Socialist group calls for radical solution Nigeria’s crisis
By Eke Okechuckwu
The Coalition for Revolution, (CORE) has called for a socialist, mass-driven solution to Nigeria’s floundering political economy.
In a release on Wednesday obtained by Irohinoodua and signed by its leaders, Seeni Ajayi and Baba Ayelabola the radical group urged Nigerians to turn the current adversary to an advantage.
Nigeria is blessed with a tradition of left struggle that has over the years been flagged down by Comrade fatigue, ethnicity, empty sloganeering and complete isolation from the deep aspirations and fears of the Nigerian masses.
Coalition for Revolution, CORE however gave the impression it is poised to recreate a new, socialist landmark.
The group urged the working class activists to get involved in the struggle and to fight along with all strata of the masses through their unions and organizations by demanding for socialist transformation.
It condemned the leading labour movements for failing to meet historical expeditions of the toiling masses
The groups main demands are : the setting up of workers and rural poor action committees nationally to coordinate response to the current crises,
• free mass testing nationally and treatment of all victims of COVID-19,
• adequate palliatives and bailout for all, which should be democratically worked out and distributed by committees of action of the masses,
• the nationalization of all essential industries under democratic control of the working class,
The group stated further that “The sudden death of Abba Kyari, the former Chief of Staff (CoS) to the Buhari regime on April 17 2020 due to COVID-19 concretely smashes any doubt about the presence and dangers posed by the Corona virus in Nigeria and clearly exposes the appalling state of the Nigerian healthcare, due to years of grossly inadequate funding of public health. We are not surprised by mass anger and lack of public sympathy towards the former CoS’s demise, as he was rightly seen to be part of the neo-colonial capitalist class and regime responsible for the underdevelopment and plundering of the country.”
It said that the COVID-19 pandemic is a global public health and social-economic crisis.
“A major catastrophe is looming in Nigeria and Africa as the lives of millions of people are on the line not due to human’s inability to fight the pandemic but due to conditions created (over decades) by plundering and the mismanagement of the economy by the Nigerian ruling capitalist elites who constitute less than one percent of the population and who produce nothing but expropriate wealth produced by the working people” noted the radical group.
Seeni and Babaaye said It is estimated that between 40 and 70 percent of the world population would be infected by the new coronavirus if far-reaching decisive steps are not taken with a sense of urgency.
“With an estimated global case mortality ratio of 5.7% that means between 118 million and 311 million people could die. Based on these projections about 5.1 – 11 million lives could be at risk in Nigeria if urgent steps are not immediately taken to fight this pandemic.”
It cited the World Health Organization, WHO, which has couselled that Africa is poised to be the next epic centre of the pandemic in the coming period. The situation in Africa is worsened because corrupt neo-colonial capitalist regimes have held power over the past six decades and have continued to impose numerous anti-masses capitalist programs, in active collaboration with imperialism. furthering crude exploitation of the continent.
“What is clear today is that the powers to defeat this pandemic and move society forward out of crises concretely resides exclusively in the hands of the working and exploited masses and not in the hands of the corrupt bourgeois politicians, top bankers, billionaires, etc. Those in the forefront of fighting this pandemic today are the healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, etc), street cleaners, delivery workers, workers producing essential materials, etc and those mismanaging the response remain the corrupt bourgeois politicians in power”
It noted that decades of plundering and mismanagement by the Nigerian ruling elites, have created a situation where the healthcare infrastructure is in tatters and personnel are hardly in place to adequately respond to this disaster. Capitalists across the world are quick to blame the virus alone for the current social and economic turmoil, even when it is obvious that virus only exposes the crisis ridden nature of the economic and social conditions of capitalism they created over decades and indeed centuries of exploiting the working masses.”
The group stated further “That Abba Kyari had to be flown out of Abuja for treatment confirms the hopeless state of the hospitals in Abuja, which is the nation’s capital. Currently, the latest data from the WHO reveals that Nigeria’s physician-to-patient ratio is four doctors per 10,000 patients. In several centres outside the major cities, the ratio is as high as four doctors to 200,000 patients. The situation is particularly hopeless in northern Nigeria, where the number of hospitals and medical personnel insignificant in most states. This is so because of years of depriving the youth of quality and accessible education.
Corona virus is a deadly and incurable virus (for now) that spreads faster than wildfire and manifests itself in a prolonged manner that is fatal. The best-proven way to fight it now, has been proactive mobilization of the scientific community and medical personnel, together with lockdowns/restrictions and social distancing rules with palliatives and the channelization of industry towards producing essentials needed for the fight and run the society, etc. Wuhan the first epic centre of the disease was recently reopened after 76 days of lockdown, which the Chinese state imposed along with other measures.
In spite of all the early warnings, the Buhari national regime and the various regimes of the Nigerian ruling elites at the State and local levels remain disabled to confront this pandemic. As at the time the first case of Covid-19 got into Nigeria, the National Assembly and the Buhari regime were busy pushing out various anti-masses programs such as the financial bill, social media bill, approving huge foreign debt, approving billions to be spent on themselves, preparing to increase electricity tariffs, etc. The same applies to the State and local government councils.
It is also important to acknowledge that the virus majorly came into the country on the backs of key members of the ruling elites. Had the regime embarked on a program of mass monitoring at the ports, free mass testing and quarantine, it could have isolated the earliest cases and prevented the virus from spreading. This was impossible because of several factors including the VIP status of key super spreaders of the virus.
The failure to contain the virus at the earliest stage led to the massive spread currently ongoing and increase in death nationally. This is criminal. Right now, practically all corners of the country have the infection.
We are in no way surprised that the various actions taken by the Buhari regime and the state regimes have woefully failed in addressing the crisis, and in fact, they have succeeded in inflicting serious pains on the masses and worsened the situation. The declarations by Buhari in his April 13 2020 speech will definitely not change the situation for the better.
It is necessary to restate that decades of crude exploitation and imposition of all sorts of anti-masses programs (such as currency devaluation, privatization, etc) have led to a collapse of social and physical infrastructure, created a handful of superrich elements and massive poverty. Nigeria is currently the poverty capital of the world. Lockdown and social distancing are concretely impossible in the midst of the chaos created by the Nigerian ruling capitalist elites over the years.
The lockdown imposed on the country within the past weeks by the Buhari regime and the State governments have been without any form of serious palliatives to the mass majority; the little provided directly was looted as usual by corrupt officials. This lockdown cannot work and will not work under a regime that has no human face.
The so-called donations by the Nigerian billionaires are very inadequate in the face of the needs of millions. It is important to note that those currently donating billions actually pay next to nothing as income tax, thanks to the tax holiday granted by this regime. It is on record that no Nigerian billionaire pays more than N10 million as income tax per year!
It is not a few billions needed but trillions, which is easy to get if the control of the wealth of the society is placed under democratic control and used for the collective good of all. Currently, over N190 trillion worth of goods and service are produced in Nigeria according to the GDP figures.
Within the past weeks, since the crises intensified, over a trillion naira bailout have been given to the super rich due to the crash in the stock exchange and hundreds of billions of Naira cannot be accounted for due to looting by politicians.
Currently, there are less than 200 functional ventilators in the country with over 200 million people and the number of specialists capable of operating them are less than 88 in Nigeria. There are insignificant numbers of hospital beds and personal protection equipment (PPEs) for the medical and health personnel. The price of facemasks has gone totally out of reach to the mass majority. Communities do not have access to water not to talk about hand sanitizers. The isolation centres said to be built round the country are nothing but a terrible joke. The security situation has further degenerated in several centres making social distancing impossible as the masses have to organize their community defense from criminals who themselves have been forced out due to mass poverty.
As we speak, only 8,300 tests have been carried out nationally, which make its very impossible to know how far the virus has spread in the country. Lies and propaganda are currently the order of the day while the virus continues to spread and the economy continues to collapse.
All these make the solution available far more terrible than the pandemic itself and implies that as time goes on the working people and youth would have no choice but to take their destiny in their own hands.
There cannot be a partial solution to the current pandemic and neo-colonial capitalist economic crises. The price of oil has significantly crashed and national economy is definitely going deeper in recession and into depression.
It is certain that there will be spikes in the rate of COVID-19 pandemic and there will be urgent need for hospitalization. The current regimes of the super-rich and their neo-colonial capitalist system have failed and will continue to fail humanity. Only a mass intervention of the working masses and youth can save the situation.
Unfortunately, the leadership of the trade unions particularly the three trade union centres in Nigeria, NLC, TUC and ULC, have not lived up to their historic responsibilities to say the least and they have not adequately risen to defend the interests of rank and file workers. At a time when they are supposed to lead the working people in struggle against the atrocities of the ruling elites, they are found wanting.
The central union leaderships have only flooded media space with demands without any form of program of action if they are not met, which is currently the case. It is clear that the working people have to fight to reclaim and self-organise from below, towards defending their rights and promoting their class interests.”