Nigeria: Beyond electoral reform - Labour must build its party now!

There is much talk of electoral reform in Nigeria, but even if a genuinely democratic procedure were put in place the workers would still be faced with a choice between parties that stand more or less for the same bourgeois interests. What is required is a party of labour. The Labour Party exists but is run by bourgeois gangsters that have hijacked it. The task is to boot these out and place the party in the hands of the workers.

Typical of the capitalists and their hangers-on, they passionately love dealing with the symptoms rather than the root cause. They prefer pursuing the shadow rather than the real event. To address the root cause is to expose the capitalist system that has made life miserable for millions of Nigerians. The system that ruins the lives of millions daily, ruins hospitals, education, transportation and other social amenities, and throws millions into the unemployment market annually, what a vicious vampire that sucks blood and reminds humanity of the period of barbarism.

To expect this system to usher in and sustain a credible, fair and transparent electoral process is to expect a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. The ruling class want us to discuss, argue and struggle for abstract, shadowy and absolutely fruitless demands such as “Demand for Electoral reforms”, but we must insist on discussing the more important things, we must insistently call on our Labour leadership to struggle only for more fruitful and concrete demands and save our energy instead of expending it on what can never yield anything positive.

The first step towards a credible and truly democratic process in Nigeria is to first overthrow the present degenerate, inept and absolutely inefficient ruling class and their system (capitalism), which is the root cause of all our woes.

Is a Credible Electoral Process Possible in Nigeria?

A credible electoral process is very possible in Nigeria, but not under capitalism in a backward country like Nigeria. Lenin said many years ago that “Politics is concentrated economics”, politics is a superstructure that springs up from an economic foundation. In a country like ours, where over 70% (over 105million people) live on less than $1 per day, where 80% of the wealth of the country is concentrated in the hands of just a meagre 1% of the population, to expect a free and fair election under any guise is to expect a miracle. To expect the ever diminishing minority rich who hold tight our national resources to freely and fairly allow themselves to be edged out so easily and peacefully, is like day-dreaming.

The callous and excessively unjust distribution of wealth in Nigeria makes it absolutely impossible to have a credible electoral process. Past governments had variously played with many options: Option A4, 2-party system, Electoral College etc, but what was the outcome? It is much more convenient for the ruling class to blame the Electoral Process; after all, electoral process has no family and it can neither be arrested nor stoned by the people. Despite the magnitude of electoral fraud that ushered in the present government, it was so quick to promise landmark electoral reforms, like its predecessors; this is obviously more convenient for them and it is really unfortunate that the labour leadership always march behind this obvious deceit. As long as capitalism survives in this country, hope for a credible and sustainable electoral reform will remain mere wishful thinking. A credible electoral process in Nigeria is only possible after the overthrow of the present ruling class and its blood sucking capitalist system.

Can a ‘Credible Electoral Process’ guarantee sustainable democratic rights in Nigeria?

Let us assume for a second, that the Nigerian ruling class manages to give us credible electoral reforms; of what benefit will this be to Nigerian workers under this present circumstances? All the major contesting political parties in Nigeria presently belong to just a single class, the ruling class. The present Labour Party has been completely hijacked by the capitalists with the Labour leadership just watching. If Nigeria eventually were to establish the most democratic electoral reform in the world, the crop of political parties dominating politics right now, will make nonsense of such an achievement. Strictly from a class point of view, there is only one party in Nigeria, the party of the bourgeoisie. There is an urgent need to take back the Labour Party from the degenerate and inept careerists who are presently controlling it. They are enemies of Labour and should be booted out of the Labour Party. The Labour Party must be returned back to Labour with the rank and file working class identified with it. This is the precondition for any meaningful benefit derivable from a credible electoral process.

A Labour Party with a socialist program is the precondition

Before any form of electoral reforms can have any significant impact in our political activities, there must first be truly political contests. There must exist different options for people to choose from. In the Nigerian political arena, what differentiates the political parties from each other is just greed, access to the national cake and nothing ideological.

A true opposition party is required, which is ideologically different from the parties presently dominating. The Labour Party would have conveniently provided this alternative for the Nigerian masses, but unfortunately, it has been compromised. It has been hijacked by the bosses and is insulated from direct influences of the rank and file of Nigerian workers.

The first urgent and most important step Nigerian workers need to take now is to boot out the bosses and re-possess their legitimate party. From the name of the Party, Labour Party it is clear who owns the party: obviously not the Pedros of this world or the Mimikos who are obviously not friends of the Nigerian workers. They need to be shown the way out of the Labour Party. They must move back to their natural habitats.

The Labour Party should be for labouring masses. The rank and file Nigerian workers must be involved in the process of re-claiming our Party. Labour Party must return to its original ideological base, which is Socialism, and struggle for Free and Quality Education at all levels, Free and Quality Health, decent living wages for all Nigerian workers and the nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy under the democratic control of the workers. This is the only program that will set us out from the onset as a completely different party and then allow for political choices. It is only under this program that the Labour Party can become a truly working class party and therefore become the most powerful party in Nigeria.

Can the working class take power in Nigeria?

Not only can the Nigerian working class take power, the working class must take power to end decades of decadence and social decay we have been experiencing. For a free and quality education, massive industrialization, stable power supply, good roads and other quality social amenities, the present Nigerian ruling class must be overthrown and the working class must come to power.

What is preventing the working class from taking power is nothing insurmountable. The only obstacle is the compromising attitude of the Labour leadership, lack of determination and the obvious refusal to lead the workers to power. The police is not the obstacle, because in the final analysis the police officer is just an ordinary worker in uniform: we need to be reminded that the police came out on strike a few months ago. The soldiers and their sophisticated guns are not the obstacle, because the history of revolution always confirms that when the rank-and-file military see the determination on the part of the leadership they always move to the side of the people. Therefore, a peaceful overthrow of the present ruling is possible if the Labour leadership is determined and bold enough to mobilize all the workers both uniformed and non-uniform.

To take power we must take back our party and boot out the bosses controlling it. The only sure guarantee for a better and truly progressive Nigeria is for the working class, through its political party (the Labour Party) with a Socialist Program to overthrow the present ruling class and establish a socialist government of the working class with support of other poor strata of the society.

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