– By Aj. Dagga Tolar

The Supreme Court, with its judgements of October 26 declaring Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the APC as the lawful winner of the 2023 presidential polls, has again demonstrated that it’s an organ for the final arbiter of justice for the ruling class and at no time will it dish the powers that be to take the side of the working masses.

The many eyewitnesses and visual records of rigging, the question of Identity theft, forgery, and drug-related financial laundry in the US and all of the many grounds that automatically should have been enough to disqualify Tinubu from contesting the elections were all completely ignored. In so doing, the judiciary granted a “Go ahead and rule” order to the Tinubu regime to preside over the whole of the ruling class and, to go ensure the status quo of subjugating the working masses and further squeezing them to more excruciating agony and pains to help maintain luxurious wellbeing for the rich and super-rich. 

All of the bravado and tough talk of Abubakar Atiku of the People’s Democratic Party and Peter Obi of the Labour Party amounts to nothing. Interestingly, Peter Obi backed the ‘Obi-dient Movement’ in the wake of the polls were all in the mood for a protest against the declared results of the election were dissuaded against such an action by Peter Obi. 

It failed in so doing in developing a tradition of organising the working masses independently to agitate and take up the course of organising mass action to attain its goal.

This is in the face of the fact that Tinubu’s declared victory is based on the 8 million votes in an election with 93,469,008 registered voters, making it out to be a government resting on very weak straws. More so is the fact it had only a mere 25% voters turnout, which compared to 2015 and 2019 presidential polls with 38.4% and 33.1%, respectively, completely again announces the disenchantment of the working masses with not just the whole of bourgeois democracy but as well as with the course of the fourth Republic. Let’s add that Lagos (which is the claimed home of Tinubu, where he once served as governor) and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, chose to turn their back against him at the polls.

With the above deficiency in legitimacy both for the Tinubu presidency and for the whole of bourgeois democracy, one would expect that the Tinubu regime would consciously make amends by implementing policies and programmes that would improve the lot of the working masses, but not so. It didn’t even wait for the Supreme Court. True to its own pronouncement, it literally grabbed power on May 29 and ran away with it.

It proceeded straight with its onslaught with the same Neoliberal capitalist and anti-people policies of deregulation and attack on the working masses. The pump price of fuel moved from N168 to N617 and above, depending on where you are buying from. And Like Tinubu himself pointed out, the government has reaped as much as $1. 32 Billion dollars in less than two months from the removal of the subsidy. So, by May 2024, the government will have earned as much as 8 billion dollars.

This much is what has also trickled into the private pockets of the oil barons and marketers as super profits. Indeed, these are the class of rich profiteers living large from the misery imposed on the working masses. Instead of the Tinubu regime taking on those they have identified as “smugglers and fraudsters” and neutralising them, it chooses to make us all think that they are untouchable when, in reality, it is the same members of the ruling class and their cronies and fronts in the oil and gas sector that are benefitting from the so called subsidy regime and are the same one positioned to reap the new largesse from the increases in pump prices, completely unmindful of the further hardship unleased on the working masses.

The same thing also applies to the so-called unification of the official and “black market” foreign exchange rate of the Naira, which is nothing but an indirect devaluation of the Naira. From an exchange rate of N465 to $1, pre-Tinubu regime to N900 to $1. And, of course, the alternative market rate that was then N750 to $1 is now N1, 400 to $1 and still rising.

For a country that is not an industrialised hub and is completely import-dependent, it is extremely low on Steel production, even when it possesses all it takes to produce it. With public disinvestment from production and the economy largely dominated by private profiteers, one cannot help but wonder how it does not understand that devaluation of the currency will only further worsen the state of the economy and make it more subjugated to the world economy largely organised to benefit the Advanced capitalist countries of the US, Europe, and China, inclusive.

Tinubu himself is credited with having identified “ending the subsidy regime and preferential exchange rate system” as the “major imbalances that have plagued our economy”, and, with both done away with, fortunes will smile on the economy and the working masses in turn. But in reality, it only points to the very little understanding of the basics, needed for economic development and a complete failure to take into cognisance the history of the failure of this same policy approach by previous regimes, both military and civilian, that have acted on the same policies and end up worsening the state of the economy.

The spiral effect that these two policies have had on the economy has been completely damning. Its impact on inflation, in turn, on goods and services has been unprecedented. Inflation now runs at a high of 22%, according to the latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

But this is official statistics. The reality is far worse. The pump price of fuel compared to the pre-May 29, 2023 rate is currently above 300%. And it is this same 3-digit percent hike effect that tells the true picture of the prices of goods and services. Take any food item, for example, bread, rice, etc. And behold this is a situation of hyperinflation. This literally means that the NBS official inflation of 27% is a complete underestimation and a conscious attempt to underplay existing reality. Those who pontificate to the working masses that “things will have to first get worse before they get better” must be told that ever since, things have ever been worse for the working masses.

The Renewed Hope Agenda of the Tinubu regime clearly does not have the working masses in any of its stated outlines. It is the rich and super-rich that have benefited tremendously from all of the regime’s policy programmes since its inauguration. It is nothing – nothing for the working masses. The N35,000 for six months of palliative for workers is ridiculously small, bearing in mind that only a tiny number of the employed, mostly in public service, will directly benefit. It is also peanut compared to what the top echelon of society has enjoyed since the coming into power of the Tinubu regime.

While imposing one of the harshest living conditions on the working masses, we witness at the other end a continuation of the same wanton excesses of business as usual practice of members of the ruling class, both in governance and in the lifestyle of government functionaries. N1.2 trillion was allotted to President Tinubu and his VP Shettima in the last supplementary budget to tend to their not-too-compulsory luxuries. One thousand four hundred and eleven delegates to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to attend the COP28 environmental conference, when countries with far better economies like the US had 159, UK 75. Why categorise delegates as officially only “590” and overflow of “821”? 

The Edu Betta-gate of N35 billion is only a teaser of the true picture on the ground. Her removal as minister of humanitarian affairs resolved nothing. The subsequent revelation that the president approved N3 billion Naira, as leaked by the memo from the chief of staff, is itself an indication that corruption remains the norm with the Tinubu regime.

Her appointment, like all others, is an entitlement to gratification to “come and chop”, reap and harvest from the work and resources they invested in winning victory for the APC at the presidential election. Imagine the indictment on account of transferring funds into a private account. What a euphemism and dressing up of an act of corruption. The working masses are not deceived; if the true picture were to come to light, not a single member of the Tinubu regime would be found innocent, including the president himself. Indeed, the whole of the ruling class, past and present, deserves the treatment of being booted out of power. 

The Tinubu regime is clearly showing to all that the economy will suffer more harm and hit a new run of turn for the worse. From the deregulation of the oil sector to the devaluation of the currency to a new shortfall in currency circulation, the economy is stretching its fangs out like a shark to meal on the already malnourished working masses.

The economy can never be given a kick start with the same ruinous policies of neoliberal capitalism. It is capitalism that needs to be uprooted for the economy here to function to meet the needs of the working masses. The means of production must be brought under public ownership and management of the working masses. This is a task that can only truly be carried out by the working masses. This is why the MSA raises the need for the working class to come forward and provide the needed leadership to organise the entire crop of the working masses all over the country by building an independent political platform of the working masses on a socialist alternative programme, either from the beginning or commence a process of reclaiming the Labour Party from the ranks of the proponent of big business that will allow the working masses not just to vote it, but join it in their millions and wield it as a party of struggle to take on the ruling class with the aim to abolish capitalism.