Aj. Dagga Tolar

September 28, 2020, is still fresh in the memory of the working masses. It leaves them with nothing else than the fact that the “Labour bureaucrats cannot be trusted”, the manner which they called off the strike/protest against the same issue of increase in the pump price of fuel and electricity tariff. But despite this huge distrust, the trade unions remain the traditional organs of the working people, and at whatever time they come forward to defend the interest of the working masses, so must the working masses see it as an opportunity to organise and mobilise its numbers into action to collectively take its destiny into its own hands.

More so from the fact that it is the lives of the working masses that negatively scale down and worsen working and living conditions as a result of these neoliberal capitalist policies of deregulation and privatization. Indeed another fuel price increase would have its effect on inflation, shooting prices of necessities that are currently not affordable by the working masses further higher. This explains why Socialists support the cry of the same labour leaders who have called for a protest and call on the working masses, to support and join the protest.

It is workers that create wealth and resources of the country, but they are denied their fair share of the wealth which they create as a result of the capitalist system that ensures that the economy is owned, managed and dominated by Big Business, putting the making of profit first and over the needs and wellbeing of the working masses. This is the system that the Buhari regime and indeed all of the past regimes, both military and civilian.

The same capitalist system is visited by a cyclic boom and bust pattern and is unequally organized international which makes it logical unprofitable from the point of view of capital to invest and develop the means of production locally and nationally. Instead, it prefers to take advantage of the superior technological producing skill of its forerunners in Europe, the US, and China, importing rather than producing to maximize its greed for super profit. This is why the Buhari regime is unable to take up the task of building new refineries when it is common knowledge that it is not rocket science and that the country is rich enough to muster its resources and wealth to construct new functional refineries.

The NLC in the statement issued states that it “resolved to reject and resist the planned increase in the pump price of petrol by the Federal Government” by organizing protest actions “in all the 36 States of the Federation on Jan. 27, 2022” and a National Protest in Abuja for Feb. 1, 2022. It further states that if new petrol prices before the proposed protests that “the protest will kick-off instantly and without any other further notice in every state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory,”

The working masses must take January 27 and Feb. 1 protest rallies, as a form of warning and preparation for full-scale strike action if they go-ahead to increase the pump price of fuel. While not opposed to the protest, we in the MSA welcomes it still insists that a General Strike is it. The trade unions, the NLC and TUC should know better than a 24 hours warning Strike would have effectively mobilized the whole of the working class in full to send the necessary signal to the Buhari regime and indeed to the whole of the ruling elites.

However, the MSA categorically states that ‘Protest is not Enough’ to force the government from rescinding its proposal to hike fuel prices. A staggered General Strike beginning with the first 48hours as a first step, to be periodically reviewed and renewed up or down for the whole month following any increase by the regime.
That the NLC states that privatization concerning the electricity sector has failed is more than enough for it to also reject and denounce the recently passed Petroleum Industry Act 2021(PIA) which was assented to by Buhari 16 August 2021. In reality, the proposed increase is true to the letters and spirit of PIA to make the oil and gas industry profitable for Big Business.

No trust whatsoever for the Buhari regime, no negotiations with it will win the government to the position of the NLC or act in the interest of the working masses. The Labour leaders must therefore learn from previous engagement and negotiations and that its credibility in the eyes of the working masses runs on an already breaking thin string, and that it must bear in mind that previous governments and indeed the Buhari regime even about the last time around of September 2020, had not adhered in any sense to the agreement reached by it for the suspension of action.

It is in this sense that the Labour leaders must know, that the working masses are aware that the Buhari regime will not adhere to any signed agreement, all the unions in the health sector, and education, in particular, have gone so many strikes even followed by new strikes to force the government to implement agreements signed for strikes actions to be called off.

The ruling elites are blinded by the illogicality of its rabid neoliberal capitalist system by their necessity to make super profits for big business, and this it can only do by imposing more burden on the working masses to help lift its budget deficit and indeed be able to access more fund both for debt servicing and of course to meet its pastime of looting the wealth of the country, at no time is its focus or policy definition and implementation spurred by the welfare of the working masses.

This is why the protest rallies and subsequent Strike action if any increase is effected must be seen as part of a single programme to mobilize the working masses to take political action against the ruling elites. It is painful that the key lessons drawn from the past struggles against privatization and deregulation under Adams Oshiomole as President of the NLC, with the formation of the Labour Party, has not lived up to its desired expectation as a political vehicle of the working masses.

And the labour leaders are to blame in this regard. We think this generation of Labour leaders must break with such a tradition. Politics is the total of economics, it is what determines how the economy functions, and what interest it must protect, the APC, and the PDP are parties out to defend the interest of the bourgeois and big business. The working masses do not have a mass party of their own to defend their interest. This is the task before the labour movement and all working-class activists and Socialists.

A Party for the Working People that would seek to elect workers reps, who would stand for all the interest of workers unmindful of where they are elected from or are expected to function, on a fighting programme to mobilise and organise the working masses themselves to take actions on their behalf. With elected public officers earning the wages of an average skill worker, showing to all that the working masses can break the monopoly and dominance of the bourgeois in politics, and putting forward the Socialist Alternative to capitalism.

We call on workers, farmers and youth to join the MSA, and join the Socialist Party of Nigeria as we continue to seek and canvass for a mass Working People political party anchored a socialist manifesto, and seek to come to power to dislodge capitalism and commence the socialist transformation of Nigeria. A new Nigeria is possible, but for this to be actualized “Protest is not Enough”, the working masses must move on from protest/strike to organizing themselves politically to come to power.