ON THE CONTINUOUS FUEL SCARCITY
Time for NLC and TUC to Mobilise for a 48-Hour Warning General Strike against Fuel Hoarding and High Cost of Living
The crisis of fuel scarcity and inflated prices hitting the country has already lasted for more than five weeks without any sigh of relief. Fuel queues at filling stations have continued to resurface all through the year despite the hike in the price. With the end-of-year festivities, it can only mean that the working masses would be at the complete mercy of shylock oil barons and marketers who are out to exact as much as possible from the coffers of the Nigerian state as the Buhari regime commences the countdown to its May 29, 2023 exit from office.
The continuous increases in prices from regime after regime’s policies of deregulation have done nothing whatsoever to impact the economy than enrich the oil Magnates and Marketers. There is no conscious attempt to employ the wealth of the country to build new refineries that will end the crisis around the import of fuel for local consumption and its fuel subsidy scam of enriching the oil barons and marketers, who are members or fronts of the ruling class.
Capitalism as a system is all wired to greedily aim at making more and more super profit at the wellbeing of the working masses. Unfortunately, the labour leaders are yet to make a decisive statement about the plight being faced by the working masses, this is a reflection of the complete endorsement of deregulation of the oil sector by the Ayuba Wabba’s led NLC.
The Movement for a Socialist Alternative (MSA) strongly maintain that there can be no way forward of exacting more blood from a patient suffering from blood shortage, the country needs to make a break with capitalism and its entire antipeople policy of deregulation and privatization of any of the key sectors of the economy.
And have all the commanding sectors, beginning with the oil and gas sector nationalized and placed under the democratic control of a working people government. This will immediately free the economy from feeding the greed to meet the looting spree of members of the ruling class and make the wealth of the country available for meeting the needs of the working masses.
Despite the failure of the umbrella unions of the Nigerian Labour Congress presided over by Ayuba Wabba and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) under the leadership of Comrade Festus Osifo to commit themselves to lead the working masses to take action against the continued imposition of hardship on the working masses. The fact is that the working class remains the only class armed with a socialist programme that can indeed rescue the country from its continuous drift into the abyss.
We call on the trade unions not to shy away from their leadership responsibility and place the Buhari regime on notice by commencing the mobilization of the working masses for an effective 48 HOURS warning General Strike demanding action from the Buhari regime to end the untold suffering imposed on the country made worse by the scarcity of petrol has further shot inflation high such that goods and services are now out of reach for the low-income earners.
Despite budgeting trillions of naira for fuel subsidy, for several weeks now and still counting the Nigerian masses are paying so close a figure to 100% of the original price for PMS. In places like Lagos petrol is sold for as high as N250 to N300 per litre from N169. Commuters now pay more than triple for transportation costs amid the biting high inflation rate of over 21.09%.
It is scandalous that the NNPC is now a cash cow for itself and members of the ruling class with the pronouncement from the Central Bank of Nigeria that it is remitting zero naira to the federation account. The NNPC has joined the league of importers, and it is conducting itself in the same messy manner and under-table deals.
Instead of supervising the oil and gas sector for the benefit of the working masses, rolling out plans and actions that would transit the country from importing fuel to refining, it prioritizes the former and functioning to meet their quest for super profit and even enriching them further with its fraud incorporated subsidy scam. When in reality these yearly huge sums budgeted for subsidy are enough to build new functional refineries for the country. The Buhari regime like the previous regime before it is not interested in this solution.
Functional refineries will end the source of wealth of the capitalist class in Nigeria that is lazily only keen to take advantage of the growth of capital internationally to amass wealth as opposed to taking up the task of developing the means of production locally to benefit and improve the wellbeing of the working masses.
The Buhari regime has dashed the hope of many Nigerians who see him as the crusader to bring sanity to the oil industry, but sadly its regime happened to continue the old order or even much worst.
Neither can any hope be placed on any of the so-called “front runners” presidential candidates to make amend to the situation when they come into power. Both the APC as currently demonstrated by the Buhari regime and the PDP as demonstrated by its ruinous 16 years in power are criminally committed to continuing with governance for the interest of Big Business. And Tinubu and Atiku have alluded to continuing with the same policies of deregulation and outright privatization of the oil and gas sector.
Even Peter Obi’s Labour Party has also announced its intention to end the oil subsidy which in reality translate to an increase in the pump price of fuel and further worsening the living condition of the working masses. This is why the MSA insists on the action now on the part of the working class by calling on the trade unions to rise up to their responsibility and put the Buhari regime on notice for a 48-hour General Strike.
Only a consistent campaign against deregulation and privatization as was previously championed by the trade unions alongside a commitment to politically organise the working masses independently to wrestle power from the grip of the bourgeoisie and abolish capitalism. This is the only way forward to end the nightmare and commence a turnaround for a new Nigeria where the well-being of the working masses, its needs and aspirations will be the driving force of governance.
Aj. Dagga Tolar
General Secretary, MSA