We of the Movement for A Socialist Alternative (MSA), welcomes the initiative of both the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress to convene Political Retreats in March 2022; though separately. We are of the view that they are long overdue as we face another round of general elections, come next year, 2023.

These Political Retreats offer the opportunity for workers and the labour movement to draw a balance sheet of the struggles waged over the years and what the way forward is. The glaring fact is that without a comprehensive political mobilization to bring into power a working people’s government, in which working people would use the enormous resources of society to meet their basic needs; the present deplorable state of the economy would continue unabated.


The strikes of workers have always shown the tremendous power of the working class. They confirm who truly owns the factories, industries, schools, universities, hospitals, etc, whenever strikes occur. A general strike is the highest demonstration of this enormous power. Despite being a numerical minority in a neo-colonial economy like Nigeria, the working class have shown its historic place and capability of providing leadership for the struggle of the working masses and all other strata of oppressed people in the country. During general strikes that have taken place in this country, including the most significant one that occurred in 2012, the main levers of the economy-airport, oil channels, roads, banks, hospitals, schools – are shut down.

The truth is that the power of the workers to shut down society can also be galvanized to also run society in their interests. This is exactly the need why ordinary workers should match their struggle on the streets in strikes and general strikes with a political party of the Working People that can electorally contend with bourgeoisie parties like APC, PDP and others to vie for Parliaments and other offices of power on a Socialist Alternative programme. This is to win power and run society in the interest of the vast majority of the working people.


The Political Retreats of the NLC and TUC should take a critical look at the state of the current Labour Party to arrive at a resolution of either to reclaim it or launch a new Working People’s Party. The current Labour Party, formed and funded by the labour movement in 2002 as Party for Social Democracy and renamed Labour Party in 2004 is currently in a degenerate state.

From the onset of the 2007 general elections, it became a “second home” for desperate decampees from the main pro-rich political parties looking for a platform to jostle for power with their fellow pro-rich politicians. The 2010 Convention of the Labour Party which altered the Constitution of the Party and imposed exorbitant fees as Nomination and Membership Fees, was the death knell of the Party as a true voice of ordinary workers. It became just like any other pro-rich party in Nigeria and it neither engages in struggles nor solidarities with workers.
However, we are aware of the renewed interest by the top-notch labour bureaucracy and some rank-and-file trade unionists to reclaim the Party. We submit that this cannot occur by merely through jostle for the main levers of the Party leadership but through mobilization of rank and file workers from below to become active and employing the strength of their numbers to democratically ensure that the party stand to defend the interest and well-being of the working masses.


The state of the Labour Party is not in any way different from the state of the labour movement, which today is in a parlous state. Despite the grinning scarcity of fuel and other petroleum products for weeks in this country, the central leadership of the labour movement has not lifted a finger of action. If anything, it withdrew its proposed action to organise a protest against any fuel price increase on a false promise from the Buhari regime that it had no such plan. Only the regime and the oil barons through the importation of adulterated fuelled the country back to the old tactics of induced scarcity as an indirect means of increasing the prices of petroleum products.

This is also similar to September 28, 2020, called off General strike on the very day it was to take off. The working masses, to say the least, have grown distrust for the labour leaders and are already extending the same to the union. To halt this, the trade unions must consistently act and function as organs for the aspiration of the working masses both in its words and action. This is what would earn support for any political initiative on the part of the trade unions.

However, such a step must as well be open to all socialists and working-class organisations to join and be free to canvass the ideas of scientific socialism in the party, that working people can stand in as candidates for election to be Workers’ Rep. And when elected, they would earn the average wage of a skilled worker and as well as be subjected to immediate recall, if and when the working masses so desire they must. This is the only approach that would birth the working people a Party that would defend their interest and programme. It must go on further to place as its agenda the task to bring an end to the rule of Capital over the wealth and resources of the country and vied for the socialist transformation of Nigeria.


The ongoing strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which has shut down the Universities with other education workers’ unions is warming up for action. Even though these Unions are affiliates of the labour centres, they are not enjoying the solidarity actions expected of the leaderships of the two labour centres. MSA CALL FOR ONE DAY WARNING GENERAL STRIKE in solidarity with the striking education workers and proper and efficient distribution of fuel. The importance of this is that the two labour centres i.e TUC and NLC; must not only be seen acting only on peculiar issues that collectively touch on the interest of all workers but as well the need and interest of all categories of workers.


In going forward, MSA call on the rank-and-file workers to reclaim their trade unions and labour centres as fighting working-class organisations with a leadership subjected to their day-to-day democratic control and political initiatives. We that it is only a reclaimed labour movement with a democratic and fighting leadership, that results in a vibrant and reclaimed Labour Party, that will, and can, in the interests of workers against victimisation and attacks.

We hold that such a reclaimed and fighting Labour Party must work with other left-leaning parties like the Socialist Party of Nigeria, and other pro-people and radical political parties such as the National Conscience Party, People’s Redemption Party, African Action Congress and other pro-working people’s political forces to crystallize a broader working people’s political alternative as current realities demands.

We submit what is urgently needed today in the labour movement is a network of rank-and-file trade unionists, workers and Socialist activists that would strive to reclaim the labour movement and the Labour Party i.e from the grip of the labour bureaucrats, where possible and join forces with left-leaning parties such as the Socialist Party of Nigeria (in which the MSA is currently active), and others at the barricades to fight and defeat the avalanche of attacks on democratic rights, electoral rights and living conditions of the working masses.

This is along with what the current Buhari-led regime and the entire ruling elite is unfurling on the working people of Nigeria. In moving forward, it will also be to build a broader working people’s alternative that can bring into power a working people’s socialist government that will end poverty, inequality, and hunger amidst plenty.

If you agree with us in the MSA, join us, organise with us, and let’s continue the campaign of building a Working People’s Party.



Aj. Dagga Tolar

Movement for A Socialist Alternative (MSA-Nigeria)