GDP which is just barely the same as the State Domestic Product of Nevada, a state in the USA, which has just a meagre population of 2.4 Million compares to 150 Million in Nigeria. Primary Health care recently released a very conservative statistic, which despite its doctoring, revealed that over 5000 Nigerian children die every week, because they don’t have access to health facilities (This is more than the holocaust). This means that the likelihood of a Nigerian mother dying in childbirth is 12 times that of the world average. It is tragic that in 21st Century Nigeria, over 70% of its population goes hungry daily and more than 135 Million of its workforce works in the agricultural sector and yet Nigeria is net exporter of rice, fish and many other necessary sources of food. But, when you turn on your radio and television what do you see? You see a set of inept, absolutely inefficient and extremely corrupt politicians who always catch their fun; who only seriously discuss what directly concern themselves and their immediate families, rather than National issues, who have completely lost touch with the reality of life of the masses, simply because they are not affected by it. They go to Germany for just ordinary anti-malarial treatment. They have their kids in the best Universities in the world, so why bother themselves with education and health collapsing in Nigeria. What must not collapse as far as they are concerned is their source of their ill gotten wealth, which is oil. This explains why we always insist that to build a virile, responsible and truly buoyant Nigeria, we must wrestle power from these imbeciles, mafia and self-seeking capitalists. As a first step, we need our own party; a party of Nigerian workers led by a class conscious Nigerian working class and with the support of all the oppressed strata of the society. A party rested on trade unions and consistently basing itself on the complete emancipation of the Nigerian masses.
Bourgeois Parties and the tragedy of Nigerian masses
Contrary to a series of mass media assertions that we have many parties in Nigeria, there is actually only one party. All the major political parties in Nigeria are in reality just one. They are the parties of the Nigerian capitalists and are all united with one interest, one destiny and only one point of view. They all have one program and one policy, brutal attacks on the Nigerian masses. Privatization, commercialization, sacking of workers and unbridled cuts in wages. For close to 50 years of Bourgeois rule in Nigeria, our situation has gone from worse to worst. Just take a look at those states where these parties are in Government, it is just the same program of the same. Most unfortunately, the Labour party which supposes to be a virile and active alternative for the Nigerian masses has been cheaply hijacked by another section of this same stinking capitalist class. Workers formed their own party for themselves and in the defence of their own interest, but the leadership of the working class just surrendered this party to the thieves and self seeking professional politicians. The Labour party suddenly became a toothless bull-dog.
The Labour Party and its potential
There are over 57 Million Nigerian workers and close to 10 Million organized in various trade unions. This is a tremendous strength, but clearly untapped. A party of the working class in Nigeria has the potential of becoming the biggest party in Africa, because of its numerical strength. The working class alone in Nigeria, both organized and unorganized, is more than the population of the whole of Ghana and Togo combined. The Nigerian ruling class and their imperialist masters are already aware of this and are scared down to their marrow. They will do everything in their capacity to ensure that the Nigerian working class never becomes conscious of their own power. They rightly understand that the day the Nigerian working class begins to test and try-out the enormous power in their hands, they will cheaply, peacefully and cleanly overthrow the present crop of weak capitalists here at home and the imperialists from abroad. It will mark the beginning of the genuine emancipation of people of West Africa and of Africa from the centuries of backwardness and economic domination of imperialism. There is a very powerful method they have been using for some time now; corrupting the leadership of the working class.
Challenges of building a Labour Party
Some are already speculating that the Leadership of the Nigerian Working class formed a Labour Party so as to prevent the genuine individuals from building it out of their control. Their actions since the emergence of the Labour Party have almost confirmed this speculation. Oshiomole (Former President of Nigeria Labour Congress and the present Governor of Edo state), who was the major brain and energy behind the formation of the Labour Party, later abandoned it and contested under another bourgeois party “AC”. Obviously, if he had contested under the Labour Party he would have equally won, this he knew very well, but this might have woken up the Nigerian workers and might have allowed them to begin to see how powerful they are and begin to march for their emancipation. Oshiomole did all he can to prevent this self awareness by the working class and rather dumped the party for a more corrupt party of the ruling class. If not for the collaboration of the leadership of the working class in Nigeria, Nigerian workers would have taken power many year s ago. The Nigerian ruling class rely so much on the leadership of the working class and spend a lot, just to keep them obedient and useful to them.
The only powerful and truly organized force that can lead Nigerians to a genuine emancipation from poverty and backwardness remains Organized Labour. It is not surprising that the only consistent opposition to Government anti-masses policies is from Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress. But Nigerian workers cannot successfully better their lots without a party of their own. Unfortunately, this is the last thing that the Nigerian Labour leadership is prepared to carry through conclusively. The rank and file working class must as a matter of survival, pressurize their leaderships to, as a matter of urgency, re-possess the Labour Party and throw away the present charlatans who have nothing in common with the aspirations of the Nigerian workers. These charlatans have taken over the Labour Party just to further their own selfish interests. They are careerist and political jobbers who move from one party to the other because they lack any particular ideology. It is true that the Nigerian Labour Leadership is very comfortable with them still holding on, but the rank and file can never be comfortable selling off their future and power to a set of rag-tags and crooks. They must be CHASED OUT.