By Daniel Akande

The Movement for a Socialist Alternative (MSA), expresses disappointment over the judgement of the Supreme Court that upholds deregistration of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN). We call on the mass of the working people and socialists organizations to not be dispirited to continue in the struggle to build a mass-based political party that will enable the working masses to take on the ruling political parties of the APC, PDP, APGA and other existing capitalist political parties, challenge them for power with the programme of a Socialist Alternative. 

If anything by our action and bold steps socialists organised in the MSA and the DSM have demonstrated to the whole working class that it is possible to build a party of the working people and poor farmers on a clear working-class idea and philosophy of socialism. This is even more easily achievable with the whole strength and resources of the whole working class. 

The Supreme Court Judgement which was held on March 25th 2022, set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal which had nullified deregistration of the party by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). As the only recognized socialist political party.

We in the MSA had for long known that the ruling elites were not in any way comfortable with such a party and that they would do everything to wipe it away from the electoral contest, but we insist that the right to association is a democratic right that cannot be abridged by any other act or law or judgement as the case is currently. 

The Supreme Court has only demonstrated its leaning that it is an organ for perpetuating the current capitalist order. To ensure that only money bags and members of the billionaire club continue their monopoly and domination of politics, that the common person and the working class cannot exercise their right to be voted for, and that democracy for the working masses is no more than the right to vote for only any member of the ruling class. This is as good as a mortal stab at the survival of the Fourth Republic, and the MSA shall not fail to recall this disastrous judgement if that day painfully falls upon us.

INEC had on February 6, 2020, deregistered 74 political parties including the SPN for “failing to win any political office in the 2019 general election”. This reason is extremely laughable especially as the party was only registered by INEC barely a year before the 2019 general election. Need we remind ourselves that to get the party to be registered, it was the judgement from the Federal High Court in Abuja that ordered the INEC to issue a certificate of registration to the party. This means that the party first fought a legal battle to get the electoral body to recognize the SPN as a legally registered party in Nigeria.    

Therefore deregistering any party on the basis of not winning an election, ignore the fact that the victory of the ruling class parties of the APC, and the PDP is anchored on a piece of rigging machinery that is highly backed with funds even directly from the coffers of the treasury.

The victory of Buhari in the said 2019 General elections was padded by bullion vans loading cash as seen in Lagos. To have an electoral law that does not impose the same measure of deregistration of the parties of the ruling class, who bribe and rig the electoral process using all means which include even the electoral body itself demonstrates how the national assembly acts not for the greater interest of democracy but for the selfish interest of ensuring that the control of power by the capitalist ruling class is not challenged. 

It is clear that this bogey trapped of deregistration on account of not winning an election, will be used against any pro-people and working-class political party with a manifesto to improve the lots of the working masses, which is why it is imperative on the whole of the working class and its organization, the trade unions to fight to eliminate section 225(a) of the constitution as amended. 

SPN will remain organized and continue to orientate its members to continue to organise for the interest of the working class. The Supreme Court judgement has only denied it of its right to electoral engage in elections not the right to exist that remains enshrined and upheld by the fundamental right and freedom of association, and this right we would continue to actively employ to put forward its socialist programme and slogan in every opportunity of the working class struggles. 

The party will continue to identify with all forms of workers and youth struggles. SPN was not registered to contest only elections but it was registered to contest power through mass actions and organise struggles against the system of capitalism. In the absence of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), the possibility of having a genuine political alternative against the current two thieving political parties is slim. 

While socialists had welcomed the initiative of a political summit by the NLC, the limiting it to just a political Chartered of Demand by the Wabba led leadership of the NLC is a letdown and a reversal of the gains attained even under British colonial rule where the trade unions and her leadership and members were active participants in the existing parties.

We think that the Fourth Republic has garnered enough experience from which anyone with the interest of the working masses can fully behold that the capitalist politicians are unmindful of whatever party they are organized be it in the APC or PDP or whatever name they so choose to refer to themselves in future will continue to rule in favour and for the interest of Big Business and the ruling class. 

As opposed to a political Charter of demand to the capitalist Ruling class. The MSA favours and puts forwards the need for a political charter or manifesto of the working class, with programmes and actions to end poverty and break the chains of oppression. 

We implore and call on the members and supporters of the Socialist Party of Nigeria, workers and youth not to be discouraged by the judgement. But to remain undaunted in the struggle to emancipate the mass of the working people and the oppressed. Nigeria doesn’t belong to the ruling elites alone. Nigeria also belongs to us: the working people. Join the MSA and let’s build the SPN together.