• Fight for Democratic Rights, Jobs, Payment of Minimum Wage and an End to Capitalism!

President Buhari has taken his attack on the democratic rights of citizens to dangerous heights.

Following the removal of hateful tweets made by him against Igbo people from Twitter, the President responded by banning the use of the App in Nigeria.

As President, Buhari has overseen a repressive government that tolerates no dissent. Police and military brutality have worsened under his administration, while journalists and activists have been thrown into jail countless times for criticising his administration. The censorship of TV and other media houses under his regime has nothing akin to democratic practices, and only revives the ugly memories of his time as a military dictator. Twitter ban is another dimension to the President’s intolerance of criticism by any means.

Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s President and former military ruler

Although the Presidency claimed that the ban was to stop the use of Twitter for activities that threaten Nigeria’s corporate existence, but this is far from the truth. After the effective use of Twitter for the #EndSARS protest in September/October 2021, the regime has been waiting for any flimsy excuse to clamp down on the social media patform, as a means of hittng back the youth and management of Twitter that had ingeniously employed social media to call out the atrocities and failures of his regime.

What Nigeria’s government is really preventing is the criticism of its policies and its inability to solve our country’s problems, which looms large with every new abduction, mass killings and criminality that are becoming the new normal.

For example, youth unemployment in Nigeria, standing at 44.5%, means that 5 out of every 10 young people, between the age of 16 and 35, are unemployed. The government continues to borrow more loans increasing the debt burden, and employing same to inflict more draconic and anti-poor policies against the working masses, as opposed to creating jobs to root out the massive unemployment scourge that fuels insecurity in the country.

It is not that young people woke up one day to hate the regime. They drew the conclusion that the regime is not their friend because of their harsh realities and harrowing conditions of existence. Many graduate from schools and are unable to secure dignifying jobs, while artisans and tradesmen in the informal sector are weighed down by multiple taxes of the governments.

Twitter, on the other hand, has facilitated the businesses of many young persons who rely on its 40 million users to advertise and sell their services and products to a larger reach.

But the President will damn all consequences to protect his administration from the condemnation of the working masses and youth, even if his action hurts the survival of youth and pushes more people into poverty.

Buhari is becoming more openly dictatorial, because, as conditions worsened in the country and his regime’s failures become too glaring to deflect, Nigeria will enter an era of mass protests and revolts. There’s no other way to threaten people intent on protesting their suffering than to make clear that the President is ready to break with democratic conventions, including free speech and free access to the internet.

The option under the regime is pretty obvious: it asks us to either suffer in silence or be ruthlessly dealt with. The working class must now intervene to save this country and its common people. As a matter of fact, the attacks on people’s democratic rights will not exclude Nigerian workers, who have already witnessed the fascist nature of the Nigerian state that sent thugs at them during NLC’s five day strike in Kaduna State.

We call on the labour movement, through the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and their affiliates, to declare a 24 hour general strike in Nigeria against attacks on democratic rights and the suffering of the people, who are impoverished by the neoliberal policies of the government.

For us in the Movement for A Socialist Alternative (MSA), the problems Nigeria faces are created by the belief that the country and its people can progress under the framework of capitalism. Because of this notion, governance is hinged on the false template that government has no business in any aspect of the economy, where private profiteers are let loose to reap huge profit at the expense of a planned development of society.

This is neoliberalism in action, setting the stage for the free looting of resources and wealth of the country that should be used to create prosperities for all, via deliberate government’s investment in modernised education, agriculture and infrastructure.

As a former colony, Nigeria needs to break free from its enslavement to imperialism and hervinstitutions of World Bank and IMF, which hamper the country’s growth by their loan conditionalities and interest of global economic domination.

But this is not possible as long as the dominant political parties, the PDP and APC, produce our country’s elected officials. There is the need to build a big, pro-working people’s political alternative, with a programme to nationalise the commanding heights of the economy, like the banks, agriculture, education and transport sectors, and place them under democratic control of the workers in these sectors. Such a party will need to be fully and truly democratic in order to be representative of the people’s aspirations by placing its elected officials on the wage of the average skilled worker, with the people reserving the right to recall any elected official as easy as they have voted them in.

This is why we call on young people in this protest to use this moment of protest to kickstart an alliance with the working people and their organisations, who hold the rein of Nigeria’s economy, to form such a political party.

Alternatively also, join the Socialist Party of Nigeria, build it into a mass Working People party, to confront the ruling elites, win political power and commence the Socialist transformation of Nigeria. In this effort, the MSA will always stand in solidarity with Nigeria’s oppressed youth, and working masses. We call on all who agree with the quest to end the cycle of rot, corruption and poverty to join the MSA and canvass for workers and youth in your neighbourhood to do same. SOLIDARITY!

Contact: 08167111868
Issued by the Movement for A Socialist Alternative (MSA) on 11th June, 2021